A Samaritans volunteer from Leeds has walked the length of the Humber Bridge to highlight the importance of the charity’s work.
Bob Howe took part in the event with 34 other volunteers from five Yorkshire branches to raise awareness of the month-long Talk To Us campaign, which emphasises the need to listen to others when they may need to discuss personal issues.
The group gathered at the bridge near Hull, which is a notorious spot for suicides, and walked across it in both directions.
“We listen. That’s what we’re here to do and sometimes it can be challenging. But you don’t have to be a Samaritan to get better at listening to family, friends and colleagues,” said Bob.
“We’re a culture of people who love to give advice, love to give opinions and quite frankly love the sound of our own voices. But we’re asking people to shush and listen better. More than 60 years of Samaritans expertise has taught us that just listening can be the greatest gift you can give to somebody.
“The walk was really enjoyable, with so many branches joining up to send out our message. Passing motorists showed their support for us with the blowing of horns, which was a great motivator and showed their appreciation of the service we offer 24/7.”
There is a suicide every 90 minutes in the UK and the Samaritans nationally take a call every six seconds. The organisation wants to encourage people at risk of self-harm to contact their local branch early before they reach crisis point, and also to speak to family members and friends for support.
Tips for listeners include making eye contact, putting away mobile phones, being patient, using open questions, not interrupting and not being deterred by negative responses.