On the occasion of Dublin Pride weekend, volunteers from charity organisation Samaritans will provide face-to-face emotional support to all participants and visitors in distress or that are struggling to cope.
Members of the Samaritans Festival Branch will be on duty on Capel Street Bridge to support and listen to those in need from 7pm on Friday and from 10am on Saturday, both days until the early hours of the morning.
Thousands of people are expected to join the festival over the coming days, and while there will certainly be a celebratory atmosphere in Dublin, for some the weekend may be challenging.
Samaritans volunteer and Festival Director, Tony Leech, said: “Events like the Dublin Pride Festival are designed to be fun and enjoyable occasions for both participants and visitors. However, for some people, it can be lonely and isolating to be in a festival atmosphere where they may be overwhelmed by feelings of loss and despair because of what may be happening or has happened in their lives.”
In general, the Samaritans Festival Branch attends about eight festivals each summer and assists hundreds of people every year. At last year’s Pride, the volunteers ended up supporting almost 120 different people. Tony shared that he believes in the saying that “a burden shared is a burden halved”.
“We know that many people, particularly young men, tend to bottle up their emotions, fearing they may be judged, be thought different or weak, be misunderstood or be ostracised.
Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you’re not feeling okay- perhaps you’re feeling tired, more emotional, or not wanting to do the things that you usually enjoy.
You don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. We are here for you no matter what. pic.twitter.com/nt8hncBTUd
— Samaritans Ireland (@SamaritansIRL) June 12, 2023
As Samaritans, we know from experience that it is helpful to talk and share feelings. We are trained to listen. We do not advise. We do not offer solutions. We give people time and space to talk, to express their feelings, and we help them to explore options in dealing with any issues facing them,” he said.
This year, Samaritans volunteers will also take part in the Dublin Pride parade with other organisations as part of the We Act group.
“By being present in Dublin we want to give the message to anyone suffering feelings of despair that we are there to listen and to provide face-to-face support in a non-judgemental way.” Tony Leech commented.
The Samaritans’ presence on the streets of Dublin will complement the freephone helpline and email service. Anyone struggling can call the Samaritans on their free-to-call number 116 123 available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – or email [email protected]
© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.