Samaritans Southcoast are First Responders for Those in Crisis
Saving lives is a first priority for Samaritans Southcoast, an emotional support and suicide-prevention organization serving Bristol County.
Darcy Lee, the program's director, says the Samaritan Hotline (988) received more than 33,000 calls last year, and is currently tracking to receive 40,000 calls in 2024.
Lee visited Townsquare Sunday this week and discussed the important work being done by the Samaritans, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She also shared details about an upcoming fundraiser.
"There are so many people in need of emotional support," says Lee. "Our crisis counselors are there to support anyone of any age who is in need of a caring, listening, compassionate and confidential ear."
Lee says for those people calling who are at risk of suicide, her counselors are ready to make a quick hand-off to a mobile crisis intervention team to respond.
The holiday season and, surprisingly, springtime are among the Samaritans' busiest times of the year. "In the spring, people are really feeling that they can't get out of their depression," says Lee. "We also get a lot of calls from young people who are more concerned about their futures, and they need to talk to someone who will listen and not judge them."
Lee says Samaritan counselors do not give advice, but rather help people understand what they're feeling, and allow them to share their feelings.
Samaritans is sponsoring a fundraising event on Saturday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. at White's of Westport. "Stand up for Suicide Prevention" will feature comic headliner Michael Petit, a silent auction, live auction and much more. Tickets are $30. you can also stream the comedy show live for a $20 fee. Visit samaritanssoco.org for more info.
"Certainly suicide is no laughing matter. It's a serious public health issue that's touched many people in our area," says Lee. "But we do know that laughter can bring people together. We expect to have some 200 people at White's on Saturday, supporting the Samaritans Hotline, and a program called Safe Place, a service for suicide-loss survivors."
Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 a.m. on 1420 WBSM, 99.5 FM and at 6 a.m. on Fun 107.
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Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey