Samaritans, who are they and what do they do?


Louisa Ball joined us to kick off the first LibChats of 2018 with a fascinating, insightful and very touching account of her experience volunteering with Samaritans.

Louisa joined Samaritans as a volunteer in 2011 whilst studying Psychology at the University of Kent.  Her passion and dedication for helping others has only grown since then and she has continued to work with Samaritans at Basildon and Thurrock branch. Her enthusiasm has been utilised at this branch and Louisa was appointed as Deputy Director in 2013.  Sine then she has coordinated the annual East Region Conference and has carried our three years of outreach work, including the training and administration of leadership and mentorship at her branch.  Louisa’s outstanding efforts with Samaritans was recognised in 2016 when she won the Heart of Essex Volunteer of the Year Award.

During this talk we found out about the work that the Samaritans carry out across the UK and its journey from its creation as well as the ethos that lies behind the support the charity provides.  Beyond this the talk was very much about Louisa’s personal experience, how volunteers are able to protect their own well being whilst helping others when they need it most, how they handle calls where the safety of others may be at risk, and understanding the difference made to someone, by the simple act of having a conversation with them, when they need it most and regardless of the underlying reason.

A video created by Samaritans to launch the #SmallTalkSavesLives campaign, developed with Network Rail, British Transport Police, and the wider rail industry, was played to the group.  I have included the advertising campaign video below. Please be aware that the subject matter may be sensitive to some as it explores suicide prevention.

With a vast student and staff population here on campus, and the startling statistics around those most vulnerable, the importance of ensuring that we are able to support one another, and know where and who to turn to when we, or a person we know, may need someone impartial to talk to, is crucially important.  Here at the University of Kent, Student Support & Wellbeing are able to provide emergency wellbeing support, and also recommend Samaritans as a key point of contact to ensure that support is available through multiple channels.

This was the third talk to be delivered as part of the Hidden Disabilities series.  Thanks to all those who were able to join us for this and our thanks to Christine Buckley for organising this LibChat.

Our next LibChat is due to take place in March 2018 and further details will be released very soon.  We look forward to seeing you there.

By Josie Caplehorne

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