Lesley Laird MP visited volunteers at the Kirkcaldy branch of Samaritans this week to see first-hand how they support anyone in distress and work to meet the needs of the community.
Samaritans is the leading suicide prevention charity in the UK and Ireland, providing a safe space for anyone who needs to talk. The service is available anytime of the day or night, free from any phone.
Ran entirely by 44 volunteers, the local branch responded to over 17,000 phone, email and face-to-face contacts from people who needed their support from across the UK last year. They also visit local schools and groups to raise awareness of positive emotional health and talk about how Samaritans are there for anyone who is going through a difficult time.
Fife’s suicide rate is above the Scottish average, with 52 deaths by suicide in Fife last year.
Lesley said: “Dedicated volunteers at Samaritans provide an invaluable service and it was a privilege to learn more about their work on a recent visit.
“People in Fife need them – of that, there’s no doubt. When people are at a point of desperation they know that, no matter what, they can pick up a phone and talk to a friendly, non-judgemental voice at the other end.
“More work urgently needs done to tackle the root causes of loneliness in society but it’s a comfort to know the Samaritans are always on hand to listen.”
Jim Wood, Director of Kirkcaldy Samaritans, said: “It’s great to be able to update our MP on our work and local issues. Political support, from MPs to councillors of all parties, is so important to ensure that local suicide prevention work receives the attention it needs.
“Every call to Samaritans is important; each one is an individual who is reaching out at a time when they most need to. We want to continue to be there for anyone at any point in their life. Gaining new volunteers is an important part of that, so if anyone wants to know more do get in touch.”
Visit Samaritans.org/volunteer to find out more about volunteering for Samaritans.