Samaritans go online for new local suicide awareness campaign

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Friday, May 31st, 2019

Samaritans has launched a new online media campaign as part of a renewed effort to tackle the issue of suicide in County Down.

Samaritans said the social media campaign was developed to ensure more people were aware of the help available and the local support which it provides.



The social media campaign kicked off last month and within weeks reached more than 90,000 people across Northern Ireland, including Down.

Samaritans’ Director Wesley Wilson, said, “We are delighted that this campaign is reaching to so many people so quickly with that message, making them immediately aware of the free-to-call number so they can get directly in touch.

“Our social media campaign has been a huge success to date and we’re so pleased that we are now reaching new audiences, many of whom are from the most at-risk groups.”

Samaritans, which is the only voluntary organisation that collates suicide statistics for the UK and Ireland, reports that 6,123 people took their own lives in 2017 – a figure which has remained stubbornly high for many years.



The number of suicides in Northern Ireland is also the highest per head of population than other regions, with three times as many men as women taking their own lives each year.

The innovative social media campaign, which includes ‘click-through’ links providing access to further information and contact details, seeks to target vulnerable groups as well as others.

Wesley Wilson added, “We want everyone to know that Samaritans are here to provide a friendly listening ear and are available to talk through issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on the phone and by email.



“While we wait for the new suicide prevention strategy, Protect Life 2, to be published, it’s down to our local volunteers, our donors and our supporters to help try and reach those who are most in need.

She added, “That’s why it’s really important that we are using social media to target those who may not otherwise know how to contact us. We want as many people as possible to know that help is there for anyone in need.”



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