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Liverpool Samaritans and Merseyside has launched the service as part of a drive to reach more local people who are going through a difficult time.
Previously, callers were required to call the 116 123 helpline number themselves before waiting to speak to a trained listener, a process that does not suit everyone.
Now, as an alternative way to access support, people who are feeling overwhelmed are able to fill out a form online and request a call back from Liverpool Samaritans at a time that’s convenient for them.
“Christmas can be difficult for many people, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home, but we also know that some people can be reluctant to call for help, even if they are feeling the strain.
“Perhaps they don’t think they’re yet at a crisis point, and therefore feel they shouldn’t call us, but nevertheless they are finding life difficult and would like to be able to talk to someone in confidence. That’s where this new service comes in.
“We want people to know that if life’s hard and you’ve lots on your mind, you can talk to us. We won’t judge you or pile on any pressure. We’ll listen and help you find your own way through it. Every call for help is answered by a trained volunteer and talking to us is always free and confidential.”
The service is only available to Merseyside residents, who can request a call back by filling out a form online at http://bit.ly/callbacksam. People’s personal details will be used for the call back service only and will be stored securely for one month, after which they will be permanently destroyed.
The new offering has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the local charity and Liverpool City Council.
It has already led to the hiring of a learning and skills co-ordinator who is reaching out to organisations in the city to improve the listening skills of staff who deal with vulnerable members of the public.
A series of workshops are being arranged to help employees and volunteers to ‘listen like a Samaritan’, handle difficult conversations and identify the ‘trigger lines’ of people who are at risk of coming to harm.
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