TO SAY IT
Wales Impact Report
Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide
We work to achieve this vision by making it our mission to alleviate emotional
distress and reduce the incidence of suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour.
We do this by:
Being available round the clock to provide
emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings
of emotional distress or despair, including those which may
lead to suicide.
to high risk groups and communities
to reduce the risk of suicide.
Working in partnership
with other organisations, agencies
and experts to achieve our Vision.
Influencing public policy
and raising awareness of the challenges
of reducing suicide.
We are committed to the following values:
listening, confidentiality, people making their own decisions,
being non-judgemental and offering people human contact.
This Wales Impact Report looks at how the nine branches in Wales raise
awareness of our service and reach out in the local community to support
people struggling to cope. Our branches work in schools, hospitals,
prisons and rail stations. None of this would be possible without the time
and dedication of our 691 volunteers.
The report also looks at how nationally we are working to reduce
suicide. The causes of suicide are complex and reducing it means that
all agencies must work effectively together. This is why it is so important
that we have a strategy in Wales which brings organisations together to
make sure that a range of actions take place. These actions must include
encouraging people who are going through a difficult time to seek help.
Against a backdrop of difficult economic times and where a
disproportionate number of those who take their lives are struggling
with social and economic deprivation, we need to convince people that
talking about what’s troubling them is valuable and potentially
life-saving. It is something we all need to do and encourage other people
Executive Director for Wales
The demand for our service is increasing. We took a call every three
minutes last year in Wales. It is important that we keep working to raise
awareness of our service and the benefits of talking. We also need to
keep evolving and finding new ways to reach out to people, continuing
to be accessible to all who desperately need our service.
Everyone has moments in their life where they struggle to cope.
Talking can be incredibly powerful and our service allows our callers to
find their own way forward. Last year 161,170 callers trusted us enough
to help them through a tough time.
Trustee from Wales
WALES AT A GLANCE
We don’t just wait for people to get in touch with us – we make sure as many
people as possible know who we are and how we can help them.
From teaching rail staff how to approach commuters who might need our
help, to training prisoners to support their peers, we’re making sure we’re
reaching all corners of society that need us.
Each year between 300
and 350 people in Wales die
The male suicide rate is
approximately 3½ times higher
than the female rate.
In 2013 we received
161,170 calls for help.
10,124 of these were by email
and 14,708 by SMS.
Someone made contact with us
every 3 minutes.
We had 691 volunteers,
including 564 listening volunteers,
and 127 support and shop
According to the 2013 annual
survey, one in every six calls
made to Samaritans talked
about financial worries.
Our work in prisons
A prisoner is six times more likely to take their
own life. Samaritans has been working in prisons for
more than 20 years running a Listener scheme with
prison services. This scheme is about training prisoners
to give face-to-face support to their peers.
The Listener scheme started in HMP Swansea in
1991 and now operates in nearly every prison in the
UK and every prison in Wales. Last year more than
2,000 prisoners spoke to our Listeners, supported by
volunteer prison teams in Cardiff, Swansea, Bridgend
and Newport branches. We also have a regular
presence at bail hostels in Swansea and Bangor.
Supporting young people
We support young people in schools and colleges
across Wales in a number of different ways.
Giving talks to students about Samaritans and
emotional health continues to be the most popular
schools activity our branches carry out. We also
produce teaching resources about emotional health,
coping strategies and help-seeking through our DEAL
programme (Developing Emotional Awareness and
Learning). We reached more than 2,800 people in
education services in Wales.
Step by Step is our suicide response service for
secondary schools. Through Step by Step, support
has been offered to a number of schools in Wales.
Over the last year we have built an ongoing
partnership with Newport City Council to work with
them to respond to any local incidents and support the
school community in that area.
Working to prevent railway suicide
Samaritans has been working closely with Network
Rail to reduce the number of rail suicides and to
raise awareness among men in their 30s, 40s and
50s who are at most risk. The partnership includes a
programme of suicide prevention and post-incident
In Wales, this has included hotspot identification, an
awareness campaign, training for rail staff and work to
encourage responsible media reporting of suicides.
Samaritans volunteers have delivered post-incident
support at more than three rail stations in Wales with
proactive awareness-raising work, including visits by
the ‘Samaritans bus’ at a number of stations.
