James visited the town’s local Samaritans branch to learn more about the charity’s emotional support service and discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s mental health.
James Duddridge MP, Member of Parliament for Rochford and Southend East, met with Southend Samaritans Branch Director Colin Hill at the branch in Southend’s York Road on Friday 25th September.
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 either work in the Samaritans charity shop in Hamlet Court Road or provide valuable administrative support.
During the visit, James 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.
He also praised the work of the volunteers and thanked them for their important work to support those who are struggling to cope.
Speaking afterwards, James 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."