In the last two years, I have been helped twice by the Samaritans. The first time was when I had a number of personal, family and work issues piling up. I felt as though everything was getting on top of me, and that if I wasn’t careful, I would end up feeling worse. As usual my family were a great support to me. But I just felt I wanted to reach out to another human being, unconnected with the situations, to share what I was going through.
I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org . Emailing seemed the best thing for me in that situation. I just wanted to share my issues with another human. – To know some other person was reading my thoughts. It was an insurance policy to an extent. I hoped, and my hope turned out to be fulfilled, that emailing “Jo” would help put a limit on my feelings of being somewhat overwhelmed by life at that time. Jo wrote back and was very sympathetic. Jo helped focus my thoughts. Jo read and understood what I was saying, and acted as a “shoulder to cry on”. A safety valve. Jo promised to be there if I needed to share more. Things gradually sorted themselves out. But it was good to know that I had “Jo” on the end of an email in case I needed more support – to let off steam, set out my thoughts, whatever…
More recently, I lost an important electronic item. Although I am not technical, I worked in the computer industry for 35 years so I am acutely aware of what can happen if you lose an electronic item. Perhaps too acutely aware! I just felt such a complete prat for losing the item, and the possibilities of what could happen ran through my head and scared me.
Again, I emailed Jo. Again they were very sympathetic and I realised that I was worrying too much. And indeed things settled down and there were no bad consequences.
I’m sharing this because it is hopefully a good way to encourage you, oh LDV reader, to contact the Samaritans if you need to.
You don’t have to be at the end of your tether to contact the Samaritans, although they are there for you if you are at the end of your tether. You can also contact them if you are simply feeling lonely, a bit “down” or rather overwhelmed.
They are ready to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And there are several ways to contact a volunteer at the Samaritans. You can phone free of any charges on 116 123. You can text on 07725 909090. As I mentioned above you can email them on email@example.com . You can call in person to talk face to face with a volunteer. You can write to them via old fashioned “snail mail”. There’s a Welsh language line – Llinell Gymraeg): 0808 164 0123 (7pm-11pm, 7 days a week / 7pm-11pm, 7 diwrnod yr wythnos). Callers who are deaf or who have hearing or speech impairments can contact them for support by text on 07725 909090 or email by using firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the Next Generation Text (NGT) service.
More details of contact methods are here on the Samaritans website.
There are also details here of what happens when you contact the Samaritans.
There’s also some great stuff about people who have been helped by the Samaritans here.
The service is confidential, non-religious, and non-judgmental. The volunteer who responds to you will simply listen or read and help you focus your thoughts. They will not suggest things you could do or talk about themselves.
The photo above is of the Drogheda Samaritans premises by William Murphy on Flickr/CCL.
* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is a councillor and one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.