Rachel Sarah Murphy, aka Joe from Fair City

Rachel Sarah Murphy, aka Joe from Fair City

The Cork branch of Samaritans has today launched its ‘24/7 Talk to Us’ campaign.

Samaritans marks 24th July each year to highlight the fact that Samaritan volunteers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and each day of the year. This year, the organisation is highlighting the importance of talking as a measure to lessen stresses and problems that can contribute to poor mental health.

Speaking at today’s launch, Cindy O’Shea, Director of Cork Samaritans, said: “Part of our message today is to let people know that Samaritans is here for anyone who wants to talk. People don’t have to be suicidal in order to make contact with us. It’s important that people talk about their problems and when things are getting them down.

“In particularly, we’re sending a message to men that they should not hide their feelings or be reluctant to talk about problems. By ignoring problems, or not talking about them, the burden can increase and lead to much greater mental health problems, including a risk of suicide.

“Samaritans provide a safe space for people to talk, and we’re available around the clock, every day of the year. Our services are highly professionalised but – unlike so many big, national organisations – they are delivered entirely by volunteers. Our volunteers undertake extensive training before they are permitted to take calls or meet with people who require emotional support. Following initial training, each one of our 200 volunteers in Cork commits to providing a minimum number of volunteer hours each month, and they must take part in continuous training.

“The ‘24/7 Talk to Us’ campaign offers an opportunity to recognise the huge commitment that our volunteers make. It also gives the public an opportunity to understand that our volunteers come from all walks of life; are all ages; and live in different parts of the country,” said Cindy O’Shea.

As part of the “Talk to Us” 24:7 campaign, volunteers from Cork Samaritans will be in Bishop Lucey Park off Grand Parade from 12pm to 2pm on Wednesday 24th July. Volunteers will be available to chat about our service and we will be encouraging members of the public to talk about their feelings. We will have some surprise guests popping in to have a chat on our sofa and would like to invite members of the public to come along.

Local celebrities Rachel Sarah Murphy, aka Joe from Fair City, and Cork Hurling Legend Seán Óg ÓhAilpín have also lent their support by wearing our “Talk to Us” t-shirt in the lead up the 24:7 event.

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Samaritans provide a 24 hour, 7 day a week phone, walk in, email and  SMS service for people who are finding life tough. In 2012 Samaritans received over 400,000 calls in Ireland. The Cork branch has been open for over 40 years and people are welcome to drop in to 7/8 Coach Street, near the Mercy Hospital between 9am and 10pm each day.