Colchester: Samaritans support detained servicemen


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Suicide prevention charity the Samaritans is offering support to servicemen detained in Colchester’s military prison.

Volunteers from the charity’s Colchester branch are making weekly visits to the town’s military corrective training centre (MCTC) offering support to detainees and their families, as well as staff.

Deputy director of Colchester Samaritans, Gaynor Bell, said: “Volunteers from the Colchester branch will now be on hand at the MCTC to explain what Samaritans are about and to assure detainees that they will be there for anyone in crisis who needs help.

“We will work particularly with the week’s new intake of detainees. We want to give them the confidence to call us via our national phone line from within the MCTC and even encourage those detainees allowed out on release to see us face-to-face at our centre in Walsingham Road.”

Captain John Wharton, who has charge of those detainees being discharged from the services, said staff at the MCTC have a duty of care for the well-being of those being detained.

He aded: “The MCTC seeks to train, educate, rehabilitate and reduce reoffending of service personnel and to provide public safety. We also have a duty of care for the well-being of those being detained.

“We welcome this initiative with the Samaritans, who are a well established and accredited service in the Colchester community, for the assistance they can provide for detainees and their families.

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“Our partnership with the Samaritans will further enhance the level of support that we can deliver at MCTC.”

Colchester Samaritans’ director, Virginia Druitt also added: “There has been a rise in suicides amongst men in recent years. Economic pressures, family problems and bereavement, coupled with the potentially dangerous and harrowing experiences that the military have to face, can cause emotional distress leading to suicide.

“We are not part of the military - just ordinary people volunteering their time to help people in crisis.”