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Vandals daub offensive words on Samaritans help posters in Dartford

A woman whose brother took his own life three years ago was shocked to find offensive words on two Samaritans help signs.

Georgie Charleston, 23, from Dartford, was walking near her home on one of her morning strolls when she spotted the green placards had been defaced with spray paint.

The Samaritans offer support to those in emotional distress
The Samaritans offer support to those in emotional distress

Samaritans offer support to anyone in emotional distress or at risk of suicide, and as part of its work has put up signs in places where people might head to when they are feeling low. The signs give details of how to contact the charity to speak with someone.

Georgie says someone had scrawled words on some signs in Dartford which could have triggered a fatal response in someone at their lowest ebb.

One said 'die' while another used a racial slur.

Georgie said: "The words that were on them was just awful, and just imagining someone seeing that on the thing that is meant to help them."

Georgie's brother took his own life at the age of 39 in 2019 and seeing the words made her worry what it might do to someone else.

She has spoken out in the hope that people realise that suicide is a serious subject and thoughtless acts like these are the reason why there is such a stigma attached to mental health.

The 23-year-old said: "Not everyone is taught that it's okay to open up about being sad and to not treat anyone differently for the way they feel.

"Everyone should just learn to be respectful but obviously it is hard to change some people's mindsets."

As a mental health first-aider at her workplace, Georgie knows the importance of starting open discussions around people's mental wellbeing.

She has had her own battle with her mental health and suffered from anxiety and depression. She was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of 18.

Georgie said: "I've always had positive discussions about mental health and have never been afraid to speak about it.

"I think it was the same with my brother, as well, because he was never shy about talking about things."

Georgie says how, particularly in men, there needs to be more discussion around how it is good to talk about mental health and to get rid of the stereotype that it is not "manly" to show emotion.

She said: "I know there is a lot of work going into it, but there is so much more that needs to be done."

Georgie posted about the vandalism on Facebook, and Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite (Con) saw her message.

He said of the graffiti: "It is horrendous and despicable for someone to vandalise something that can help people.

"This is the lowest of the low and I can only hope that whoever did it feels some kind of remorse."

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