Samaritans Awareness Week

Horsham Branch LogoThe Samaritans of Horsham and Crawley have been offering emotional support for 40 years from 21 Denne Road.  To celebrate, Samaritans Awareness Week will run 29th September to 5th October.   The week is being launched with a concert on the bandstand in Horsham’s Carfax, 12 noon Sunday 29th September presented by Horsham Folk Club so come and enjoy the music and the ceilidh finale. During the week Samaritans will be in Swan Walk everyday and at the Market information stand on Thursday and Saturday.  Local organisations, business and schools have been invited to put up posters and ask Samaritans to give talks.

At the campaign’s forefront is the message that you don’t have to have suicidal thoughts to call Samaritans. Imagine that you – or someone you know – has a problem that is growing steadily.  We all have an idea of what constitutes either a big or small problem.  What concerns Samaritans is how big that problem feels.  Why wait?  If the weight of something feels huge, then it is.  Don’t wait.

Sometimes, we might not want to or be able to speak to someone close to us.  We might feel embarrassed; the problem may even involve those close to us. It could be something we’ve never told anyone before or feel afraid of being judged by someone important to us.  We simply might not want to burden anyone else.  Whatever it is, Samaritans don’t judge or feel burdened. Most importantly, it’s OK to talk to Samaritans about that growing problem before worry turns to overwhelming despair.  But if it does, they’ll be there for that too.

So how does it work?  21 Denne Road is a homely building with listening volunteers quietly coming and going for their shifts around the clock.  Just like their callers, listening volunteers come from all types of backgrounds.  Each has their own life experiences but they leave those at the door of the centre, don their metaphorical Samaritans hat and concentrate 100% on each caller.  They never know who’s going to call or what they’ll be talking about but they are there, ready to listen 24 hours a day so there’s no need to worry about waking them up!

For face-to-face callers, the visitor’s entrance is tucked around the corner in Denne Place.  You’ll get a comfy chair and a warm welcome.  You talk when you feel ready and they listen.  It’s exclusively your time.  They’re open most days between 9am and 9pm but it’s best to call or visit their website www.handcsams.org to check for visiting times.

Keeping abreast with modern technology, many callers can now contact Samaritans by text or email as well as by phone.  Speaking aloud isn’t always comfortable so both of these methods can be useful for communicating discreetly.

However callers choose to make contact, confidentiality within Samaritans remains at the heart of their ethos.  Technology may have advanced since Chad Varah founded the organisation in 1953 but the core values haven’t.  It’s all about the callers.

Where next?  The Samaritans of Horsham & Crawley are already doing much work with local organisations to reach out and support vulnerable people in identifiable groups.  But they also want to reach out to those who may not have considered themselves a Samaritans caller before.  Any of us could be callers.  So please look out for them during Awareness Week and do join in celebrating their 40 years in Horsham. They’d love you to stop by and say hello.  You might even see a large green telephone wandering about!  What better way to raise awareness?

Phone 01403 276276 / 01293 515151 / 08457 909090

Text 07725 909090

jo@samaritans.org