News | Cork Samaritans

By: Cork Samaritans  05/12/2011

Posted on Nov 5, 2011

Cork Samaritans is hosting an information night for prospective volunteers on 10 November in the Metropole Hotel.

Director of Cork Samaritans, Pio Fenton says that due to the unprecedented demand on the service new volunteers are badly needed.

“We have faced a situation over the past two years which has been incredible. The number of calls being made to Samaritans has increased substantially in that time, with many calls relating to the economic difficulties the country is facing.”

Mr Fenton says that the information evening is about letting people know about what is involved in being a Samaritan. The charity is the largest support of its kind in the country and is entirely dependent on volunteers to man the service. Currently there are 2,000 volunteers in Ireland and 180 are based in Coach Street in Cork.

Samaritans is noted for its work in supporting those that are suicidal but Mr Fenton states that the organisation is involved in a range of work aimed at instilling a proactive approach to mental health.

“We work in schools, community groups, youth clubs and sports’ clubs to get the message out about emotional first aid. We believe that we should look after our mental well-being as closely as we do our physical well-being.”

Posted on Aug 31, 2011

THE Samaritans will be asking Cork people to be more aware of the signs of depression on World Suicide Prevention Day, on September 10.

The Cork branch of Samaritans is holding an awareness event on Patrick Street from noon to 2pm on that date.

Samaritan volunteers will be handing out ‘Signs of Depression’ leaflets. Minister for Disability and Older People Kathleen Lynch will meet volunteers to lend her support, and local GAA players will also be in attendance.

The Samaritans receive 60,000 calls per month nationwide.

Director of Cork Samaritans Pio Fenton said: “According to the World Health Organisation, almost 3,000 people commit suicide daily. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. ”By giving our Signs of Depression leaflet, we hope that people will recognise the sigsn of depression faster and urge their loved ones and colleagues to seek help.

“The service in Cork is entirely voluntary with 180 dedicated volunteers. We make sure that there is someone on the other end of the phone at every hour of the day and night.”

The Samaritans said that in recent times suicide has become easier to talk about.”We now recognise that it affects everybody. The stigma of depression has been removed. However, for those sufferers it doesn’t always make it easier to admit that they are depressed; many feel that they have nothing to offer.

“People can be embarrassed about their feelings, many think that it is a sign of weakness. As friends and family we are inclined to think that by telling them to ‘look on the bright side and see the positive’ that we are helping. ”Unfortunately what they really need is to understand that if someone feels they have a problem then they have a problem and only by doing this can we help them to solve it,” added Mr Fenton.

The Samaritans helpline is 1850 60 90 90.

Posted on Aug 11, 2011

Cork Samaritans have launched an initiative with GAA clubs in the city and county with the aim to help reduce the incidences of suicide in the area. The project has a focus of highlighting what what each person can do in order to help others who are in distress and despair.

Pio Fenton, Director of Cork Samaritans, states that this is a significant partnership in the fight to reduce suicide “The times we are living in are tough but it is important to remember that there is help out there for people that need it. This campaign is focused on empowering people working in communties so that they are aware of what options they have when they see someone in difficulty and how they can be confident in supporting that person themselves”.

This initiative has a number of strands to it. Packs have been sent by Samaritans to each club in Cork city and County containing posters and awareness information. There are also a number of support tools that would be useful. ”As well as this we have included a range of wallet sized cards intended for those working closely with younger people. These outline what can be done when it appears that someone may be distressed or despairing or maybe even suicidal” explains Pio Fenton.

GAA County Board Chairman, Gerry O Sullivan says that he believes this work to be extremely important “The work that Samaritans does is invaluable and we are very happy to work with them on this. This is an araea where the GAA has a vital role to play and we are glad to be involved.” Pio Fenton believes that the GAA is an organisation like no other with links in each community and it is sensible to team up explaining that together both organisations can complement each other. “Part of this initiative is aimed at not just giving information but also at training people in positions in clubs so that they can assist others. We have invited representatives from each club to a training event at our centre in Coach Street where they will explore ways to support young people in crisis or despair. Our main hope is to get people to realise that there are ways in which everyone can play their part.”

In situations where people are worried about others Mr. Fenton mentions that Samaritans can be contacted by anyone who is worried about others. “It is common for people that are worried about others to contact us to see if we can talk to this person. We often do this and it can be very useful. Our volunteers have been trained to handle situations like this so I think this is something that more people need to know about.”

Posted on Jul 22, 2011

LAST year in Ireland Samaritans spoke over 300,000 times with people who are in distress or despair. This year it seems that this number will be even higher.

We are looking for your support to help raise awareness around our service so that together we can reduce the number of people dying by suicide.

As Ireland’s largest provider of confidential emotional support Samaritans is looking for people to run for us during this year’s Ladies’ mini-marathon.

More than anything we hope that by donning our bright green T-shirts you will help make others aware of that fact that there is help available when it is needed.

We know unfortunately that all too many people suffer in silence. By running with us you can help make people you know aware of where they can turn to if they are going through a tough time.

We are the only organisation of our type which is available 24 hours a day every day. We provide non-judgemental support to those experiencing difficult feelings.

Our service in Cork is entirely voluntary where 180 volunteers work throughout the month to make sure someone is on the other end of the phone at every hour of the day and night.

Posted on Jun 2, 2011

Samaritans, the emotional support charity, announces that volunteers from the organisation’s Irish Festival Group will be attending the Cork Midsummer Festival over the weekend of 17th to 19th June 2011 to provide their own unique brand of face-to-face emotional support to anyone in need.

