Celebrities are all ears for Samaritans’ Big Listen

Samaritans launches The Big Listen to keep saving lives 24 hours a day

Ruby Wax, David Walliams, Michelle Heaton, Sir Paul McCartney and Hussain Manawer are among the stars supporting Samaritans’ 24-hour fundraising push, The Big Listen, which kicks off at midday on Tuesday 24th July.

The aim is to show how really listening to another person can be the first step to saving a life, and to raise as much cash as possible to help keep Samaritans’ 24-hour emotional support line going.

At midday on 24th July, the charity will release an exclusive video that goes behind the scenes to meet some of Samaritans’ 20,000 volunteers, who respond to a call for help every 6 seconds.

Famous faces from TV, music, sport and entertainment will help drive the marathon event online. Look out for celebrities wearing giant ears and popping up in unexpected places, promoting top tips on what makes a great listener.

Singer and TV presenter Michelle Heaton is the voice behind a special animation that highlights Samaritans’ 5 top listening tips - making them memorable as the S-H-U-S-H Listening Tips.

Head to samaritans.org to champion The Big Listen, or to make a donation, and you could win one of a host of prizes, revealed over the 24 hours. On offer are Premier League hospitality football tickets, your own box at a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s show Ovo, a luxury stay at The Grove 5-star hotel and spa, and signed items donated by celebrity supporters including Sir Paul McCartney, David Walliams and Joanna Lumley.

Samaritans volunteers will be out in force at railway stations across the UK, sporting giant ears and handing out copies of Samaritans’ SHUSH Listening Tips. Everyone they meet will be encouraged to take a selfie wearing giant ears and share, using #TheBigListen.

Samaritans has also created a Facebook camera filter so that you can snap a selfie or a photo of yourself with friends and take part in #TheBigListen wherever you are.

Ruby Wax OBE, broadcaster and mental health campaigner is all ears. She said: “I just love the idea of The Big Listen helping to raise funds to keep Samaritans’ services free, every single day of the year. And, at the same time, we can all be better listeners and support our loved ones, colleagues, friends and family. We need to open our ears and give people the space to talk. Really listening to someone who is finding things tough can save a life.”  

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “As many as 1 in 5 adults have thought about taking their own life at some point.* When people feel like that, they need people who can listen. Not everyone will feel ready or able to talk to family, friends or colleagues, and that’s where Samaritans comes in.  But, the more we promote what good listening is, and how you encourage others to talk, the more people will feel they can open up to someone they trust before they reach crisis point. We hope The Big Listen will help build that buzz as well as raise funds. Because listening saves lives.”

Donations throughout the 24 hours will help Samaritans keep its emotional support services free for anyone who needs them, 24/7, as well as helping to recruit, train and support its volunteers, who answer calls and run hundreds of branches of Samaritans across the UK.

There are lots of ways to get involved in The Big Listen: make a donation, help build the buzz around #TheBigListen on social media, try out some new listening skills, or put on your own fundraising event. Find out more at: www.samaritans.org/biglisten.

You can follow #TheBigListen @samaritans on Twitter, @samaritanscharity on Instagram, or via Samaritans’ facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity/.

For more information, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300 or 07943 809 162

ENDS

Notes for Editors

  • *Source: NHS Digital Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing (September 2016). A fifth of adults (21%) reported that they had thought of taking their life at some point
  • Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
  • Samaritans responds to more than 5 million calls for help a year.
  • Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope.  Your money or your time could save a life. Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us