The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Vincent Jackson, launched Samaritans Teenhelp service in his native Ballyfermot on Friday 8th September 2006.
This is a Community initiative together with the co-operation of Samaritans, Dublin City Council & Smart Telecom will lead to an emotional support service for suicidal teenagers in Ballyfermot and surrounding areas.
St Patrick's Athletic F.C. are fully behind this initiative and will provide considerable advertising resources to highlight this service. St Patrick's Athletic will display the Teenhelp banner at the home derby against Shelbourne on Friday night. As well as the inclusion of an advert in their programme to the end of the season and the inclusion of the Teenhelp card with each programme.
Speaking today St Patrick's Athletic Commercial Manager Philip Nolan said “Suicide affects our community and as part of the community we have a role to prevent suicide”
Many people in Ballyfermot are concerned about the high level of teen suicides in the locality and surrounding areas such as Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Lucan etc. Between January and March 2006 it is estimated that as many as 25 people took their own lives, the majority of those were males in their late teens and early twenties. Many members of the community have been affected by the tragedy of suicide.
The Ballyfermot community decided to form a response to this situation. Samaritans was invited to help the community initiate a response. Support and co-operation were also invited from Dublin City Council and Smart Telecom. Each of these organisations has worked with the community to provide the service that is being launched today.
Over the past year volunteers from the community have undertaken the full Samaritans training and over the last few months have put that training to good use by gaining experience on the Samaritans helpline. These Samaritans volunteers are now ready to provide a confidential emotional support service by phone from Ballyfermot. They will be supported at all times by the Dublin branch of Samaritans. The service invites calls from teenagers who are going through any emotional distress: who are worried, sad, lonely, isolated, depressed, being bullied, being abused, suicidal.
The service will operate with a Freephone number: 1800 945 678. The telephone service is being provided to Samaritans Teenhelp by Smart Telecom free of charge. The service will initially operate between the hours of 7pm and 10pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Outside these hours the Freephone number will divert at no cost to the user to the main Samaritans helpline: 1850 60 90 90. This will ensure a 24-hour free phone service to callers in distress.
Samaritans Teenhelp will operate from the Ballyfermot Civic Centre where the service has been provided with facilities free of charge by Dublin City Council.
It is hoped to expand this service in the future. Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people from all walks of life and all backgrounds and cultures. All our volunteers receive intensive training in listening skills, to help us respond to people in crisis. Samaritans Teenhelp depends on such volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering you can contact us by e-mail: email@example.com or call: 1890 200 091
Teenhelp would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in making this initiative happen.
Samaritans Teenhelp is Supported By
Dublin City Council & Smart Telecom