The first outreach service which the Samaritans has ever provided in Ireland – right here in Waterford – is set to be extended given the success of a pilot scheme recently initiated in the city.
The ‘drop in’ service, provided by Waterford Samaritans and accommodated by the Rowe Creavin Practice at Slievekeale Road’s Waterford Health Park, represents a new approach to dealing with mental health.
Speaking exclusively to The Munster Express, Samaritans Waterford/South East Director Anne Woodworth and Doctor Mark Rowe of the Rowe Creavin Practice said the service demonstrated their collective commitment to the community.
“There are people who have a lot of things on their mind,” said Ms Woodworth, referencing the current economic downturn and the many personal problems it has catalysed or exacerbated.
“We in the Samaritans have always waited and been reactive to calls coming in. Now we’re changing our whole focus, going outwards and we’re being proactive, and we believe that this scheme has proven most beneficial.”
According to Dr Rowe: “If you look at the whole area of mental health, we want to promote mental well-being and in so doing you have to be aware that traditionally there have been a lot of barriers that have prevented people from getting appropriate help.”
Now help is being provided in a new manner, with the Samaritans providing a drop-in service at the Health Park each Tuesday afternoon for three hours.
Looking ahead, Dr Rowe referred to the escalating levels of depression that are set to make it the “number one chronic illness in the western world by 2020”.