Voluntary Sector: Scottish Samaritans attempts to cut suicide rate

Samaritans in Scotland has appointed its first PR firm to raise its profile among potential callers and volunteers.

The brief, awarded to Kinross-based Sigma Communications, involves promoting better mental health. It also aims to achieve a reduction in the suicide rate through a media relations campaign focusing on regional and national newspapers, TV and radio, said Samaritans in Scotland regional publicity officer Stephen Douglas.

The contract is for an initial one-year period and is being funded from the £200,000 of three-year investment awarded to Samaritans in November by the Scottish Executive. The executive wants to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in suicides north of the border over the next ten years.

The account is led by Mike Reynolds, a director at Sigma, reporting to Samaritans in Scotland development manager Frances Simpson.

Samaritans' communications elsewhere in the UK are handled in-house.

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