Sunday, April 27, 2008

Samaritans - Not Just For Suicide

By the way, I must recommend the Samaritans. I've called them twice since the Golfer died - most embarrassed the first time, as I am used to coping on my own. Also, I had assumed that they were there just for people thinking of killing themselves and, at least the first time I called, I wasn't near that stage, I was just desperately lonely.

But I had seen a leaflet in my local supermarket, aimed at farmers who might be feeling isolated, and it struck me then that the Samaritans weren't just for the suicidal. I kept that at the back of my mind and, when a few months later I got really desperate to talk to someone, I called.

There's a quote from a caller on their website:

"There's very few places you can go to in the world where you can pick up a telephone and another human being, no matter why they're doing it, will listen to you unconditionally. If you want to pour out in a phonecall, they will listen for hours, for as long as you need them to."

Samaritans caller

- that sums up how I feel about the Samaritans. I've used them twice, I don't know if I'll ever need to use them again, but it is comforting to know that there will be a friendly ear at the other end of the phone if I do feel lonely, isolated or suicidal in the future.


Anonymous said...

A Samaritan volunteer suggested I write direct which would be forwarded but sadly my heart wrenching lengthy letter was not passed on. It was shredded and deemed "inappropriate". That was a complete insult suggesting my life events in letter was trash and irrelevant. I attempted to go through their complaints procedure - which is not certainly recommended by the biased and snide comments I received. It made me more suicidal landing me in hospital. I truly hope they make improvements in what I've surprisingly discovered sometimes a very judgemental inconsistent service, at my expense.

Puddock said...

Hi anonymous - thanks for your comments and I'm sorry you had such a bad time.

It's interesting to hear about your experience. Although I wrote a positive post about the Samaritans, I can quite believe that you had a bad time. I have had a very mixed response on the three times I have called them. Two were okay, one was pretty bad - the guy asked me far too many questions, to the extent that it almost felt predatory.

I was surprised that they spoke so much in the calls generally. I had always thought that they would basically listen but the people I talked to asked loads of questions. The trouble with that is that value judgements start being made - I could hear it happening.

Having said that, I still think they provide a unique service and I would use them again if I felt really bad, but I would know not to expect too much from the call.

I'm so sorry that you ended up in hospital and I hope you are feeling a bit better now.