The value of talking
Talk to us is Samaritans’ National Awareness Day, on Wednesday 24 July.
This is a chance to for everyone to understand more about the value of talking and find out about how Samaritans can help.
Samaritans does a great deal, both in terms of answering calls, emails and texts as well as outreach work in schools, hospitals, music festivals, prisons and many other places.
However, if it had to be summed up in one word, what Samaritans does is listen, while other people talk – and this talking is hugely important, and in some cases it can, quite literally, be a lifesaver.
We know that men from lower socio economic groups, in 30s, 40s and 50s, are most at risk of suicide. One man who needed to talk was 43-year-old Kevin Shepherd, pictured above.
Kevin had lost his job, his home and his relationship. He felt he had nothing to live for and resolved to take his own life.
Kevin had called Samaritans previously, but could not find the words to actually say anything.
As Kevin recalls - “I needed to speak to someone, but it was really tough because I didn’t know what to say. I was in total despair.”
When he was on the point of taking his own life, he decided to try again and this time managed to find just a few words. These were enough.
The Samaritans volunteer invited Kevin to come into the branch, which was just around the corner.
There was a cup of tea and a box of tissues waiting for him, and once he was able to start talking, he “poured his heart out”.
Since then, more than two years have passed, and Kevin has managed to rebuild his life.
It has not always been easy, but his recovery began the moment he found the strength to talk to us about the way he was feeling.
Often those needing to talk, may prefer to share their problems with family or friends, but sometimes it can be hard to talk to those closest to them.
People do not want to burden those closest to them as they can feel ashamed or embarrassed.
It is often easier to talk to a stranger. This is where Samaritans comes in.
Our volunteers are ordinary people, and they provide a safe place to talk. Calls are completely confidential and those who contact us can be themselves – Samaritans do not judge.
Many of those who call us are not suicidal, we want people to contact us if they are struggling to cope.
People talk to us about many issues:
- job stress
- money troubles
- family struggles
- relationship issues
- trying to measure up
- or feeling suicidal.
To us, it does not matter what they have done, or however big or small their problems may seem compared to those of other people.
What matters to us is how the lives of the people who call us are making them feel.
Talking can help people to feel calmer and get through the moment.
Through human contact with someone who really listens, people can begin to feel hope.
Talking can help people to see their situation in a different light and find their way forward.
Samaritans is a charity and can only continue to help people through your kind donations.
We're supporting 'Talk to us'!
Georgia Salpa, model and reality TV star
"I want people to know they can get in touch with Samaritans whenever they want and they will provide a safe space for people to talk and be themselves."
Ashley McKenzie, Team GB Judo Olympian
Maria Fowler, reality TV star ('The Only Way is Essex')
Darren Cousins, English cricketer