BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling Samaritans, a non-profit suicide prevention service. Their mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in the community, 24 hours a day; to educate the public about suicide prevention; to help those who have lost a loved one to suicide; and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide.
Samaritans Executive Director Steve Mongeau says their mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, and distress.
“Sometimes I envision it as someone finding themselves in this deep dark coffin, not quite sure how to get out, and we are one way, you know, a lifeline they can reach out to”, Mongeau stated.
Samaritans offers crisis services through their Helpline.
“So you can call or text, 877-870-HOPE, which is 4673, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And we have over 300 volunteers who are here to take your calls or texts to help you through that period”, outlined Mongeau.
And the numbers of texts they get, versus calls, has been growing.
“Texts has grown from a new service to its now our fastest growing service and we’re handling today, ah, six to seven hundred text conversations every month. If you layer that on top of our calls, annually we’re handling about 80,000 calls and texts in the crisis center”, Mongeau said.
Samaritans also offers grief support programs.
“We have meetings we refer to as ‘safe place meetings’ and in the course of a year we will have over 1,000 attendees at those meetings. They are people similar to myself who lost a loved one to suicide who gather together to share their grief journey. And you can go to SMARITANSHOPE.ORG and find the locations of those meetings in half a dozen communities in Eastern Massachusetts”, Mongeau concluded.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Doug Cope Reports