Samaritans to help military personnel

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Eastbourne and District Samaritans has welcomed an initiative to offer armed forces and their families specialist support.

Samaritans will be offering armed forces staff and their families tailor-made confidential support services round the clock, wherever they are in the world.

The charity will receive £3.5million over three years to develop a national programme that helps military personnel, veterans and their loved ones identify when someone may need emotional support, and access Samaritans’ services more easily, whether they are in the UK or stationed overseas.

The national programme will build on Samaritans’ existing digital technology to offer service men and women confidential support by text, email and instant messaging.

There will also be online training for military personnel and their families in listening skills, giving them the confidence and expertise to encourage each other to open up when life is tough.

Face to face training to create listening volunteers within the forces will also be rolled out.

Nigel Knight, director of Eastbourne and District Samaritans, welcomed the announcement.

He said, “We rely on men and women in the armed forces to put their lives on the line to keep us safe. With this funding, Samaritans can share its expertise with the military so that those serving or leaving the forces and their families are better equipped to deal with their unique circumstances, as well as the day to day struggles that we all face.

“Eastbourne and District Samaritans are already here for anyone who is struggling, including those in the military.

“Support is provided by phone, email, SMS and face to face in addition to outreach support for schools, colleges and the Rebourne Centre.

“This funding will enable Samaritans nationally to share their expertise and give service men and women vital skills in listening and supporting others that they can use in their careers and later in their civilian lives.”

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