Carol-singing Samaritans Support Campaign to Encourage Talking

#BreaktheSilence aims to get people to open up about suicidal feelings

Heldiney now volunteers for the Samaritans after initially needing its help

Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans is backing a new national campaign to encourage people to open up about their struggles with mental health and suicidal feelings.

Every 90 minutes in the UK, someone dies by suicide, but the winter campaign, #BreaktheSilence has the message that talking saves.

The Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow branch of Samaritans is 50 years old this year. Many of the local volunteers and their supporters will be taking part in a carol-singing fundraising event on the evening of Tuesday, 20 December at Ealing Broadway Station.

Heena Johnson, director of Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans said, “Winter can be a tough time for many and this year could be especially so as households brace themselves for higher bills. We’re backing #BreaktheSilence to remind the West London community that they don’t need to struggle alone.”

Volunteers from the Ealing-based Samaritans branch will join over 13,000 from 200 other Samaritans branches across the UK and Ireland who’ll be on duty around the clock over the festive season to answer calls for help from people feeling overwhelmed this winter.

Heena added, “We understand that difficult feelings can be felt at any season, which is why our volunteers are here day and night, 365 days a year to give people the space to explore feelings that perhaps they cannot share with anyone else.”

Ian, 57 from London knows how the pressure to enjoy the festivities can make it hard to open up. It was during a challenging period of his life when he was struggling with anxiety attacks, he found himself alone on Christmas Eve. Samaritans was there to support him as he reached breaking point.

Ian said, “Christmas is such an emotive time, families are together, but there I was on the sofa on my own, having panic attacks and thoughts about suicide. Everything had got on top of me. I didn’t feel I could even talk to my partner, but I needed someone who I didn’t know to just sit there and let me be vulnerable. At that point, Samaritans was there. "

Ian reached his breaking point at Christmas time but the Samaritans was there for him
Ian reached his breaking point at Christmas time but the Samaritans was there for him

Heldiney is another Samaritans listening volunteer from London and previously contacted Samaritans for help. It made a huge impression on him, and he trained as a volunteer to help others break their silence.

Heldiney said, “I think what often makes it hard to talk about your feelings is that – especially when you call a Samaritan for the first time – rarely have you been given that much room to think and speak. When someone isn’t offering you words or answers, you really have to dig into thinking ‘What is this thing that I’m feeling?”

The charity is asking people to donate to keep Samaritans here for people to talk to when they are ready to break their silence. A donation as small as £5 will help Samaritans volunteers answer a call for help from someone struggling this winter.

You can donate online directly to Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans.

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December 8, 2022