Samaritans has a letters service too | Letters

‘A large proportion of those people are in prisons and sending a letter may be the only way they feel comfortable.’ Photograph: Erkki Makkonen/Getty

I read with pleasure the piece by Tom Francis about Samaritans (Opinion, 10 October). I have been a Samaritan volunteer for 20 years. There have been changes in that time but the core of what we do is the same. Samaritans have been there for me throughout many life-changing events and our support network for volunteers is remarkable, as is what we do every duty. I am a listening volunteer in my “brick” branch, but I also belong to one that does not have a geographical base: the correspondence branch. We answer letters from people who, for whatever reason, do not access our service via telephone, computer or by text. Many of those people are in prison, and sending a letter may be the only way they feel comfortable, or are able, to access us. Many people who contact Samaritans are unaware we exist, as are many Samaritan volunteers. We are there for everyone, just like a “brick” branch. Please help us get the message across to everybody who might need us, or would like to become a Samaritan volunteer.
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Contact Samaritans free from any telephone on 116 123 (no credit needed) or write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling FK8 2SA. You can call even if you don’t have credit on your mobile, and the number won’t show up on phone bills. Or email or go to to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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