Ruby Wax finds out what’s at the heart of Samaritans’ service

Ruby Wax approached Samaritans’ to make a short film together as part of her series Ruby’s Room. The series is a collection of films she has produced for the BBC Headroom website to create awareness of emotional and mental health issues.

She wanted to show people in emotional distress what kind of support they could receive from Samaritans and what to expect if they were to contact the charity. So, Ruby went to spend some time talking to volunteers at Samaritans’ central London branch.

The short film features Duncan, a volunteer who has been with Samaritans for over 20 years. Duncan used to call the helpline himself when he was in his twenties. Ruby speaks to him about how he was feeling when he called Samaritans and how this helped him move forward with his life. Duncan spoke about his turning point, which was when the volunteer he spoke to asked him: “Do you actually want to die or do you just want everything to go away?” This helped him realise he wanted to live and was the first step to him learning how to cope better. He also talks about his experience as a volunteer and the sense of feeling glad he ‘is there’ for people when they need someone.

To illustrate the work of Samaritans Ruby makes a mock call to a volunteer taking on the role of an individual who has just lost her job and has been experiencing bullying at work.

She learns that at the heart of what Samaritans does is the belief that listening to someone in confidence and without judgement can offer huge emotional relief. Giving someone the time and space to talk about their feelings can help them to gain perspective and find hope and solutions.

To watch the film, visit the BBC Headroom website here.

Samaritans’ trained volunteers are available 24 hours a day to offer confidential, non-judgemental support to anyone experiencing emotional distress, you can contact Samaritans by Telephone on 116 123 or Email at or Face to face, visit  for details of your local branch.


For further information or to speak to a Samaritans spokesperson please contact Robyn Clark +44 (0)20 8394 8348 /


Notes to editors

Samaritans' vision is for a society where fewer people die by suicide because people are able to share feelings of emotional distress openly without fear of being judged.  Samaritans believes that offering people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence, and accepted without prejudice, can alleviate despair and suicidal feelings.

Samaritans is a registered charity, founded in 1953, which offers 24-hour confidential emotional support to anyone in emotional distress.

The service is offered by 16,534 trained volunteers and is entirely dependent on voluntary support.

Across the UK, you can call Samaritans on 116 123, email, or write to Samaritans at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA. Log on to for more information.

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