Celebrating 60 years of listening in Scotland

On June 1st, 1959, a volunteer at our Edinburgh branch answered the first call to Samaritans in Scotland. Sixty years later, we’re still here to listen when people need us most.

In its first year, our Edinburgh branch received 550 calls. Last year the same branch was contacted more than 45,000 times.

We now have 19 branches spread across Scotland, stretching from Selkirk to the Shetland Islands, supported by around 1,000 volunteers.

Our volunteers spent more than 60,000 hours providing emotional support to people in crisis and distress. That’s the equivalent of 2,500 days of listening!

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I am certain that it is this very normality, the art of being ordinary, which lies at the heart of the success of Samaritans.

David Arthur, founding member of Samaritans Scotland

Read our history

What our volunteers say...

Eddie's story

"I know, both from the perspective of someone who was himself listened to and as someone who is now a Samaritan, how powerful the act of listening can be."

Siobhan's story

"The people I’ve met through volunteering together are also genuinely some of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, and the support we give each other makes all the difference."

Joan's story

"There’s a lot of humanity on the calls we take - people imagine it’s all doom and gloom and of course there is a lot of sadness. But you also find yourself chatting, even laughing, with callers as they get more comfortable and open up to you."

Keith's story

"No matter how long you’ve volunteered for, there’s always something new to learn. And it’s a true privilege to know that you were there for someone when they needed it most."

Volunteer stories

Read what volunteers across Scotland have to say about what it's really like to be a Samaritan...

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