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Meet a local hero: Darcy Lee

Today’s local hero leads a team that literally saves lives.

Volunteers at Samaritans of Fall River and New Bedford listen with compassion and empathy to people feeling isolated, anxious, isolated, depressed, or suicidal. Their caring response makes a difference in people’s lives.

When you call their hotline, they pick up every time.

Darcy Lee is the executive director for the organization which staffs a local crisis hotline (508-673-3777) that is anonymous and free of charge and available from 8 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week depending on the availability of volunteers. The organization also staffs the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If she had her way, Lee would make getting help for anxiety and depression as simple as making a dental appointment when you have a toothache. No stigma, no second-guessing, just a need for help, a phone call, and then relief for the pain.

“When asked why I work to end the stigma around mental health,” she said, “I like to say if we talked about our mental health as much as we talk about our dental health, there would be no stigma.”

Name: Darcy Lee

Lives in: Southeastern Massachusetts

What she does: Executive Director of Samaritans of FR/NB

Her Superpower is: Lead an organization of volunteers who are lifesavers

How does your work contribute to better mental health in the Southcoast?

Samaritans of FR/NB is our region's emotional support and suicide prevention hotline. Anyone of any age can call us. Our volunteers listen without judgment, are confidential, compassionate, and caring.

What inspired you to work to end mental stigma?

Imagine you had a toothache. You wouldn't hesitate to make an appointment with a dentist, and they would most likely get you right into their office for treatment. If you didn't immediately seek treatment, others around you would encourage you to do so.

Imagine you are depressed. You might not know where to turn, and if you do seek help, you might have to wait weeks to get an appointment with a counselor. People around you might tell you to snap out of it, turn your frown upside down, be happy about what you have, and so on.

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