Samaritans Awareness Day is an annual campaign held every July 24 to underline the importance of lending an ear to those who are going through mental health problems.
History of Samaritans Awareness Day
The Samaritans foundation was founded in the U.K. in 1953 by Chad Varah. He was a vicar and cartoonist who would offer to counsel his parishioners and someone who prioritized listening to their problems above all else. The majority of the parishioners who came to him had suicidal thoughts as a result of various challenges in their life. As a result of this, vicar Varah felt compelled to do more to assist persons who are contemplating suicide.
Thus, he would establish a suicide hotline in that same year, which would later grow into the Samaritan’s foundation. Today, Samaritans is a leading self-help foundation dedicated to aiding depression sufferers in the U.K.
Depression is one of the world’s most severe mental disorders. Depression is expected to affect up to 280 million individuals worldwide, with 4.5 % of adults in the United Kingdom suffering from it. As a result, Samaritans Awareness Day seeks to emphasize the necessity of listening to persons who are depressed or suicidal.
The reasons for depression range widely from issues such as stress, family, societal pressures, anxiety, loneliness, loss, and disillusionment. Suicidal thoughts can arise when one concludes that they are ultimately not strong enough to deal with these problems, and therefore question their purpose of living. While depression is often unnoticed, its effects are profound, impacting one’s capacity to function, operate, socialize, and develop.
It is still treatable, despite the fact that it is a serious and crippling sickness. If you know someone who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts, it is critical that you listen to them.
The key to being a good listener is to pause and consider why the individual is having these feelings. Not interrupting their request or pointing out errors in their explanation can help them open up and feel heard. It’s important to be nonjudgmental in your approach. Doing so can help the person develop a sense of security that assures them that there is somewhere or someone safe to confide in their thoughts.
Samaritans Awareness Day timeline
The Greek physician Hippocrates is considered to be the first physicist to describe and identify depression clinically.
German psychoanalyst Emil Kraepelin is the first to distinguish manic depression, or bipolar disorder, as an illness.
British vicar Chad Varah establishes one of the U.K.'s first suicide hotlines, which would later become the Samaritans Foundation.
Major Depressive Disorder is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D.S.M.) for the first time.
Samaritans Awareness Day FAQs
What treatments are used to treat depression?
Many people with depression benefit from seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals to help their illness. Medication and psychotherapy are some of the more effective ways in treating it. However, confiding in a trusted loved one can also help as much as it helps them build trust and faith.
What are the things you shouldn't do or say when dealing with a suicidal person?
The most important thing is not to make them feel as if their sentiments are insignificant. You should also avoid giving them unhelpful advice that will just serve to intensify their sentiments and reinforce their suicidal ideas. Instead, pay attention to what they have to say and gradually convince them that their lives have worth.
How can I help someone at risk of suicide?
First and foremost, it is critical to detect the warning indications — dissociation, isolation, and changes in behavior. It’s then helpful to contact out and ask if they’re okay, as well as listen to what they have to say about it. If you notice that a larger crisis is approaching, keep in touch with the person and offer them a safe space to express their concerns. In general, the person wants to be understood.
How to Observe Samaritans Awareness Day
Reach out and give faith
On Samaritans Awareness Day, the best thing you can do is reach out to someone you know who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts. Give them a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to weep on. For these folks, such a gesture can mean a lot because it makes them feel seen and heard.
Read up on depression to elevate your understanding
If you want to learn more about depression in general, immerse yourself in the countless articles, journals, and studies on the subject. Doing so can help increase your academic understanding of why depression makes such a ravaging impact on its sufferers.
Donate to Samaritans and similar charities
Samaritans are one of the leading suicide and depression foundations in the U.K. and have been instrumental in providing an ear to those suffering. Donate to the foundation so that they can continue their good work for years to come.
5 Facts About Suicide Worldwide
The global suicide statistics are staggering
According to World Health Organization data from 2021, more than 700,000 individuals worldwide commit suicide each year.
Leading cause of youth deaths
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 19.
Poorer countries have higher suicide rates
Up to 77% of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.
Men are more likely to commit suicide
Suicide rates for men are twice as higher as for women and are usually higher for older individuals.
The highest suicide rate is in Africa
Lesotho, an African country, had the world's highest suicide rate, with 24.4 suicides per 100,000 people in 2019.
Why Samaritans Awareness Day is Important
It encourages empathy and listening to others
Samaritans Awareness Day emphasizes the importance of having empathy and throwing away judgment in understanding fellow human beings. It is only through these actions that we can truly connect with others and develop greater comprehension of the reasons behind these feelings. In other words, it greatly values the act of listening.
It highlights the work of Samaritans as a foundation
The day celebrates the breadth of Samaritans' activities throughout their existence. Samaritans have grown into a global organization that assists millions of individuals. Samaritans U.K. processed up to 10,000 calls per day in 2020, and they work with jails, railways, healthcare, and businesses daily to help train employees on how to cope with indicators of depression. Samaritans have made a significant effect on the lives of many people because of their broad impact.
It invites the public to take mental illness more seriously
Mental diseases are sometimes viewed by the general population as something that can be simply brushed aside or discarded as a sign of weakness. As a result, Samaritans Awareness Day contributes to the recognition of depression and other mental disorders as genuine and deserving of attention and treatment. It can help sufferers recognize that what they have can be treated by not placing judgment on them. All you have to do is give them the confidence and trust to do so.
Samaritans Awareness Day dates