Depression? She'll get over it! Off work because of stress? He's having a laugh! Funny isn't it?

 Our emotional health is a serious issue, but we still don’t take it seriously. We avoid it. We misunderstand it. We even joke about it. We do everything, really, except talk about it. So how serious is the issue?
  • One in four of us suffer from depression at some time in our lives
  • Over five million working days are lost each year due to stress
  • Last year more people died in Britain from suicides than car accidents.

It's that serious it affects us all

SAMARITANS were founded in November 1953 when Chad Varah, Vicar of St Paul's, Clapham Junction, London recognised that there was a need for an emergency number for those who were feeling suicidal, just as there was for other emergencies. A group of volunteers manned telephones, and aimed to ‘befriend’ callers who were suicidal. By 1966, there were 6,537 Samaritan volunteers based in 80 Branches.

Calls to Samaritans continued to increase steadily, and today Samaritans is the UK and Republic of Ireland 's leading help line, with 203 Branches taking 4.8 million calls from people in distress each year. 18,700 volunteers man our telephone and email contact lines nationally. Samaritans offers callers the time and space to talk about their problems and to explore their feelings enabling them to be better able to cope with their lives.

CHELTENHAM AND DISTRICT SAMARITANS BRANCH was founded in 1963, offering support to those in distress in Cheltenham itself, and in the outlying rural areas. In 2003-4 the Branch had over 37,000 contacts, including over 16,000 telephone calls. In June 1994, Samaritans Cheltenham became the first Branch to offer completely confidential emotional support via an email service. Since this first pilot scheme, more and more Samaritans branches have started offering this service. In 2003-4 Cheltenham and District Branch responded to nearly 1,700 emails from all over the country.

Samaritans is not just a help line service, and funds enable us to reach more people with targeted projects via our Outreach programme. For example, Cheltenham and District Samaritans volunteers work closely with both prisoners specially trained as Listeners, and with staff at Long Lartin Prison. We also work regularly with schools, and in 2004 we once again continued to fulfil a variety of speaking engagements.

Help us to support the vital work of Cheltenham and District Branch of Samaritans

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