Issue - meetings

Samaritans Presentation

Meeting: 18/12/2014 - Community Profile & Partnerships OSC - Expired 07/05/15 (Item 36)

Samaritans presentation

To receive a presentation from a representative of the Samaritans organisation.


That the presentation be noted.



The Chairman welcomed and introduced Rosemary Howell, Samaritans National Trustee and Director of the Chester Branch, and Mr Dafydd Rees Owen, Director of the Rhyl Branch, Samaritans, and invited them to give a presentation on the work of the Samaritans organisation.    The main points of the presentation were as follows:


·         What the Samaritans do and who they support

·         Values

·         How the Samaritans provide support

·         Community challenges

·         Working together


Ms. Howell gave background information and reported that the Samaritans operated from 201 branches across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and also provided a correspondence branch and a festival branch.   She explained that the Samaritans was a voluntary led charity which had over 17,000 volunteers and around 100 paid staff and provided a 24 hour service 365 days a year.  She commented on the continuing demand for help and support services and the need for volunteers to come forward.  


She explained that the Samaritans’ vision was that fewer people would die by suicide and worked to achieve this by always being available, reaching out to high risk groups and communities, working in partnerships with other organisations, and influencing public policy.   She reported that the Samaritans worked with organisations across the private, public, and voluntary sectors.  She gave an overview of the work undertaken with HM Prison Service to reduce the number of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm by providing a range of support mechanisms which include listener schemes and telephone and correspondence services.   She also reported on the pioneering work with Network Rail which had resulted in training for thousands of rail staff, a new Samaritans call-out service, and a National Suicide Prevention Group.


Ms. Howell commented on the work undertaken to influence the media in the way it reported suicide in newspapers and the impact that it had on people.  She said the Samaritans encouraged all media to portray suicide fairly and sensitively.  Ms. Howell also referred to the work carried out to influence public policy and referred to the Samaritan’s response to the Welsh Government consultation on the Public Health White Paper ‘Listening to you – your health matters’ and the Public Health Wales’ review of probable suicides in young people.


Ms. Howell thanked the Chairman for his invitation to attend the meeting and said she would welcome an opportunity to work in collaboration with the Authority in the future to support communities in Flintshire and North East Wales. 


The Chairman invited Members to ask questions.  In response to the comments and queries raised Ms. Howell advised that the Samaritans did not give advice but provided an opportunity for people to make human contact and talk about their problems in confidence.  The Samaritans were non-judgemental and could explore the options available; frequently signposting to other organisations to help the individual. 


Ms. Howell referred to the challenges within communities and said that suicide levels were greater in deprived areas than affluent areas due to the impact on emotional health and well-being.  She reported on the statistics for suicide rates in the United  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36