This will be the fifth time that Samaritans volunteers will be providing a presence at the Festival. They will be based at the top of Patrick’s Street near the Grand Parade side in the Dawn Square area in the city centre.

Festival volunteers are drawn from Samaritan branches all over Ireland. The volunteers carry out their Festival duties over and above their commitments in their branches.

Festival Group Co-ordinator, Anne Corcoran says, “We are delighted to be able to provide our own unique face-to-face emotional support to anyone who feels they need it over the weekend. We know that this is a particularly difficult time for many people in the Cork area who suffer from loneliness and depression. I want to assure those people, and anyone else who is feeling vulnerable, that Samaritans are here for you now, 24 hours a day all year round.”

“We know that there will be many young people arriving in the city centre to celebrate following the completion of their Leaving Certificates. For many it will be a happy event but for some it may not be. They may feel vulnerable. Our trained volunteers are manning our phones right now if anyone needs us and that is the uniqueness of the Samaritan service – 24:7 emotional help, fully confidential and non-judgmental. I cannot emphasise the last part enough because that is a key element of our service. We don’t give out unwanted advice because we don’t advise. We listen and we give the space for the person contacting us to talk.”

“Festival branch Samaritan volunteers will replicate the non-stop Samaritan telephone service but do so by providing face-to-face emotional support by our constant availability from 9pm on Friday night right through to 2am on Sunday morning.”

The volunteers will be easily identified – they will have their traditional white van, which will have Samaritans national telephone helpline banners attached to it in their eye-catching green colouring.

Posted on Sep 10, 2010

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. PIO FENTON, director, Cork Samaritans, focuses on the challenges facing ‘Breakfast Roll Man’ as he suffers during the downturn and explains how a new campaign will encourage men to reach out for a helping hand.

“FIGURES released last week have indicated that suicide is an increasing problem, with a 25% increase in the number of people who died by suicide in 2009.”A superficial analysis would indicate that the bulk of this increase is due to the recession and the seemingly unending economic problems this country is facing.

“I think though, that there is merit in taking a different look at these figures and maybe even to step back from the figures and to look at the underlying problems in society which maybe lead to people to suicide.

“When we start talking about figures we mask the human tragedy behind each of these deaths. In Cork, 93 people took their own life in 2009. That figure does not begin to summarise the broken lives, hopes and dreams behind it.

“When we hear about these tragic situations we often hear people asking “What happened?” or “Was there something going on in their life?” These questions are as understandable as they are unanswerable. We can never really know what was going on in someone’s head during the dark moments that led them to making such a decision. We can never answer these questions.

“But let’s think about the things we can do. We are known as a nation which has a gift for the gab. We can talk about all sorts of things, at length and with great passion. It is a national pastime. However, we are sadly inadequate when it comes to talking about our feelings.

“Moreover, men are particularly bad at talking about what is going on for them. Simply, this is the undeniable truth behind those atrocious figures.

“80% of suicides in this country are by men. Women are much more capable at getting things off their chests. They are all the better for it. I would argue that it is the nature of mankind to find within themselves a means to survive and adapt to problems.

“When times became challenging we found a way of dealing with things. Somewhere along the line though, that survival mechanism has become distorted. For all our talk, we no longer know how to talk about the things that matter.

“We have all heard of ‘Breakfast Roll Man’ who thrived during the Celtic Tiger. Unfortunately, ‘Breakfast Roll Man’ is an example of just one type of person who is suffering during this downturn.

“What we can do though for the men in our lives or as men ourselves is to embrace the notion that talking about what is going on for you – your feelings – is what can make the difference to how you cope with those feelings.

“Though a cliché it is true that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved.’ When we talk about the problems we have, they often become more tangible. We often hear people saying that they are fit to burst maybe with worry, fear or anxiety.

“Talking about this is like a safety valve – it can make what is in your head more manageable. Talking about life and what is happening for you allows you to leave off steam.

“We men need to begin to realise that this is not a sign of weakness.

“Another complicating factor is that sometimes we may not have someone to talk to. This has nothing to do with how many people are in your life or how many people love you.

“It might just be because your problem has taken on a life of its own and is clouding you from seeing that there possibly are people in your life who want to be there for you.

“When you feel that there is no one in your life that you can let off steam to, that you can confide in, that you can share your troubles with then there are other options.

“Samaritans is one of those. You do not have to be at the bottom of the barrel.

“Many of the people who contact us are not suicidal and just need to connect with someone, often just for a few moments.

“This week Samaritans are launching a new campaign aimed at men.

“We are hoping that through our campaign men will realise that there is no shame in occasionally needing a helping hand or an outlet. It really does make a difference.

“The simplest thing that I have learned as a Samaritan volunteer, while supporting people in crisis, is that talking about your problems can change how you are feeling or at least get the clarity to cope better with your feelings.

“We can all fight the battle against suicide by taking this on board and really encouraging those around us that we are there for them, that we won’t judge and that we will just allow them to feel what they are feeling.

“Let us see beyond the frightening figures and start looking at the small steps we can take to overcome this problem.

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FIGURES released last week have indicated that suicide is an increasing problem, with a 25% increase in the number of people who died by suicide in 2009.”A superficial analysis would indicate that the bulk of this increase is due to the recession and the seemingly unending economic problems this country is facing.