It’s all change at the top for Scunthorpe Samaritans with the appointment of Halyna De Boer as the new director.
Halyna replaces Rachel Johnson who has completed her three-year tenure as director of the Scunthorpe charity.
Among Halyna’s aims are to raise awareness of mental health issues among men in North Lincolnshire, and to push the Samaritans’ ‘Talk to Us’ message.
Halyna has been a volunteer with Scunthorpe Samaritans for nearly six years. She has always had an interest in mental health issues. After losing people close to her as a result of suicide, she decided to join Samaritans.
Halyna, who works as a Commissioning Officer at North Lincolnshire Council, said she has ‘big boots’ to follow, but she is looking forward to the challenge.
I was shocked to receive the call that I was to be the new director,” she said. “I was also flattered that the branch had chosen me as it shows that they have faith in me. I have formed a new leadership team, and I’ve told them whatever they can bring to the table is good enough for me. I want men’s mental health to be a big focus of what we do, because that’s the biggest killer.”
She added with Scunthorpe’s steel industry under threat it was important to encourage people to talk.
A lot of our employment in the town is linked to steel, whether its in steel or the service industries, and this is a worrying time for many. We need to reach those people and let them know its okay to talk. They can talk about anything and everything, we’re here to listen. But we also need to encourage people to talk to each other.”
Outgoing director Rachel Johnson said: “I was honoured to have been selected by my fellow volunteers to serve as Scunthorpe branch director and am particularly proud of our efforts in expanding our outreach work and enhanced publicity promotion of our service. The Samaritan model of changing directors every three years brings about a renewed enthusiasm and new ideas and I would like to wish Halyna all the best for the coming three years.”
Rachel said she was particularly proud of playing a role in creating The Chad Varah Memorial Garden in the Samaritans’ founder’s hometown of Barton Upon Humber.
The Chad Varah Memorial Garden in Baysgarth Park is a beautiful tranquil space for contemplation and something we are immensely proud to have been involved with,” she said.