In the Cape and Islands region, the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands are most well-known for the signs posted at the Bourne and Sagamore bridges imploring tourists and locals alike to call our crisis lines if they need to talk. Although the crisis lines are an integral part of our work, The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands offers a variety of outreach programs for people in need and educational opportunities for community members eager to learn how to help save lives.
The staff and volunteers of the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands are always available to provide educational presentations and suicide prevention materials to area businesses, community groups, and health and human services professionals. They believe every opportunity to work directly in the community helps strengthen our region’s ability to prevent suicides.
Please contact the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands office if you, your community group, or business would like to learn more about suicide prevention and how to help save lives.
It’s not always easy to tell someone when you’re experiencing difficulties in life. Perhaps this is even more so for the seniors in our community – a proud, independent generation who are accustomed to making do on their own. The Samaritans know that sometimes all we need is a little extra support, and their Senior Outreach program provides that support safely and with dignity.
Created in 2009 in response to the growing need of seniors in our community, Senior Outreach is a referral program where outgoing calls are made to isolated or at-risk older adults. Participants are matched with a Samaritan-trained volunteer who calls the senior once or twice each week. Conversations are confidential, and provide a safe place for older adults to talk about whatever is troubling them most without fear of judgment or repercussion.
Most participants join the program because they were referred by their Council on Aging, a community group, or concerned family member. But seniors who would like to self-refer into the program are always welcome to join. The program is free and available to any individual age 55 years or older.
If you have been impacted by health problems, retirement, social isolation, the loss of loved ones, depression, or have concerns about aging, the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands’ volunteers are here to listen with compassion and empathy. Or if you know of a senior who might be isolated, lonely, or simply in need of a caring voice, please contact their office to find out more about how they can match that senior with a volunteer in the Senior Outreach program.
Elder Suicide Prevention Training for Cape and Islands Communities:
For those who interact with seniors in their personal, professional, or volunteer activities, our Elder Suicide Prevention Training for Cape and Islands Communities is an excellent way to learn how to actively listen and positively engage a senior who may be at risk for suicide.
Developed in 2011 by the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands, this localized suicide prevention training is designed to reduce the incidence of suicide among adults age 55 and older. The day-long training is open to the public and is appropriate for both lay people and health professionals. Librarians, bus drivers, social workers, care managers, and nursing home administrators have all been among past attendees. And registered nurses, licensed mental health clinicians, and social workers who attend the class will receive seven (7) Continuing Education Units.
After the class, attendees are better able to understand the warning signs of suicide in older adults; develop strategies for early intervention and prevention; and learn effective methods for active listening and engagement with older adults who are suicidal. Most importantly, attendees feel more comfortable about how to ask someone if they are suicidal and are better prepared to find further support for those in need in our region.
Based on best practices in Canada and Australia as well as established Cape and Islands Samaritan training models, the Elder Suicide Prevention Training for Cape and Islands Communities is offered periodically throughout the year. Please contact their office to learn more or to register for the next training.
Safe Place Support Groups:
Losing a loved one to suicide is a painful and difficult experience that can leave you feeling isolated. Safe Place provides those who have lost someone to suicide a caring, confidential support group where they do not have to be alone with their grief.
Safe Place is free of charge, ongoing, and confidential. Meetings are facilitated by Samaritan-trained volunteers, many of whom are survivors themselves. They hope to create a welcoming, safe environment which honors and respects the needs of all participants.
Every loss survivor grieves differently and at their own pace. During a session, you can choose to share as little or as much as you like. Some survivors bring a friend or family member for support; others bring photos of the loved one they lost. There is no “right” time to start attending and there is not a recommended number of meetings you need to attend – the only thing that matters is what feels right to you.
Loss survivors are invited to attend a session whenever you feel comfortable doing so. If you would like to learn more about Safe Place before attending, or to confirm meeting locations and times, please contact their office.
Survivors of suicide loss are often confronted with many – sometimes unanswerable – questions as they begin the healing process after a friend or loved one has died by suicide. Talking with other loss survivors with shared experience can be therapeutic; but not everyone is interested in attending a support group and sometimes support groups aren’t available locally.
The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands began the Care Package program to address this need and to help loss survivors receive support during their most private moments. Each Care Package contains books, brochures, articles, and online resources that other loss survivors have found helpful as they grieve. Specific books for children, parents, siblings, spouses, or friends can be included within each package. Care Packages are available free of charge, and can be mailed anywhere in the United States.
If you have lost someone to suicide, the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands can send the Care Package directly to your address. If you would like to give a Care Package to someone you know, they would like to mail the package to you so the survivor isn’t surprised to receive an unsolicited package. You may then share it with the survivor when the time is right.
Please call their office to learn more or to request a package.
The crisis lines receive over 25,000 phone calls each year from people in need. Some callers feel overwhelmed, sad, or lonely. Others feel angry or confused, and may have nowhere else to turn.
Each crisis line phone call is answered by a Samaritan volunteer who has been extensively trained in non-judgmental active listening. They do not problem-solve or offer opinions. Instead they simply listen and allow a caller to truly unburden.
Callers sometimes worry they shouldn’t call the crisis lines if they are not suicidal. You do not have to be suicidal to call. Simply needing a safe space to talk is reason enough to pick up the phone.
Whether you’re a first time caller or someone who has called before, calling a crisis line can be very intimidating. The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands want to make the experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.
Callers can rest assured that all calls to The Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands are free and completely confidential. They do not have caller ID, they cannot trace your call, and they respect your right to make your own decisions regarding your life. You can truly share anything with them.
Samaritan volunteers are here to listen every day of the year, including holidays. Volunteers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends. Although they strive to have overnight coverage too, sometimes it’s not always possible. If they do not have a volunteer on duty at night, callers receive a message asking them to call the Boston Samaritans hotline.
Remember, you do not need to be suicidal to call the phone lines. Everyone needs a little extra support from time to time. They are here to give you that support. Call today: 800.898.9900.
Visiting Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands:
All programs & services offered by the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands are free of charge.
To access services or learn more about the programs they offer call their office today: 508.548.7999
Crisis Line: 800.898.9900
Stephanie came to the Samaritans in 2010 with a background in human services working with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. A graduate of Lesley University and Cape Cod resident for 23 years.
Specialty areas/training: Suicide Prevention Trainings including Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), SafeTalk, Suicide2Hope, Samaritan Volunteer Training, Grant writing, Legislative Advocacy, & Program Development.
Although Beverly has served as a Samaritan Crisis Line volunteer since 2010 and a Safe Place Facilitator since 2012, she has recently been hired on as our new Assistant Director. Beverly has extensive human service experience in domestic violence/sexual assault prevention as well as suicide prevention.
Specialty areas/training: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Suicide Prevention Trainings including: Connect Pre- and Post-vention, QPR, ASIST, SafeTalk, and Samaritans Volunteer Training.
Desirée has extensive experience in customer service, accounting/bookkeeping, office administration. She is an avid crafter who loves learning and is always open to a new challenge.
Margaret M. Frederick attended Merrimack College and North Shore Community College. Employed by St. Patrick Church, Diocese of Fall River since 2007. Also volunteered and worked for the Samaritans on Cape Cod & the Islands since January, 2000. Served as a crisis line volunteer, board member, director and assistant director, grant writer, and volunteer coordinator.
- Don Lee | President
- Barry Evans | Treasurer
- Tom Brady | Assistant Treasurer
- Ed Wirtanen | Clerk
- Melanie Henry-Valois
- Kathy Berry-McDonagh
- Patti Haney
- Peter Clark
- Charlie Ashe
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