Man's effort to reach out to people in distress at South Shields' cliffs with special messages left on stones
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Philip Mclachlan, 30, has come up with the unique idea of writing messages on rocks placed along the cliff tops in South Shields urging people to call the Samaritans if they need help.
The retail assistant from South Shields has painted the rocks in the Samaritans colours and left messages including ‘you are not alone’ and ‘do not suffer in silence,’ along with a phone number for the organisation.
"There is a different message on each rock – some say ‘you are not alone call 116 123’ other say ‘call 116 123 do not suffer in silence.’
"Hopefully these rocks I am putting along the coastline in South Shields could potentially save someone's life."
He added: “Whatever your facing, please never think you’re alone.
"There's a 24/7 service which is open all day and night. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 who will talk to you and give you the support you need.”
Suzanne Armitage, branch director at Sunderland and South Tyneside Samaritans, said: “We are still here for everyone throughout the pandemic.
"We are still open 24/7 and still here to support anyone who needs us.
"We appreciate the help that we get from other people, like Philip, who publicise our organisation.”
Earlier in April, The Samaritans warned the organisation was expecting an upsurge in demand for mental health support services in South Tyneside as lockdown eased, with a year of restrictions having taken its toll.
Mrs Armitage said at the time that around 20% of the calls her organisation received since March 2020 had been directly linked to the pandemic, and ‘all callers have been affected by it in some way’.
The Samaritans were expecting to give more focus on young people over the coming months, saying they had been hit particularly hard by the past year of rolling lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions.