How many times do you say “yeah, I’m fine thanks,” when someone asks how you are? Probably more than you realise and you might never have answered the question honestly in your whole life.
But why do we do this? Why do we say we’re okay when we’re not?
For a lot of people, talking about your real feelings is awkward, uncomfortable and taboo. And when I think about it, I include myself in that group most of the time too. But I believe there comes a point in everyone’s life where they have to offload their true feelings, and if they’re lucky enough, they’ll have someone around them who supports them and listens to what they have to say. But unfortunately, some people have no one to turn to.
Who do those people turn to? That’s where the Samaritans steps in.
The Samaritans is a free, non-judgemental, 24/7, support service run by public donations and volunteers 365 days a year.
On average, 84 people die from suicide every week. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 - a statistic very relevant to our predominantly male workforce.
I started as a ‘listening volunteer’ for the Samaritans just under 2 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Listening volunteers answer telephone calls, emails, and text messages from people in need, helping to ensure the Samaritans’ can provide round-the-clock service.
There’s a preconception that everyone who contacts the Samaritans is on the edge of taking their own life, but the service is there for anyone who is going through a tough time.
I absolutely love the time I spend on shift. Every one is different and the other volunteers are so lovely and supportive. I also have to mention how in-depth and fantastic the training is, there’s nothing you won’t know by the time you finish it.
I don’t class my volunteering as ‘giving up’ my time, it’s something I want to do for others, and for myself. It’s a powerful reminder to me that everyone has problems and humans need other humans to survive, along with kindness, patience and a little bit of love. And if I can end my shift knowing I’ve been there for someone who feels like they have no one, then I’ve done my bit.
It warms my heart that British Steel has supported the service, through fundraising events, promotion in Steel Matters and various leaflets at our Occupational Health centre. Without support from businesses like ours and kind donations from the public, the charity simply couldn’t survive.
The Samaritans is always looking for new volunteers. The service is very much in demand - every 6 seconds somebody calls, emails or texts. If you’d like to get in touch, the number is 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember you don’t have to be suicidal to contact us.
To find out more about what the Samaritans does or how you can become a volunteer, then please click here.