The start of my Samaritans journey

 The first in a series of monthly posts where I will share with you my journey at Samaritans, keeping you informed of the important work of our staff and volunteers and at times, challenging perceptions and asking tough questions.

I welcome all your views and questions so please do leave your comments below.

You can also find me tweeting: @SamaritansRuth.

Although I grew up in a family that was rich in art and politics, it had a fair measure of problems and difficulty too, so from an early age I developed a sense that the world in which I lived was far from perfect. It was clear to me, that change was needed.  Throughout my 35 year career spanning health and social care in both the public and voluntary sectors, I am proud to have seen and played a role in promoting positive change.  

I strive to work for what is fair and what is right. Where there is unfair policy I seek to try to bring justice, and where vulnerable groups feel unheard, I work to try to amplify  those  voices. My ethos has led me to work alongside some of the most marginalised people in our society and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to influence change and seek to positively improve lives.

Despite, or maybe because of, my long years of service, I come armed with energy, passion and enthusiasm for the vision and values of Samaritans. If anything my impatience for social justice has grown with age and experience.  Building on the strong foundations and proud history of more than 60 years’ stellar service, we have a responsibility to take the pulse of society and amplify the voices of those who wouldn't otherwise be heard. It’s an honour and a privilege to have landed my destination job.

We listen to 5.2 million calls for help a year and we’re determined to do more. We want to gain a deeper understanding of those who contact us and how we can help well before things become unmanageable. We also want to learn more about what kind of support works and for whom so we can help more people who need us.

Samaritans understands the importance of prevention; supporting people earlier on can help avert crisis further down the line. We also recognise the benefits of building emotional resilience and improving mental wellbeing and our training and work with schools and universities underpins this.

We also need to try to use our knowledge and understanding to shape the environment in which individuals live. We will do this through our suicide prevention work but also by promoting the importance of building resilience and wellbeing amongst the general population.

This is just the start of my journey with Samaritans but already I’ve met many inspiring people along the way. They’re passionate, resilient, tenacious, humble, energetic, ambitious, generous and warm. They are the people that will always be there to support others.  They are Samaritans.

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