Samaritans' new strategy – the importance of human connection
04 August, 2022
Samaritans released their new strategy on Monday 6 June. Next year they will have been providing support to people struggling to cope and those who are suicidal for around 70 years. Many of our patients (and probably quite a few of our staff) use, and have used, their services. They are often the only port of call in the middle of the night when distress can be at its worst.
Samaritans believes in the power of human connection, giving people their time and undivided attention. They believe that open hearted engagement and to really 'listen' reduces distress and therefore reduces the risk of suicide. This is a relatively simple idea but often so difficult for us to do within mental health services when we meet those who are in suicidal states of mind.
In their core values they helpfully describe the components of true listening, an apparently simple, but really very difficult task. To really 'listen' means to have the experience of another’s pain and not intervene. Instead through dialogue allowing them to come to their own understanding of their situation and the options open to them.
In their new strategy they have focused on:
- increasing access to their services
- reaching more people
- increasing their impact, capacity and sustainability.
Their strategy recognises the importance of continually adapting and improving their services which include phone, online chat, email, letter and face to face contact. They also campaign and lobby nationally and locally, contributing to the national suicide prevention strategy as well as local suicide awareness and decision making. They work in collaboration with many different organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Written by Dr Trudi Seneviratne and Dr Rachel Gibbons