Comment piece: In response to the sad death of Jacintha Saldanha

19-12-2012 — / — Following on from the sad death of Jacintha Saldanha a nurse at the King Edward Vii Hospital today, please find below a comment piece from Samaritans. It reminds people that suicide is a complex issue and urges anyone who needs to talk to contact Samaritans’ helpline.

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans, said:

“It’s important to understand that suicide is complex, it is seldom the result of a single factor and is likely to have several inter-related causes.

“Each suicide is a tragedy. Sometimes people get to a point where they feel they can’t cope, where it all gets too much to handle. People can feel worthless, trapped in their situation with no way out, and that the future holds nothing good for them. It’s worse if people feel they are alone and they can’t talk to anyone about what’s weighing on them.

“Sometimes it’s hard to talk to family or friends. People don’t want to burden those close to them, or they can feel ashamed or struggle to ask for help.

“You can call, email or text Samaritans any time any day of the year. Samaritans volunteers are ordinary people, and they provide a safe place to talk. Calls are completely confidential. When you contact us, you can be yourself – we won’t judge you.

“When you’re in crisis, talking to us may help you to feel calmer and get through that moment.  Through human contact with someone who really listens you may begin to feel hope. Talking can help you to see your situation in a different light and find your way forward.

“People talk to us about job stress, money troubles, family struggles, relationship issues, loneliness, isolation, trying to measure up, worthlessness or feeling suicidal. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem you have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have. What matters to us is how your life is making you feel. Of course many people who call us are not suicidal, but we still want you to contact us if you‘re struggling to cope.

“Sometimes people we know in our lives want to talk but we just don’t realise – the signs can be there. If you are worried about someone do try and talk to them about how they are feeling. Some things to look out for in others are:

  • Being irritable or nervous.
  • A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating less than normal.
  • Drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual.
  • Being un-typically clumsy or accident prone.
  • Becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family.
  • Losing interest in their appearance. For example dressing badly, no longer wearing make-up, not washing regularly.
  • Making leading statements, such as ‘You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through’ or ‘It’s like the whole world is against me’. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.
  • Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, for example ‘Oh, no one loves me’, or ‘I’m a waste of space’ “

Samaritans will be there for anybody who needs someone to listen to them. We’re available round the clock every single day of the year.  If you want to talk, call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, email or find the details for the local branch at



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