According to statistics published by the charity, Scotland Samaritans were contacted more than 249,000 times (or every two minutes) in 2018
The Impact Report 2017 - 2018 revealed that the 750 volunteers across Scotland had provided over 60,000 hours of emotional support by either phone, email or text.
In 2018, the Scotland volunteers
- answered and made more than 194,000 phone calls
- replied to more than 16,000 emails
- more than 37,000 texts
- and had more than 800 face to face conversations
James Jopling, Executive Director for Samaritans Scotland said: “In Scotland our volunteers were contacted more than 249,000 times in the last year and spent the equivalent of 2,500 days responding to people in distress. These numbers show our service is just as relevant and necessary today as it was when Samaritans first began.
“Our volunteers are ordinary people who give up their time to do something extraordinary. Their contribution means Samaritans can be there for people when they need us most, giving callers a space where they can talk openly and honestly about whatever it is they’re struggling with.”
Although, the analysis suggests that of the 249,000 callers, nearly a third had expressed suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Samaritans has 19 branches across Scotland and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As well as the support provided through calls, emails and texts, Samaritans Scotland hosted over 600 outreach events in 2018, working to raise awareness of the service and supporting schools, community organisations, prisons and others.
According to the charity, each year the Scotland service recruits 200 new volunteers in order to keep the service running. But even with the remarkable volunteers, the nation’s problems aren’t going away. The service remains relevant and a very needed part of society.
Jopling continues, “we need more volunteers to keep up with this demand and ensure we can continue being there, whenever and wherever we’re needed in the years ahead.”
Commenting on the admirable work Samaritans does, Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “It’s remarkable that volunteers across Scotland have given up more than 60,000 hours of their time to be there for people who are struggling and may not have anyone else they feel they can turn to.
“Services like Samaritans play a vital role in promoting emotional wellbeing and reducing suicide by providing a listening ear, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Prevention is a priority
In 2017, 680 people completed suicide in Scotland. Of these, 77% were men.
Despite the suicide rate in Scotland falling in recent years, this rate continues to be higher than other parts of the UK. For Scotland, prevention is a priority.
The report states: “Our vision is for a Scotland where fewer people die by suicide and where everyone can ask for and access support when they need it.
“To do this we undertake research to better understand the complex factors behind suicide. We work with decision-makers at a national and local level to ensure they’re doing everything possible to prevent suicide.”
If you need support you can contact the Samaritans for free on 116 123.
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