Shropshire talk to put spotlight on tragedy of suicide and what can be done about it

Samaritans Shrewsbury logo
Samaritans Shrewsbury logo

It will be presented by Shropshire Humanists and be held next Thursday (April 20) at the University Centre, Frankwell, in Shrewsbury.

Dr Simon Nightingale, a prominent humanist funeral celebrant, said: “Suicide is tragic. It cuts a life short, and it devastates the family, friends and loved ones left behind.

“It is with much sadness that I reflect on the suicides for whom I have lead a humanist funeral.

“I have witnessed firsthand on too many occasions the terrible consequences of the loss of life by suicide and the enduring traumatic effects on family and friends.

“It is inevitable that all those affected by a suicide of a family member or friend ask – what might have been done to help prevent it?”

Dr Nightingale added that the Samaritans of Shrewsbury have an answer for that.

He said: “Shropshire Humanists wish to help Samaritans of Shrewsbury by raising awareness among vulnerable members of the general public that kindly, personal and confidential support is available at all times.

“Some of us may also support them by training as Samaritan listening volunteers; others may support them by helping to raise the donations on which they rely.”

Samaritan volunteers David Reffell and Sarah Forgie are due to explain what Samaritans of Shrewsbury charity is and does.

The branch in Shrewsbury sustains the work of 91 local volunteers who give compassionate support to people in distress, despair and with suicidal feelings and actions.

The activity at Shrewsbury Branch and in the Shropshire community goes on at a busy pace.

During 2022, in addition to handling around 8,200 telephone calls and 2,400 emails, they were involved in 109 community events and were able to reach around 13,500 people across Shropshire with their outreach activity.

In addition to giving talks to local groups and clubs they have volunteers regularly present at Shrewsbury Railway Station and local Foodbanks across the county.

They are also one of five founding partners in Shropshire who are building a strengthened Bereavement Service for the county, again, with Shropshire Public Health and three other local charities.

Furthering this work, as Vice Chair of the Shropshire Suicide Prevention Action Group, they have helped establish a new Bereaved by Suicide Service.

A spokesman for the branch said: “Now more than ever, it is important for them to be there for people who need their help. Samaritans listening volunteers are doing all they can for those struggling to cope, night or day, 365 days a year.

“They actively try and help prevent people reaching crisis point and give support when life becomes very difficult; especially at night when there are no other services to turn to.”

The national facts about suicide make sobering reading. Every 90 minutes someone takes their own life, three times more people die by suicide than traffic accidents and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and young people aged 20-34

Every 10 seconds someone places a call to Samaritans for help, suicidal feelings are expressed during one in five calls, self-harm was discussed in almost 1 in 12 calls and one in four of those callers were trying to stop themselves self-harming.

The meeting next Thursday starts at 6.30pm for coffee/tea and chat before the talk starts at 7pm. There is wheelchair access and free parking.

Shropshire Star