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CONTACT:141 Tremont St., 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
DESCRIPTION:The National Center for Health Statistics reports one suicide every 17 minutes; suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among America's youth.
People who die by suicide do so to escape unbearable, overwhelming, pain. Often their support-structures of friends and family are inadequate. The health-care delivery system in this country cannot begin to address this problem, so philanthropy has moved into the breach. The Samaritans was founded in 1974 to prevent suicides by befriending those in despair and offering some of the support they so desperately need.
With seven paid professional staff, and 150 trained volunteers, The Samaritans of Boston runs 5 prevention programs: A 24-hour telephone befriending service, where carefully trained volunteers offer 200 callers daily, uncritical acceptance and respect in a comforting, understanding manner. The service is confidential and free. For young people, trained teenage volunteers, ages 16 to 19, answer calls each day from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Adult volunteers handle calls outside these hours.) SafePlace — an open support group for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Those who attend work through their loss and related emotions with others who have experienced similar losses. Lifeline-training and intervention efforts in selected eastern Massachusetts prisons. Volunteers provide face-to-face befriending to inmates and detainees who have expressed feelings of despair and isolation, or who may have signaled that they are suicidal. Community Outreach and Education — public awareness for prevention, through other civic philanthropic and educational groups.
(1997: HUMAN SERVICES: Health and Aging: General)
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