Festival Branch of the Samaritans

The Indispensable Festival Guide

published: Sat 7th Dec 2002

We are there come RAIN

Samaritans 97

or SUNSHINE

Samaritans sun

Festival Branch of The Samaritans has been going to festivals for over 25 years now, and will be there once again this year offering 24 hour emotional support to anyone who is in crisis. Previous years they have spoken to many upset, depressed or even suicidal people, and are fully expecting the same this year.

But why Samaritans at a festival? Festivals are about having a good time aren't they?

At any event where there are thousands of people having a great time, there are inevitably some who are not. Sometimes people arrive hoping to forget about their problems, but the sight of so many seemingly happy people can make them feel even worse. Others can arrive feeling relatively OK, but something happens during the event which leaves them feeling low.

It's hard work, but it's worthwhile as there really does seem to be a need. What's both surprising and rewarding is that many people who would never consider telephoning or visiting a local Samaritan Branch, do seem comfortable speaking to the Samaritans at a festival.

Callers can discuss anything that's getting them down, no matter how serious or how trivial and the conversation is completely confidential. Whether people feel suicidal or not they are given the opportunity to talk through whatever is on their mind with a non-judgmental volunteer who is trained to listen. Samaritans respect a caller's decisions and do not impose their own views.

Festival Branch is a Branch of The Samaritans like any other, except that they don't have a building and you can't contact them by telephone! Instead, they go to events throughout Britain, predominantly music festivals - including T in the Park, V and Reading/Leeds - but also biker events, dance events, Lesbian/Gay Pride, Crisis Open Christmas, etc. and provide a Samaritan service.

"People speak to us about as many different problems as there are different people!" said Angus, a volunteer with the branch ."Some feel close to suicide, others don't. Obviously we want everyone to have a great time, but if they don't, we hope they'll come and speak to us."

See the Festival Branch website at http://www.samaritans.org.uk/~festival

The admin address for Festival Samaritans is: festival@samaritans.org.uk

The Samaritans national telephone number is 0345 909090. They also offer a confidential eMail befriending service every day of the year. So if you'd rather "talk" via email the address is: jo@samaritans.org.uk

or, if you'd like your message to be anonymous: samaritans@anon.twwells.com

Statistics

Suicide and Young People (aged 15 to 25)

dot19% of deaths among young people are by suicide - second only to road accidents. (In the general population the figure is 1%)

dotThere are 19000 suicide attempts by adolescents (aged 10-19) every year in the UK - one every 30 minutes. Studies show that of those, 11% will successfully kill themselves over the next few years.

dotThere are 2 actual suicides by young people every day in the UK.

dotThe suicide rate among young men has more than doubled since 1985.

dotSuicide attempts among young people are 70% more fatal than road accidents.

Thanks to the Samaritans for providing this useful service, and the information!





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