Tomorrow I’m going to undertake a 10k run for the Samaritans this week. In total, I’m running 26.2 miles across the month, but have broken it into 10, 10 and 6.2 to give myself an extra challenge. I’ve already talked about my conversation with the Samaritans on my giving page, so here I want to talk more about the Samaritans themselves.

my samarathon 2019

Two Images. Left - Samarathon Promotional flyer. Right - image of Jake Symons in a wood.

Because they are an amazing charity

The Samaritans rely on volunteers. These are human beings just like you or me. They’re people with a genuine desire to care and to help. These are people that turn up for their shift (without being paid) and sit down on the phone or answer some messages. It sounds like a simple job. But they have one crucial task. To listen.

And what I love about the Samaritans the most is that they are not there to judge, just to listen. 

So why does that matter so much

Because it’s what they’re listening to. People often call the Samaritans in their lowest moments, often about suicide, and the listener has to hear this information and respond. This is such an incredibly hard job. They are on the fringe of humanity.

I’ve been researching the life-saving work of the Samaritans for this post. And I wanted to share some of the amazing things they do.

An army of volunteers

These people donate their time in order to save lives. They’re not just talking to those with mental health problems – anyone can feel suicidal. It’s also not just about suicide – the Samaritans deal with a wide range of issues. People call the Samaritans because they need a non-judgemental anonymous voice at the end of the phone.

They receive such phone calls every 6 seconds.

What I love about the Samaritans is that they don’t judge. All details are kept confidential. There are only a few situations where they tell someone else what’s going on and that made me feel safe talking to them. 

It’s not just on the phone

There are so many ways you can get in contact with the Samaritans, through text, email and in person. You can even send them a letter.

They’re also at festivals if you went to Glasto this year, you may have noticed them there as well. If you’re active on social, you may have seemed them around as well.

So why is this all important

The Samaritans are always going to be there for those who contact them. But some people don’t know about the Samaritans or wouldn’t think to call them in a crisis. The Samaritans aim to make mental health and suicide a priority, so we don’t wait until those final hours to say how we feel. They’re trying to stay in the front of people’s minds, so they’re always there.

To help even more people, it’s important they have funding. The charity makes no money off helping people. Running a national organisation that saves lives has running costs. It’s a mammoth operation that still needs to be funded.

That’s where people like me come in

Fundraisers for the Samaritans try and do all sorts of things to raise money. This is my first fundraiser, and I’ll be taking on the Samarathon – attempting to run 26.2 miles across the course of July.

As my first fundraiser, I feel the need to “prove myself” somewhat. So I’m going to be running this in two 10 mile jogs and a 6.2 mile to finish off. I’m also lucky to live in the North Downs, which means there are hills everywhere.

So I’m going to be having some fun with it and getting on my trainers. I’ll be sharing everything I do on my giving page. I’ll be doing a blog post here when it’s all over, but everything I do will be on my socials below or on the giving page, so please go over there and have a look even if you’re unable to donate.

On the giving page, you can also read my emotive journey on how I ended up speaking to a Samaritan. It’s triggering, brutal and honest, but it’s meant to be that way. That’s because people from the Samaritans get those stories throughout their shift.

They do it because they care. They do it because they save lives. And at the end of their working day, they go back to their own families and their own lives. What happens on that phone call is confidential.

And all the above is why the Samaritans are such an amazing charity. And that’s why it’s an honour to fundraise for them this month.

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Samarathon Promotional Graphic featuring the text "Take on Samarathon. The marathon that's run around your life."

By Jake Symons

Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others. Alongside writing on this blog he hosts Mental Monday: Mental Health Live a biweekly intimate and unscripted conversation about mental health.

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