The Gibraltar Samaritans launches its helpline service today in order to aid people who are distressed and need someone to talk to in confidence.
The launch of ‘Gib Sams’ coincides with World Mental Health Day – a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma surrounding mental health.
On the eve of its launch a reception was held at No. 6 Convent Place where a gathering of volunteers, trainers and other dignitaries heard speeches from the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, the charity’s founder Marie Lou Guerrero and its patron the Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis.
Mr Picardo, in his address, pledged the full support of the Gibraltar Government behind the charity and thanked Ms Guerrero for the work she has put in to launching the project.
“I think we all realise how important it is as society evolves that we also evolve the safety net that society provides,” Mr Picardo said.
In her address Mrs Guerrero highlighted the “unbelievable” response to the launch of the charity as well as all those who have assisted in setting up the helpline service including volunteers and trainers.
“We have 28 volunteers at the moment undergoing training and they are working people, people with young children, single mothers with children who are giving up their time to help and that is incredible, there is no way to say thank you because there is nothing more precious than time,” she said.
Lt Gen Davis said: “If Gibraltar is anything it’s the choices its people make and we’ve seen that played out as we’ve remembered the 1967 referendum.”
“This is another very, very significant choice that you’ve made.”
He further thanked Mrs Guerrero for her “inspirational leadership” and “unshakeable determination” as the founder of Gib Sams.
The event also saw the presentation of a cheque on behalf of FC Boca Juniors to the charity for £3,900 – the result of a recent charity futsal tournament in memory of Maurice Coelho.
The charity’s helpline service number is 116123.