On Saturday 13 April, Samaritans is running a roadshow to raise awareness of local support services as part of its Real People, Real Stories campaign, which aims to encourage men to seek help by sharing the stories of those who have successfully done so.
Volunteers from Birmingham, Brierley Hill and Wolverhampton Samaritans will be joined by Dudley Mind, Dudley Talking Therapies and Cranstoun Sandwell drug and alcohol treatment service.
They’ll be in the Oldbury town centre, near Sainsbury’s on Halesowen Street’, between 10am and 5pm and will be talking to locals about their services, the Samaritans Real People, Real Stories campaign, and providing emotional support to anyone who may need it.
A survey by Samaritans found that two in five (41%) men in England, Scotland and Wales aged 20-59 do not seek support when they need to, because they prefer to solve their problems themselves. As this group is most at risk of suicide,the campaign highlights stories of a number of men who have overcome tough times, to encourage others to seek help by calling Samaritans 24/7 free on 116 123 or visiting Samaritans.org.
Lesley Brown, Samaritans Regional Director for West Midlands said: “We know men can sometimes find it really hard to admit they are having trouble coping and reluctant to seek help, and we want to say that across our branches in the West Midlands we do our best to make it easy to get in touch with Samaritans and talk to a volunteer. We are here to take calls 24/7 free on 116 123.”
The Real People, Real Stories survey results found that although 78% of men say it’s okay to admit you’re not feeling okay, many still avoid speaking out when they’re finding life tough. A quarter of men (25%) felt their problems weren’t important enough to warrant calling a helpline.
Tony Robertson, 38, suffered from undiagnosed depression for most of his life. Tony struggled to cope when he lost his job, his home and partner, and attempted to take his own life. “I was in my hospital bed the morning after and I saw my mum sat there upset, and something clicked. I started talking to my mum about how I was feeling. I think having that human connection really does bring that home. I hope by sharing my story as part of the campaign, it will encourage other men to speak up and seek help before getting to the stage that I got to. Talking really can save lives.”
The survey found that some of the main reasons why men find life tough and struggle include debt or financial worries (36%), relationship breakdown or family problems (30%), loneliness or isolation (29%) and job loss or job-related problems (25%).
Almost 3 in 10 men (29%) said loneliness and isolation had made them feel low in the past.
Find out more about Real People, Real Stories at: http://www.samaritans.org/realpeoplerealstories, You can also support by following the campaign @samaritanscharity on Instagram or sharing the video on Twitter @samaritans or Facebook at: www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity, using the hashtag #RealPeopleRealStories.