Suicide Prevention Programs
Suicide Prevention Hotlines
Samaritans core programs are our volunteer-staffed Suicide Prevention Hotlines which provide immediately accessible emotional support and crisis response services to those who are in distress, depressed and suicidal. The hotlines practice a humanistic, communications-based response we call “befriending,” that focuses on listening to what a person is feeling and thinking without expressing our own personal judgments, opinions or telling callers what he or she should do.
Samaritans hotlines provide callers with ongoing support from a caring and responsive volunteer that they can access as often as they need for any kind of problem. The hotline provides consumers and the agencies and professionals that serve them with a safety net, a place they can turn when they are afraid to go someplace else or feel they have no place else (due to social, cultural, economic or other reasons), whether it is at 2 o’clock in the morning, after attending a counseling session, while seeking professional help or after exhausting those clinical or professional services that have specified limits (whether due to HMO restrictions, therapists who will not take calls at home or after hours, etc.).
The Samaritans Hotline Training
Every Samaritans volunteer goes through an intensive hotline training program, a process that many people find as demanding and challenging as anything they have faced in their professional or academic lives. Samaritans training provides every volunteer with an introduction to and overview of the public health problem that is suicide, the issues and problems people who are depressed and in crisis face, the warning signs, risk and protective factors tied to suicide as well as the key behaviors, tools and procedures that have proved to be most effective when responding to people who are at risk or require some form of intervention.
Training emphasizes collaboration and cooperation. To work on a suicide hotline, you must be able to follow directions and work as a team. To this end, trainees take part in roleplays, team-building exercises, guided discussions and ongoing work groups. At the heart of the training is our reliance on “active listening,” the skills, tools and techniques that put the focus of the communication on the person being “helped,” what the caller is thinking, feeling and going through. Tied to this are our policies, practices and procedures based on the international principles that Samaritans adhere to throughout the world.
Public Education, Awareness and Training
Samaritans Public Education, Awareness and Training programs provides education and training to lay and professional caregivers and service providers working in community-based organizations, public and private schools and government agencies, CBO’s, schools, businesses and other entities in the development and implementation of suicide prevention programs, training and organizational planning. The programs also involve the marketing, promotion and distribution of free crisis response and suicide prevention information, resources and best practices materials, and community advocacy for suicide prevention programs and initiatives on a national, regional, statewide and local level.
Samaritans public education programs provides individual and group consultations and technical support, workshops, training programs and conferences for students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, case managers, psychologists, nurses, doctors, uniformed services and countless others working with potentially at-risk populations including children, adolescents, the elderly, victims, the chronic sick and mentally ill, homeless, those with alcohol and substance abuse problems, those experiencing traumatic loss or PTSD, veterans, members of the GLBT community, immigrants, etc.
Suicide Survivor Support Groups
Samaritans Safe Place meetings are peer support groups were conceived with the understanding that even the kindest or most sensitive individuals often feel incapable of providing solace and support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide (survivors). Therefore, our Safe Place meetings are designed to give those who have lost a loved one to suicide the opportunity to grieve and explore whatever thoughts and feelings they are having tied to their loss in an accepting and non-judgmental environment, without any undo familial, social or other pressures or expectations.
Many survivors say that Safe Place is the only place where they can openly address what they are experiencing and going through without having to be concerned about other people's attitudes or judgments, which can range from being blamed for their loved one's death to undo fascination with the details of the tragedy to being completely ignored or ostracized from normal family or community activities.