The Network Rail Wales Route Suicide
Prevention team, along with other industry
stakeholders, including Arriva Trains
Wales, First Great Western and the British
Transport Police, have been working closely
with Samaritans to reduce the potential of
suicides on our railway.
Our stakeholder community has a
committed prevention plan that sets out a
number of distinct interventions. With the
technical support of the Samaritans, we
have made significant investment in physical
prevention measures and trained over 270
frontline workers (ATW, NR and BTP) in
Wales, improving their confidence to safely
intervene in potential suicide incidents.
Early feedback from our people has been
very positive; scoring 4.8 out of 5 for
learning outcomes, but most importantly
this training has been put to real use
supporting our people in many of the 46
recorded suicide prevention intervention
events in Wales last year.
Dr Paul I Clark,
Head of Route Safety, Health and Environment
WALES AT A GLANCE continued
Offering expert advice to the media on reporting suicide
Research shows clear links between how the media
portray suicide and copycat behaviour among groups
at high risk of suicide. Samaritans’ guidelines, which
are based on over two decades of our close work with
the media, offer practical guidance for reporters and
programme makers on how to handle this sensitive
issue responsibly, above and beyond editorial codes
set out by industry regulators.
Our bilingual Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide were
launched in January 2014 by Mark Drakeford AM, Minister
for Health and Social Services.
Funding for the printing of our bilingual guidelines
was provided by Public Health Wales and
Increasing our influence
As a member of the National Advisory Group to Welsh
Government on Suicide and Self Harm Prevention
we welcome the intention to produce a revised
strategy and action plan. We have made a significant
contribution to the development of this plan, due for
publication later this year.
Suicide is the result of many different causes
interacting in complex ways. Because of this,
suicide prevention requires the action of multiple
organisations across sectors. This is why we believe
national suicide prevention strategies are a key
component in reducing suicide. They establish
the strategic framework needed for a range of
interventions to be brought in nationally, regionally
and locally in a joined-up way.
We want this revised strategy to address issues such
as support for people bereaved by suicide, socioeconomic
factors, and suicide information online.
Building emotional resilience and
communication in the workplace
We have been delivering courses for 10 years across
the UK and ROI, based on our 60 years of listening to
people with nowhere else to turn. The courses train
staff in simple and effective tools and techniques, and
give employees the skills and confidence they need to
handle emotional situations.
We’ve delivered training to more than 100 employees
from a wide range of organisations in 2013/14,
including RNIB Cymru, Neath and Port Talbot County
Borough Council and the Centre for Public Scrutiny.
We’ll continue to deliver and develop
our service to improve emotional wellbeing
and work to reduce suicide.
We’ll partner with other organisations
to encourage high risk groups to seek help.
We’ll continue to develop our relationships
with and influence Government.
We’ll brief more media outlets
on our guidelines to make sure standards
of reporting suicide in Wales continue
We’ll work with Welsh Government and
partners to contribute to the design and
implementation of the revised suicide
and self harm prevention strategy
and action plan.
OUR LOCAL WORK
We work both nationally and locally, and understand that each local area
also has its own unique needs. In 2013/14, every one of our nine branches
in Wales raised money, held events and developed their own partnerships
to benefit their local communities.
“Our volunteers are dedicated to
being there for callers round the
clock. I am proud of the work our
branches are doing to reach out to
high risk groups to meet the needs
of their local communities.”
Regional Director for Wales and the Marches
Aberystwyth: raising vital funds
A team of dedicated fundraising volunteers
had a busy year with a full programme
of events in Aberystwyth. Fundraising in
the town centre has not only provided a
regular and vital source of income, but has
helped generate awareness and increase
understanding of their work.
Aberystwyth branch held a charity
concert in September 2013 dedicated
to the memory of volunteer and former
Branch Director, Christine. More than 80
people attended the concert at St Padarns
Church, Llanbadarn Fawr, which featured
performances from the Aberystwyth Male
Voice Choir, close harmony singing group,
Sgarmes, and soloist Rachel Stephens.
In October 2013, walkers tackled a
25 mile stretch of the Wales Coast Path
from New Quay to Aberystwyth to raise
money for Samaritans and the local Mind
health and wellbeing centre. Volunteers at
Aberystwyth branch now hope to turn the
walk into an annual event.
