Samaritans in Leeds are highlighting how giving your time as a volunteer can make a huge difference to the lives of others.
They are raising awareness as part of Volunteers’ Week from June 1-7. There are more than 20,000 Samaritans volunteers who offer support to anyone who may be feeling overwhelmed, whether it be over the phone, by email, text, letter or face-to-face.
Last year Samaritans in Leeds celebrated 50 years of helping people in the city. Samaritans can be found in schools, workplaces, communities, charity shops and prisons. Volunteer Alwyne Greenbank, who is the Director of Leeds Samaritans, has been a volunteer for more than 23 years.
She said: “Samaritans volunteers can make the difference between someone getting through tough times, or not.
“But we’re just one part of the equation. Suicide is an inequality issue.
“For example, if you are male, middle-aged and from the poorest background you are ten more times at risk of suicide than if you’re from the richest.
“We want to see everyone from politicians and policy makers to employers and educators working together to reduce inequality and ensure that resources are targeted at those who are most at risk.”
Samaritans Chair Jenni McCartney said: “I would say that in many of the calls I take, deprivation is a factor. It could be anything from debt to housing issues, job insecurity to relationship breakdown or bereavement. There is often some level of disadvantage, which can aggravate those challenges and make people more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.”
To call the Samaritans, ring the free number on 116 123. For more information go to www.samaritans.org