Samaritans, which created the world’s first suicide hotline in 1952, has provided emotional support services to tens of millions of people through its 400 crisis response centers in 42 countries.

Drawing on its 70 years of experience, Samaritans Master Class Series offers healthcare providers an opportunity to explore in-depth many of the core issues at the heart of helping people through the provision of emotional support and suicide prevention services, including how our own attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and perceptions directly impact the quality of our responses to those we treat and care for.

The Master Classes are inter-active workshops (on Zoom) that are only open to attendees who wish to be active participants in the discussions and exercises.  In order to accomplish that goal—unlike other Zoom events—Individuals will be required to maintain their presence on camera and microphone throughout the class.  Those who do not, will be removed. There will be no exceptions!



On Becoming a Better Person–The Basics of Befriending

Thursday, April 8, 1-2 pm

Samaritans approach to helping people (a mix of academic, clinical and spiritual schools of thought) is at the heart of the services provided by hundreds of hotlines and crisis centers around the world (from Australia and Brazil to France, Great Britain, Serbia, Thailand and Zimbabwe).  Grounded in non-judgmental, empathetic communication, Samaritans befriending techniques prepare a caregiver to respond to anyone, with any kind of problem.


What Are We Really Trying to Do? (The Nature of Helping)  

Thursday, April 15, 1-2 pm

How do we really “help” someone?  What is our goal in helping?  And how realistic is it?  What are “helping behaviors”?  How can helping become more about what we want (need) than the person we are responding to?  How our personal beliefs and values can become obstacles to helping.  The power dynamic of helping.  How all of these elements can negatively impact the quality of our responses and ability to develop rapport and understanding.


It’s Not About Me–Examining Our Personal Agenda  

Thursday, April 22, 1-2 pm

We say we want to help, but why?  What are we hoping to get out of it?  How do our unrealized or unacknowledged personal needs interfere in the quality of our responses?  Listening to the voices in our head. The role of our personal goals and values in helping someone?  The danger of seeing ourselves as “open-minded” and “non-judgmental.”  How our agenda impacts the quality of our communication.  How we do that which we know better than.


What the Old Masters Tell Us–The Zen of Crisis Intervention  

Thursday, April 29, 1-2 pm

Though non-religious, Samaritans practice, called “befriending,” is steeped in basic philosophical precepts and the tenets of spiritual practice that stress openness, acceptance, self-awareness and the need to recognize one’s own contradictions and imperfections. Even the most basic tenets of Zen Buddhism can inform us in maximizing our ability to be focused, selfless, empathetic and non-judgmental, behaviors that inform good practice.



Master Class Lead Trainer, Alan Ross, has been Samaritans Executive Director for 30 years, following a career as a writer, corporate consultant and faculty member at Ohio State University, Hofstra, Fordham and NYU. Ross developed Samaritans hotline and public education training programs, training over 3,000 hotline staff and 40,000 health providers from: NYC DOE, DOHMH, FBI, AIDS Task Forces, Safe Horizon, Hamilton Madison House, Loisada Corporation, and others. He’s consulted with: NYPD (following police suicides), NYC DOE (student suicides), EMS (9/11 and its aftermath), DFTA (elderly suicides), GMHC (LGBTQ suicides), US Coast Guard (TWA Flight 800 disaster). He has been featured in The New York Times, Daily News, Oprah, New York Magazine, and on Good Morning America, PBS, CNN and MTV. He co-authored articles in Brief Treatment & Crisis Intervention and British Journal of Social Work. Corporate clients include Citibank, PepsiCo, General Foods, Monsanto and Union Carbide.

Master Class Lead Trainer,

Alan Ross



Samaritans Public Education Program is provided with funding from NYC Council Members: Adrienne E. Adams, Barry Grodenchik, Robert Holden, Peter Koo, Paul Vallone, Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Chaim M. Deutsch, Vanessa L. Gibson, Mark Gjonaj, Stephen T. Levin, Farah N. Louis, Bill Perkins, Keith Powers, and Carlina Rivera.