Samaritans Programs and Services
The Samaritans of New York, a community-based non-profit agency, is part of the world’s oldest and largest suicide prevention network. A non-religious organization, Samaritans is devoted to helping people who are depressed or in crisis, those who provide care for people in crisis and those who have lost loved ones to suicide through our volunteer-run hotline and support services based on our active listening, non-judgmental approach to helping called “befriending.”
Confidential Suicide Prevention Hotline
Samaritans operates NYC’s confidential 24-hour Suicide Prevention Hotline (212) 673-3000 that provides immediately accessible emotional support to those who are in distress, depressed, in crisis or suicidal. The service is free and provided by caring, professionally trained volunteers. The hotline responded to over 65,000 calls last year. It is frequently used by mental health professionals who want to provide their clients with a referral to complement other services and to provide a bridge while an individual is seeking care or during periods between appointments.
Why People Call Samaritans HotlineThose who call the hotline are of every age, socio-economic background and culture; they are dealing with everything from a bad day to a broken heart to a difficult loss or traumatic experience to some form of substance dependency or mental illness. Some people are overwhelmed and they do not see any options. People choose to call Samaritans for countless reasons, including:
Caring Volunteers Provide the Foundation
Samaritans hotline volunteers are caring and responsible individuals who do one hotline shift a week and one nine-hour overnight a month. They range in age from 21 to 74, come from every walk of life, every culture, social and religious persuasion and the entire spectrum of careers—small business owners, social workers, teachers, working moms and dads, secretaries, students, artists, bankers, contractors, etc.
Every Samaritans volunteer goes through 40 hours of intensive training where the focus is on providing emotional support, active listening, effective communications and assessing suicide risk and the warning signs of depression. They donate their time and efforts because they are devoted to the belief that everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their lives and when they do, Samaritans is there!
Public Education and Awareness Program
Samaritans Public Education program has been the primary source of suicide prevention training in NYC for 22 years providing workshops, seminars, technical support and major conferences to over 30,000 social workers, caseworkers, guidance counselors, therapists and other lay and professional providers. The program’s focus is on overcoming the myths and misconceptions many people have about suicide, the keys to identifying, engaging, caring for and treating those at risk and developing prevention planning and site readiness.
Safe Place Suicide Survivor Support Groups
Safe Place Group Meetings provide those people who have lost a loved one to suicide with a safe and supportive environment where they can listen to and share their feelings with others who have experienced similar losses. Many participants say it is the only place where they can openly address what they are going through without having to be concerned about other people's attitudes or judgments. Attendees are coping with losses of parents, spouses, children, life partners and others as recently as two weeks, a few months or 5, 10 or more years and attend one meeting, on occassion, on a regular basis and/or at those times like an anniversary or before the holidays where group support is so important.
Advocacy & Community Outreach
Samaritan’s advocacy and community outreach efforts advance suicide prevention on a local, statewide and national level, and provide support to those groups and individuals who are high risk or underserved by existing initiatives, such as young Latinas, younger and older Asian women, GLBTQ adolescents, at-risk youth, older adults, returning veterans, etc. Samaritans does this by building coalitions with key gatekeepers and stakeholders, helping to shape government policies and priorities, disseminating information and resource materials through free mailings and user-friendly Internet tools and providing free technical support to those groups with little or no funding. Samaritans is a founding member of: National Council for Suicide Prevention, NYS Suicide Prevention Council, NYC Task Force on Suicide Prevention.