Bangor: meeting the needs of the local community
Through a strong and growing team of
support volunteers, Bangor branch has
been reaching out to even more people
in need of support. Volunteers now make
weekly visits to a local bail hostel,
offering face-to-face emotional support
The branch also supports young people
in an increasing number of schools in
Anglesey, and has been developing links
in the Conwy Valley.
The branch celebrated Samaritans’ 60th
birthday with a Gala Dinner and Auction
in December 2013. Volunteers and guests
were joined by BBC wildlife presenter,
Iolo Williams, a long-standing supporter.
The Caernarfon event was the highlight of
the year in North West Wales, raising over
£2,000 for the branch. Over the next
12 months, Bangor branch hopes to
expand its public awareness work, recruit
more volunteers and continue developing
Brecon and Radnor: raising awareness in mid-Wales
Brecon and Radnor branch has continued
to go from strength to strength this past
year with successful volunteer recruitment
campaigns and their continued outreach
work. The branch has been reaching out
to schools, colleges and local Women’s
They have also promoted awareness of
the service and raised money at major
events and festivals, including the Builth
Music Festival, Royal Welsh Show and Hay
The branch has a shop located at
2 High Street, Llandrindod Wells and it is
thriving. It provides a welcome revenue
stream, as well as giving the branch a high
profile in a busy area. It even won the ‘Best
Window’ award for a second time at the
annual Llandrindod Victorian Festival 2013.
The work of the branch has also been
recognised by the High Sheriff of Powys,
who recently nominated Samaritans as his
charity of choice while in office. A special
programme of activities is being planned
to celebrate the branch’s 20th birthday in
OUR LOCAL WORK continued
Bridgend: celebrating 40 years of listening
Bridgend Samaritans celebrated its 40th birthday
in 2013. The branch first opened its helpline in
Maesteg in 1973, before moving into Bridgend itself
the following year. Today the branch has more than
80 volunteers who listen to nearly 21,000 people
Bridgend Samaritans also organised a 40 kilometre
coastal walk in May 2013 to mark the 40th birthday
of the branch and 38 people took part.
The walk followed the Wales Coast Path from Kenfig
Sands to Llantwit Major Beach, and raised awareness
of our service as well as much-needed funds for the
branch. The Bridgend branch school team have also
had a busy year. The volunteers have delivered over 90
interactive Emotional Health and Wellbeing workshops
to four colleges and 10 secondary schools in the area –
reaching out to around 1,900 students aged between
12 and 25 years.
Cardiff and District: promoting the value of talking
More than 110 listening and support volunteers work
together to provide a much needed service in Cardiff
and District area. In 2013/14, the branch reached out
to high risk people in schools and A&E departments,
and continued to support the Listener scheme at
The branch also had a presence at rail stations across
South Wales. Volunteers visited priority stations to
distribute leaflets and to talk to commuters. The
branch also provided much valued post-incident
support on three occasions.
And in August 2013, Cardiff City Football Club made a
donation of £25,000 to Cardiff and District branch.
This was part of the club’s ‘Thanks a Million’
campaign. The branch was one of 50 local charities
and community schemes selected to share in the one
million pound giveaway.
The branch plans to use the money to find new ways to
promote the ‘Talk to Us’ message throughout the year
to high risk groups.
Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire:
the welcoming face of Samaritans
in the community
Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire branch works
hard to raise awareness in the local community.
This is so people struggling to cope know how to find
the support they need. A big part of this awareness
raising is done via the shop at 2 Upper Market Street,
Open for more than 30 hours each week, the shop
is a banner for Samaritans, as well as being a critical
source of financial support for the branch. The shop
has 25 volunteers and they all act as a reassuring and
welcoming face of Samaritans in the local community.
There is evidence that contact with the Haverfordwest
shop has given people going through a difficult time
the confidence to take the next step of contacting us
for space to talk.
Reaching out and working with related organisations
is a valuable complement to our emotional support
service. In the last year, the shop benefitted from
the local Mind Resource Centre in Haverfordwest.
Volunteers from the Centre helped the shop by making
sure all price tags had the helpline number on them
and they will soon begin helping the branch with the
task of sorting through all the goods donated so that
they can be sold in the shop.
Newport and Gwent: building partnerships
Newport and Gwent branch has had a busy year
forging partnerships with other services and local
organisations in contact with high risk groups.
