Purcell Masterson decided to speak with well-known people from across Ireland and Kilkenny. They share their thoughts on the work of the Samaritans and some practical tips for anybody who might be finding it hard to cope.

Samaritans of Kilkenny and Carlow teamed up with KCLR for a day of action on Tuesday 11 December, 2018. Providing vital support to the region, Samaritans are a 24/7 listening service and need your help to continue their great work through their freephone service – 116-123 – and on the ground here in Kilkenny and Carlow.

Featuring Chef Neven Maguire, RTÉ’s Mary Kennedy, TD John Paul Phelan, Petmania, Kathy Purcell of Castlecomer Discovery Park, Catherine Cox of Family Carers Ireland and Marion Acreman, President of Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and Manager and President of MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre.

An important message from the Samaritans is that you don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. Only 1 person in 5 who calls the Samaritans say that they feel suicidal.

“I have always been a supporter of the work which The Samaritans do. It is so important that people have someone who will listen to them in confidence when they are going through a tough time. Mary recently spoke to The Irish Independent about her own mental health experience. Read it here.”

RTÉ Broadcaster Mary Kennedy 

Looking after your physical health and poor mental health is an issue which Family Carers Ireland see arise amongst family carers quite a lot. Thousands of family carers are living in crisis across the country – they urgently need a break and the price they are paying, by looking after their loved ones, is detrimental to their own personal mental health and wellbeing. Caring can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health which is all the more compounded by the lack of available supports. Our care-line is also there for anybody who needs practical advice and supports. Call 1800240724 or visit www.familycarers.ie. For those who call out of hours and need to speak with somebody immediately they are given the option of re-routing to The Samaritans.”

Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland  

“For many, Christmas is a time to celebrate, to gather together with family and friends, a time for laughter, to relax and enjoy a break with loved ones, away from the frenzy of an increasingly fast-paced life.

But for others, it’s a time of deep anguish, of  agonising loneliness and of utter mental torture. Even in a crowded room filled with laughter, with noise and with festive cheer, it’s so possible to feel incredibly alone. But nobody should ever feel alone. The Samaritans are always there, always listening. A friendly, non-judgemental  voice is only a phone-call away.”

John Paul Phelan, Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform.

 I am a great believer that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. But many people do not have a trusted person to talk to or they do not want to talk to someone they know well about a personal matter – That is where the Samaritans play such a vital and confidential role.”

Chef Neven Maguire

“The Samaritans are providing an excellent and essential service on the ground in Kilkenny, making it more acceptable to reach out for help. In these busy times our stress levels are at an all-time high and the sooner we learn to talk to others whether in a professional capacity or simply look to  our peers for help the sooner we can change the growing issue of workplace stress in Ireland.

As a business person with a lot of things constantly being juggled I feel we need to accept that our minds need rest periods. It can be easier to be constantly on the go and harder to switch off but the health implications both physically and mentally are manifested over the long term to the detriment of not just the sufferer but also their families. I wish all participating in Samaritan’s Day a very successful and stress free day on 11th December, I am looking forward to our events in MacDonagh Junction.”

Marion Acreman, President of Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and Manager of MacDonagh Shopping Centre.

“So many of us are experts at putting on a smiling face for the world, when often times we are suffering and struggling to stay positive.  Know that you are not alone, and that it’s OK not to feel OK.

At Castlecomer Discovery Park we see the benefits of engaging with the outdoors in helping to deal with feelings of depression and anxiety. For those that are feeling down, it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise and get out in nature, but making that step will have huge benefits. “Green Therapy” can be as simple as a gentle run through the forest to clear your mind, or sharing a walk with a friend and talking in nature.  The research to back it up is there in spades, it’s simple, it’s free and the results are immediate.  Leave the phones at home, and reconnect with nature, talk, share and know you won’t be judged because we all struggle from time to time.”

Kathy Purcell, Castlecomer Discovery Park. 

“We regularly have our customers tell us how important their pets are to their mental health – helping them through difficult times and providing a rock of comfort, support and affection. It’s amazing to hear each of these stories and a constant reminder that a pet is not just a pet, but a part of the family and a true friend. “
Emily Miller, Marketing Manager with Petmania