R 270
2017 -- H 6247
Enacted 05/24/2017

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Mattiello, Shekarchi, Morgan, Barros, and Lancia
Date Introduced: May 24, 2017

     WHEREAS, In 1953, a vicar in London named Chad Varah officiated at one of the
earliest funerals of his career. The deceased was a fourteen-year-old girl who had started
menstruation, but because she had no one to talk with about her condition, she mistakenly
believed she had a sexually transmitted disease and sadly took her own life; and
     WHEREAS, Chad Varah was so immensely moved by this senseless loss of life that he
dedicated himself to raising awareness of suicide prevention and to creating a global network of
independent organizations and people, trained in befriending, better known as nonjudgmental
listening, who would answer calls about anything including thoughts of suicide; and
     WHEREAS, In 1977, a group of dedicated volunteers in Providence came together to
form The Samaritans of Rhode Island, in the compassionate desire to address the unmet needs of
the hopeless, alone and suicidal in our state; and
     WHEREAS, Since that year, more than 1,573 devoted volunteers have answered the
phone for more than 550,000 callers to the agency's Crisis Hotline/Listening Line; and
     WHEREAS, In 1981, the agency recognized the growing needs of those left behind by
suicide and created Safe Place, the state's only free, continually operating bereavement support
group established exclusively for adults who have experienced death of a family member or
friend by suicide; and
     WHEREAS, In 1986, after a cluster of teen suicides impacted our state, legislation was
enacted mandating the Rhode Island Department of Education to partner with The Samaritans in
order to raise awareness of the need to offer teen suicide prevention education; and
     WHEREAS, In 2004, recognizing the role that the Internet and social media could play in
raising awareness of suicide prevention education, The Samaritans, in conjunction with
community volunteers, created the agency's first website, and from 2004 through 2016, more than
519,826 visitors from more than 100 countries, have sought information; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations hereby recognizes The Samaritans as the agency of choice for Rhode
Islanders to turn to as the gateway to care. We moreover celebrate The Samaritans on the
occasion of its 40th Anniversary and wishes it continued success in offering its programs and
services in hopes suicide should never be an option; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Meredith Hampton, President of The
Samaritans of Rhode Island.