It’s not really ‘done’ to talk about your work as a Samaritan but that has the unfortunate side-effect of scaring off potential volunteers. Which is a great shame because it really is one of the most satisfying and well-supported volunteer jobs I’ve ever done. The Samaritans do great work for their callers but are chronically short of new volunteers.
It’s not as depressing as you might imagine. The phone room has a lovely atmosphere and despite the fact that you’re face-to-face (or ear-to-earpiece) with some very sad stories, being open and equanimous not wincing away from other people’s upset is a tremendously empowering experience. Though Sams is expressly non-religious I feel the Buddhist quality of ‘metta’ develops massively in that room.