Someone to talk to
One of the benefits of not being stuck in Edinburgh during the parliamentary recess is that it gives me greater opportunity to attend local events.
This week, I joined with the local Samaritans, to welcome David Exley on his arrival in the Greenock stage of his 6,000 mile tour of Samaritan branches throughout the UK and Ireland.
The Samaritans opened their Greenock branch in 1992. It is one of Scotland’s 20 branches and is around 30 volunteers strong providing one-to-one contact for the thousands of texts, emails and calls that it receives every year.
David, who tragically lost both his brother and son to suicide, knows how important it is to have someone to talk to in a time of need, and is raising awareness of the work that Samaritans do the length and breadth of the country through their twenty-four-seven-operation that provides emotional support in a range of situations.
From those that have experienced abuse or are suffering from a family bereavement, to people who have financial worries and have suicidal feelings.
David Exley also wants to promote the work of the Samaritans to encourage members of the public to volunteer.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Samaritans and without them may people who are depressed, worried, frightened and / or suicidal would not get the help they need.
And with 781 suicides in Scotland last year - 18 of these were tragically men and women who came from Inverclyde - make it all the more important for people to sign up as well as donate.
While the Olympic torch was being paraded around the UK, David was shining a beacon of his own to remind those who feel down and alone that there is someone there who the can talk to.
If you think no one cares, then remember that the Samaritans are only text or a call away.
Never judging. Always confidential. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.