MP visits Southend Samaritans to discuss impact of COVID-19 on mental health

Southend MP James Duddridge visited the town’s Samaritans branch last week to learn more about the charity’s emotional support service and discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s mental health.

The member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East, met with Southend Samaritans Director Colin Hill at the branch in Southend’s York Road on Friday September 25.

Southend Samaritans is made up of 90 volunteers including over 70 listening volunteers, who offer emotional support to those in need round the clock, 365 days a year.

Other volunteers work in the Samaritans charity shop in Hamlet Court Road or provide valuable administrative support.

Mr Duddridge learnt how Southend Samaritans had responded to coronavirus and what impact the pandemic has had on Samaritans’ callers and the change in some caller concerns.

Mr Duddridge said: “Coronavirus has meant the way we live our lives has had to change, which in turn can have an impact on our mental health.

“I would like to thank Colin and all of the local volunteers for the vital work they do to support those in crisis. It is a service that I would urge any resident in need of help to reach out either over the phone or by email. Please do not suffer in silence.”

Colin Hill, director of Southend Samaritans, added: “Despite the impact of lockdown, we have been able to keep our service available to those who need us. The nature of caller concerns has been accentuated due to the pandemic, especially as the support networks have had to adapt.

“The response of our volunteers to ensure we were there for our callers has been amazing. We are there for everyone confidentially and without judgement.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans any time by using the free phone number 116 123, or by email to: [email protected].

Further information about Samaritans can be found by visiting www.Samaritans.org

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]