On Friday 13 May, Virendra Sharma, met with the lead outreach officer from the charity, Samaritans (Ealing branch).
It was very worrying to find out the current suicide rate and assuring to know that a charitable organisation such as Samaritans is able to provide support to anyone at risk of suicide in the UK. They provide a 24-hour telephone helpline and offer a safe place for people to talk. Individuals who feel that they are under stress and need to speak to someone without the fear of being judged.
Understandably, suicide is devastating for families and communities and is gradually becoming one of the leading causes of death globally. The World Health organisation estimates that in the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide, with approximately one million people dying from suicide each year.
In 2000, more than 19,000 15-19 year olds in the UK self-harmed, which is a staggering figure. In 2014 6,122 suicides were registered in the UK, this corresponds to a suicide rate of 10.8 per 100,000 people. Samaritans are working in partnership with Network Rail to help and prevent suicide attempts and have successfully prevented more than 1,000 in the past 3 years. The Rail Industry Suicide Prevention Programme (RISPP) provides station staff and British Transport Police with the knowledge, skill and confidence to be able to identify and approach people displaying suicidal behaviour and to be able to move them to a place of safety where police or paramedics could assist further.
Samaritans’ vision is to help fewer people die by suicide. They hope by providing their free service, they can help those in doubt, through a difficult time and talk about their emotional difficulties, knowing that all conversations are kept confidential.
Virendra Sharma said ‘I feel that the meeting I had was very positive and hope that I can help in raising awareness for this very important topic. I am hosting an inquiry on Dowry next week in Parliament and rest assured I will speak about this topic and the effects of it.’
Volunteers play a big part in the assistance Samaritans provide and if you are interested in finding out more information about volunteering, you can contact Samaritans using the free phone number: 116 123 or alternatively email Ealing Samaritans on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit your local Samaritans branch.