THE Samaritans have issued public pleas for anyone contemplating harming themselves to get in touch.
The offers of help come following a number of sudden tragedies across the north west in recent days.
James, who asked that only his first name be used for anonymity reasons, is a listening volunteer and outreach officer with the Derry branch of the Samaritans.
He said it was important to remind people that around-the-clock support is available to anyone who is feeling depressed or who may be struggling.
“In light of the tragic events in Letterkenny and elsewhere in the north west it is timely to remind people about the importance of talking about difficult feelings and emotions.
“It is equally important to emphasis the importance of listening. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of daily life we might fail to notice that a friend or work colleague, neighbour or family member is behaving differently.
Perhaps they are quieter than usual, appear distracted or are struggling to concentrate.
It is vital that they are given the opportunity to speak to someone they can trust, be that a friend or colleague or anonymously to a volunteer at an organisation like Samaritans.”
James pointed out that the Samaritans listening service is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and that it is the only 24/7 suicide prevention charity working across the Republic of Ireland and the UK.
“Samaritans have 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland with around 22,000 listening volunteers,” he said.
“As well as a telephone listening service – phone number 116 123 – we can be contacted by email at email@example.com for anyone who might not be ready to talk.”
James also made the point that an individual does not have to be suicidal to reach out for help.
“If you need to talk we will be there to listen,” he said, adding that the Samaritans are currently recruiting listening volunteers.
“You can put your name forward for consideration via the Samaritans website www.samaritans.org.”
A separate appeal in the wake of recent incidents has also been issued by local gardaí.
“When a tragedy happens it reminds us of the need to be supportive and kind towards each other,” said a spokesperson.
“The topic of suicide and the topic of our mental health are not topics that should only be up for discussion when a tragedy happens.
“Unfortunately this is human nature and people are often hesitant to open up to others when they are feeling low or having suicidal thoughts. We urge anybody who is listening at the moment and who is suffering to please talk to someone.
“We all suffer from mental health issues at some point in our lives and there is certainly no shame in that. Talk to a friend, talk to a family member, talk to us or talk to a member of a support organisation.
“Don’t hesitate to contact gardaí if you need to talk or if you need support or assistance of any kind. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Letterkenny 07491 67100, Milford 07491 53060, Buncrana 07493 20540 or Ballyshannon 07198 58530.”
An Garda Síochána added that contact details for other support organisations can be found on their Donegal Facebook Page.
The Samaritans can be reached 24 hours a day on 116 123.
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