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More than 5,000 calls made to King’s Lynn Samaritans in just 92 days

PUBLISHED: 09:45 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:45 09 March 2019

Helen, Mick and Gill from the King's Lynn branch of the Samaritans. Photo: Victoria Pertusa

Helen, Mick and Gill from the King's Lynn branch of the Samaritans. Photo: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

A west Norfolk town has spent 1,224 hours on the phone to the Samaritans in three months.

Volunteers at the King’s Lynn branch of the Samaritans also answered 556 emails and 623 text messages in the months between November 2018 and January 2019 and branch director Gill Sale said that number keeps rising.

“We are always looking for volunteers,” she said. “All we ask is for one duty a week that lasts four hours.”

A Samaritan’s day begins at the King’s Lynn office on Queens Street at 6am when the day worker takes over from someone on the night-shift, which is always the busiest time.

Helen Parnell-Cook has been a Samaritan for five years after coming across a Samaritan’s stand at the Sandringham Flower Show.

Mrs Parnell-Cook said: “Being a Samaritan is worthwhile, it makes you feel good to give something back.

“Not all our callers are desperate, some are lonely and just want to talk. Some calls do stay with you more than others, but I have a bit of a drive to get home so I can mentally think through it all. At the end of the shift, we do all talk to each other about the calls we have had.

“We look after each other first because if we aren’t okay we can’t help the people who really need us.”

Case study call

In one example call, a man in his fifties called the branch. He was made redundant last week but doesn’t know how to tell his family.

Each morning he leaves home and pretends to go to work. Today, instead of sitting in his car he has summoned the courage to visit Samaritans.

He is very depressed and talks about feelings of uselessness and failure.

He feels his whole life has crumbled. He weeps. Maggie asks if he feels suicidal, “yes” he says. “I can’t believe I‘m telling you this. It’s such a relief to admit how black and hopeless things are.”

The Samaritans are there 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and can be reached on 116 123, 01553 761616, jo.samaritans.org.

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