One person dies by suicide every 11 minutes in the United States. 100% of those deaths are preventable. One spring night during my freshman year of college I feared that a close friend hundreds of miles away was going to become part of that statistic. I felt helpless and scared that I could do nothing to save them. Remembering a sign I saw by one of the MBTA stops, I called Samaritans crisis support helpline. The helpline volunteer validated my fears and empowered me to take the steps necessary to ensure that my friend was safe that night.
Two years later I found myself on the other end of the helpline as a phone line volunteer. Inspired by my experience being supported by the helpline, I wanted to help others in distress as a volunteer. I have now been volunteering in the Samaritans' phone room for a year and a half- where I get to see the impacts of Samaritans services on the community first hand. Trained volunteers like myself listen day and night offering support to people who are struggling or feeling suicidal on our call or text Helpline. Our phone room answers calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Samaritans also holds SafePlace meetings and Survivor to Survivor visits to help those who have lost a loved one to suicide deal with the unique grief of a suicide loss. Samaritans’ free Suicide Prevention Workshops – in schools, businesses, and community groups – teach teens and adults how to recognize that someone might be suicidal and how to help themselves, a friend, classmate, or co-worker.
You can help save lives and lessen the number of lives lost by suicide by supporting the Samaritans’ Marathon Team. I am hoping to raise $10,000 to allow Samaritans to continue providing these essential services to our community. As a non-profit, we rely on your donations to allow us to continue providing these services.
Feeling hopeless? We're here to listen. Call or text us at 877-870-4673 (HOPE).
If you have secured your own bib for the Boston Marathon and are interested in joining the Samaritans Team, please contact Sarah Cahill at email@example.com.