CEO Solette Sheppardson reflects on Samaritans ‘Talk to Us’ month this July:

“Many of us – at least one in four – will experience some sort of mental health issue during our lifetime. But for some people, feelings of being overwhelmed and despair become unbearable.

“Last year, GetSurrey reported that suicide levels in Surrey rose over the previous year, despite an overall drop in the UK, with 130 recorded suicides in 2020.

“We are fortunate to have North West Surrey Samaritans in our area, with dedicated volunteers available around the clock, every day of the year, ready to respond to people who feel alone or unable to cope.

“There are also a range of support services from Community Connections to the Safe Havens which provide a place for people in crisis to go for help.

“Sometimes we're concerned about someone we care about but unsure how to start a conversation. People worry they may make things worse – but the evidence shows that this isn’t the case. If there’s someone you want to support, but don’t know where to start, free training is available.

“People’s needs change and improvements are always possible. There is a consultation open across Surrey until Friday 18th July for people who use mental health services and professionals who refer to them. If this is you, please take the survey – your feedback is always useful.”