A message to the legal profession from the local Merseyside Branch of Samaritans (4 April 2020)
It’s hard to believe that only 3 weeks ago I was invited to give a short presentation about Liverpool and Merseyside Samaritans to the Directors of the Liverpool Law Society. The purpose of my presentation was to explain the role of The Liverpool and Merseyside Branch of Samaritans in the local community and to explore ways in which Samaritans could work with the local profession to our mutual benefit.
Although Samaritan’s vision is that fewer people die by suicide the scope of the support we offer is much wider than our well known telephone listening service. Locally we answer more than 45,000 contacts a year which include phone calls, email, face to face callers and a soon to be introduced web chat service. In addition, our outreach activities include training and supporting prisoners at Liverpool prison, working with the emergency services, National and Merseyrail, Schools and the NHS. In fact, we reach out and support anyone who is going through a bad time and is finding life difficult to cope with.
My plan was to write a series of articles for your newsletter explaining in more detail the way in which we work in Liverpool with a view of reaching out to your profession as an organisation which could support you and and your clients and in return perhaps recruit some of you to volunteer with us and support our fundraising.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 appeared on the scene which makes the launch of a new promotional and fund raising initiative inappropriate. I will write the more detailed articles shortly.
Samaritans have had to withdraw their face to face service, curtail recruitment and training but we are now coping with a greatly increased demand for our phone and email services whilst the number of our active volunteers is reduced by self isolation.
I am conscious that your profession and your families and clients will also be going through difficult and uncertain times. As a retired solicitor I am aware that litigation, divorce, unemployment, crime, death and even buying a house can cause huge stress which your clients may find difficult to cope with. In addition, members of the legal profession work under great pressure and in a place where it is sometimes hard to admit to the stress of the job or find a sympathetic ear. That ear could be a Samaritan.
Samaritans service is confidential, nonjudgmental and we support people in making their own decisions. We find that giving people time, undivided attention and empathy meets an emotional need and allows callers to find a way to cope with the situation they find themselves in. No one should feel embarrassed or afraid to contact Samaritans. We are there for everyone.
We are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Our free phone number is 116 123 and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
We are here to support you and your clients whatever you are going through.
Deputy Director and Trustee