We are delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent has become an Ambassador for Samaritans.
For many years, The Duchess worked as a Samaritans volunteer herself, answering calls from people in need of support at a difficult or overwhelming point in their lives. From 1971 until 1999, The Duchess was Samaritans’ Royal Patron.
Her Royal Highness has maintained an interest in and fondness for Samaritans and we are grateful to The Duchess for helping us to raise awareness of our life-saving work.
The opportunity to invite The Duchess to become an Ambassador arose after a Samaritans volunteer on Teeside read about Her Royal Highness' previous work as a listening volunteer and wrote to The Duchess to express his gratitude.
The Prince of Wales, who is Samaritans' Royal Patron, has welcomed The Duchess' renewed involvement in our charity.
Samaritans CEO and volunteer Ruth Sutherland, who is this week celebrating a year since she joined our organisation, said:
"We cannot express our thanks and excitement enough that Her Royal Highness has agreed to become an Ambassador for Samaritans and to support our vision that fewer people die by suicide. The Duchess' experience as a volunteer, combined with her previous Royal Patronage of Samaritans, and her long-standing support for a range of initiatives aimed at improving the lives of those from less privileged backgrounds, will be invaluable to us.
"Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and of men and women aged 20 to 34. We also know that suicide is not equal. If you are middle-aged, male and from a poorer background, you are ten times more likely to take your own life than if you are from a wealthier background. We look forward to working with The Duchess to raise awareness of our services and to help address that inequality."
Her Royal Highness recently met with Audley Harrison MBE, the former Olympic champion boxer who has also become an Ambassador for Samaritans. He has been leading campaigns for Samaritans aimed at men in particular, encouraging them to reach out for help if they are struggling, and to see asking for help as a strength rather than a weakness.
Anyone can contact Samaritans, whatever you're going through. You can call us for free any time from any phone on 116 123, email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of our volunteers in person.
For more information and photos, please contact Samaritans Press Office on 020 8394 8300 or [email protected]
Picture captions: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent discusses support for Samaritans with fellow Samaritans Ambassador Audley Harrison
- Every six seconds someone contact Samaritans. Our 20,000 volunteers, who are based in 201 branches across the UK and Ireland, respond to more than 5.7 million calls for help a year by phone, email, text, letter and face to face.
- Samaritans also works with the NHS, emergency services, in workplaces, in prisons, with the rail industry, in the community and in schools and colleges to support those who may be at risk of suicide, or where a person has taken their own life. Its Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening (DEAL) skills resources for teachers are also available to download from its website. Find out more about Samaritans at www.samaritans.org
- Samaritans Ambassador Audley Harrison MBE has released a charity single for Samaritans called Never Ever Give UP. For more information, please see: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us/never-ever-give-up