Samaritans mark 70 years of listening to people

Samaritans have celebrated 70 years of the charity’s work in providing a compassionate ear to those who need to talk.

The Shetland branch members marked the anniversary with a lunch at their Lerwick base when they reflected on how the organisation had grown over the years.

The first telephone call was taken in London in 1953 by Chad Varah, a vicar and writer-cartoonist, who set up the helpline for people contemplating suicide.

Shetland Samaritans director Wilma Goodlad said encouraging people to talk about their feelings and mental health  must have seemed unusual at the time.

“Today, Samaritans extends across the UK, supporting people from the Channel Isles to Shetland,” she added.

“Its work continues to hold at its core  the power and simplicity of human connection and the importance of being listened to. 

“This innovative and trusted charity continues to evolve as it combines technology and compassion to reach out with a listening ear, to anyone who needs to talk.”

Samaritan volunteers will be visiting Tesco in Lerwick on 10th September with aim of raising awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day. 

Volunteers will also be helping students to take care of their emotional health with visits to UHI Shetland and Whalsay Junior High School.

People can contact the Samaritans day or night on freephone number 116 123.


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