The High Wycombe Community Board has given a funding grant to the Chiltern Samaritans.
The grant of £6,370 is for a six month long Samaritans Suicide Prevention Awareness campaign which starts on Friday 1st January 2021. The project aims to raise awareness of the free mental health support available to those struggling with suicidal thoughts and to those close to them, including family, friends and colleagues in the High Wycombe Community Board area and to reduce the incidence of suicide in the town.
The local branch, Chiltern Samaritans, will deliver the campaign. 75% of suicides are men and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and young people aged 16-24. The campaign will target vulnerable members of the community. A feature of the campaign will be ‘Real Men, Real Lives‘, real life stories from men who have been through tough times, encouraging other men to seek help. Loved ones, family and friends will also benefit from knowing about the support for mental health issues and suicidal thoughts which is freely accessible to everyone in the community.
High Wycombe Community Board Chair Cllr Arif Hussain, said: ‘Mental health, COVID-19 recovery, resilience and regeneration, together with community cohesion and community are the key focus for the High Wycombe Community Board area. We are delighted to be able to offer this extra funding to our friends at Chiltern Samaritans so they can offer support to people in our area at this very difficult time.‘
Sally Ward, Head of Outreach at Chiltern Samaritans, said: ‘We want to say a massive thank you to the High Wycombe Community Board for this funding.
It is still too soon to know whether COVID-19 has affected suicide rates and it is important to note that a rise is not inevitable. However, the effects of the pandemic are being disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable people in society and are exacerbating factors we know are related to suicide.
COVID-19 is having a profound effect on the economy, on job security, on relationships. We know that those hit hardest by economic downturn are also those who are at greatest risk of suicide.
In the six months since social distancing restrictions began, The Samaritans provided emotional support to their callers over 1,200,000 times. 1 in 4 of these conversations has been with someone who is expressing suicidal thoughts or behaviours.‘
Chiltern Samaritans have been providing support since 1968. They have over 130 fully trained listening volunteers who give people time and space to express their feelings in a confidential, non-judgemental and safe environment.
The Samaritans offer confidential support in the UK and can be contacted by calling 116123 (for free, day or night, 365 days a year). Further information on the Samaritans is available on the Samaritans website.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.