The Sligo Samaritans was set up almost 30 years ago and offer a 24 hour, 7 day a week and 365 days a year service to anyone who needs emotional support. While the Vision of the Samaritans is that fewer people die by suicide, the vast majority of calls are from people that are lonely, depressed or have issues and problems that they want to talk about. The emotional support through active listening can often help to reduce the mental pain that people suffer.

By offering non-judgemental and confidential support, the Samaritan organisation is the leading national helpline for emotional support. The Sligo Branch had over 30,000 calls / emails in 2013 and with the introduction of the new Freephone number 116123, these numbers have increased significantly. We have 127 active volunteers supporting the Branch who commit to one 3-hour duty per week.

We have recently been partnered nationally with the GAA with the objective of providing training and other supports to deal with mental health issues throughout the Counties of Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim and Donegal. This will be an on-going relationship that could make a real difference. We would hope that by working together, we can reduce the stigma of talking about problems, especially about mental health issues and suicide. The Samaritans run a yearly campaign in July that is called ‘Talk to us’. We all need to get into the habit of sharing our problems and ‘Talk to us’ is for all year round.

We are currently running an Introduction night for those that might be interested in supporting us. The training takes place over a 2 month period and there is on going training and support throughout the time that you remain a Volunteer. It is such a worthy cause and as a volunteer, it is so rewarding. You can really make an positive impact in reducing mental pain and potentially in reducing the numbers of those that take their own lives. You are under no obligation by attending the Open night.