Covid Scotland: Samaritan volunteers return to Edinburgh Waverley Station after 15-month lockdown

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The Capital’s best-known mental health charity will return to the community this weekend, for the first time since lockdown restrictions began in March 2020.

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Samaritans of Edinburgh and the Lothians will be speaking to locals at Waverley Station on Saturday, July 24, to remind everyone that whatever they’re facing, they are always there to listen.

During the pandemic, Samaritans’ helpline has been an important source of human connection for some callers in the absence of their usual social contact. Volunteers have clocked up more than one million hours listening to those struggling to cope during the pandemic.

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Samaritan volunteers of Edinburgh and the Lothians say they are: "always there to listen".Samaritan volunteers of Edinburgh and the Lothians say they are: "always there to listen".
Samaritan volunteers of Edinburgh and the Lothians say they are: "always there to listen".

While restriction lifting is a cause for celebration for many, the charity warns that for others the continued change will be hard and some may find returning to everyday life challenging.

To help cope with the reopening, Samaritans of Edinburgh and the Lothians is restarting its support work going out into the local community.

Director of the charity’s Edinburgh and Lothian branch Bruce Anderson said we cannot expect the mental health issues people have been struggling with during lockdown to disappear as restrictions ease.

He said: “The challenges that many people have faced because of the pandemic continue and won’t necessarily ease with restrictions lifting..

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“At Samaritans of Edinburgh and the Lothians, we have been providing our listening service throughout the pandemic but now we’re thrilled to be out in the community again supporting people.

“We know how powerful listening can be. Listening helps us build relationships and be there for others - and it can save lives. It’s so important to reach out for a chat, in person or virtually, with someone you care about. It’s just about taking time to listen, really listen, to another person which, in turn, can help them work through what’s on their mind.”

Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry for over 10 years, providing support and vital suicide prevention training to identify and approach vulnerable people and save lives.

To date, more than 22,000 rail and British Transport Police staff have been trained.

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If you are struggling and need to speak to a volunteer please call the Samaritans Helpline on: 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258.

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