Volunteers have been supporting clients of Gwent
Cruse while they wait for bereavement services and a
successful relationship has also been built with
The branch is also an active member of the new
Aneurin Bevan Health Board suicide and self harm
prevention forum, and is participating in workshops
to take forward recommendations featured in the
national strategy and action plan.
The work with young people at the branch has
continued to develop and partnerships are now in
place with Newport, Torfaen and Monmouthshire
to support schools in the aftermath of a suicide.
Students from the University of South Wales
also created a short film about Samaritans which
encourages young people to seek help. Volunteers
delivered a series of workshops to young unemployed
people at a local Itec training centre.
Over the next year Newport and Gwent branch will
work to recruit new volunteers so that their valuable
outreach work can continue to grow and reach
OUR LOCAL WORK
Rhyl: putting callers first in North East Wales
Samaritans is there for people when they need us,
which could be any time of the day or night. Rhyl
branch recently introduced new shifts to make sure
volunteers can answer more calls when people are
finding it difficult to get through the night.
The branch is rising to this challenge by trying to
recruit an additional 10-12 volunteers.
Stephen Hoddell, Samaritans Chair, helped by
launching a new recruitment campaign at a recent
visit to the branch.
The North East Wales branch will be celebrating
its 40th birthday this year and has several events
planned to look back over the years at how it has
supported callers. This will include celebrating with
volunteers past and present, as well as with members
of the community.
Swansea: Samaritans by the sea
Promoting awareness was the focus for Swansea
branch in 2013/14. Volunteers gave talks to a number
of community groups and had a presence at social
venues and events, including a monthly produce
market and Swansea’s ‘Black Friday’- the last Friday
before Christmas. They were also successful in securing
a regular spot on the promenade. This gave volunteers
the opportunity to hand out leaflets, chat to people
passing by, and to offer the service face-to-face.
The branch also raised awareness on local radio
stations The Wave and Swansea Sound, and developed
a successful partnership with a local business. The
company agreed to place Samaritans stickers in 125
portable toilets used at outdoor events across Wales.
In 2014/15, the branch hopes to continue developing
these new and innovative partnerships and specifically
will be exploring ways of working with food banks in
Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people who provide a safe place for people
struggling to cope. Each year in Wales between 300 and 350 people die by
suicide. Our volunteers deliver and manage the service and their time is worth
over £2.3 million. Without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the time and
space for people to talk.
In 2013, we had 691 volunteers,
including 564 listening volunteers,
and 127 support and shop
We had more than 1,100 enquiries
from potential volunteers this
year. That’s 13% higher than
Our volunteers also continue to
develop their skills with ongoing
training. 168 volunteers
received regional training
this year. Many more received
training at branch level.
FOCUS ON VOLUNTEERS
I became a volunteer after
receiving amazing support from
Samaritans myself, when I was
at the lowest point I have ever
I went through a really tough time for a few years when I
was in an abusive relationship – I was estranged from my
family and had nowhere to turn. I felt ashamed and couldn't
tell anyone what was going on. But I felt like I could talk to
Samaritans, and for the first time I was able to tell someone
what I was going through. It was a huge relief, like a weight
had been lifted. Speaking to them really helped me.
I must have been a mess at the end of the phone, but the
volunteer I spoke to listened to me, and almost immediately,
I started to feel much better.
Speaking to Samaritans gave me the strength to make some
big decisions, and soon after that call I left my husband.
Talking about what I was going through made things more
real, and suddenly I realised how much I needed to get out
of the situation.
I started volunteering because I wanted the chance to thank
Samaritans for their support, to give something back, and to
help other people going through troubles. I get such a feeling
of purpose by being there to listen, and I know just how vital
it is that Samaritans continues to be there round the clock.
Samaritans is a charity and it is the public’s kind donations that keep our helpline available round the clock, every
single day of the year. We would like to offer our thanks to all those who have generously supported Samaritans.
Samaritans gratefully acknowledges the support it receives from Welsh Government.
Someone to talk to – people contact us when things are getting
to them. They don’t have to be suicidal.
We’re always here – round the clock, every single day of the year.
A safe place – as volunteers we’re ordinary people, and keep all
our conversations private.
People can be themselves – whoever they are, however they feel,
whatever life’s done to them.
We’re a charity – it’s the public’s kind donations that keep our
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