The Lancaster and District Samaritans are turning what’s become known as ‘Blue Monday’ on January 18 into ‘Happy Monday’, by encouraging people to become volunteers.
Cold weather, together with broken resolutions and post-Christmas credit card bills, have seen the day called the most depressing of the New Year.
But, there’s no real science behind it and now Samaritans is also giving the idea the boot in favour of a more positive New Year message.
Branch director Jenny Dighton said: “A new year is a great time to reflect on what you can give, and there’s no better way to do that than to volunteer.
“At Samaritans we have a range of roles to suit people with different skills, from becoming a listening volunteer, helping with admin, fundraising, volunteering in the Samaritan’s shop or our IT. If you’re interested in volunteering in the community and at events, we have exciting roles too.
“Our volunteers are people from all ages and backgrounds and not only do we offer expert training and support, there are plenty of social activities too.”
Every 90 minutes, someone in the UK or Ireland dies by suicide, but you don’t have to feel suicidal to call, email or text. Samaritans is there for anyone who needs to talk, in confidence, about whatever’s getting to them.
Its 21,000 volunteers respond to more than 5.3 million calls for help every year and in 2016 the charity is expecting to reach out to more people than ever.
Sarah Teepsoo, who has been a volunteer for 18 months, said: “Finding out about volunteering with Samaritans is one of the best things I’ve done.
“You’re all part of a team and the training is thorough and really interesting. You’re never on your own – we all have a mentor and ongoing training too.
“For me, it’s been an opportunity for personal development too – you discover things about yourself as well as gaining new skills.
“And being there just to listen to people who feel they have no one else to turn to is such an important thing to do. I feel I get just as much out of my volunteering with Samaritans as I put in.”
You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, call for free any time, from any phone, on 116 123 (this number will not appear on your bill), email email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Samaritans there are information events over the next few weeks:
Morecambe library on Tuesday January 19, 6pm-7pm
Lancaster library on Thursday February 11, 6pm – 7pm
If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Samaritans, you can call 03705 627 282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.