As a proud ambassador for the Samaritans, our Mental Health Digital Issue guest editor Scarlett Moffatt wanted to shine a light on the incredible work the charity does. And who better to explain this than one volunteer Lisa, who Scarlett knows personally, who started supporting the charity after making use of its services herself.
Lisa, 44, from Northumberland, turned to the Samaritans when she was at her lowest and it changed her life "in the most unbelievable way".
Scarlett Moffatt guest edits our Mental Health Digital Issue
Read her remarkable story here…
I spoke fluently until I was eight, when I suffered a head injury which left a stammer that changed my life. I was very isolated and suffered a lot of bullying, even one of my teachers mocked me. It changed friendship dynamics. I still got top grades but I thought, 'How would I manage university?' so I left after GCSEs.
I chose typist jobs, thinking I wouldn't need to speak. Travelling on the bus was an ordeal in itself because I couldn't say where I wanted to go. I often had to write it down or get off early at a stop I could say and walk.
When my daughter Rachel was nine, my marriage broke down and without my husband, I lost a vital source of support. I struggled thinking about, 'How could I bring her up on my own?' That was probably the lowest point for me.
The pressure was overwhelming so I contacted Samaritans, via email, as I couldn't call. It helped massively, and I love that there are different options to contact us.
In 2015, I discovered the McGuire program – a speech therapy program founded by and for people who stammer. It was terrifying but it changed my life in the most unbelievable way.
I signed up as a Samaritans listening volunteer and it's just the most amazing feeling to be able to help people.
Last year, I was lucky enough to meet Scarlett when she was announced as a Samaritans Ambassador. Comparing notes about reaching out for support was really emotional yet uplifting. As we're both from the North East we got on like a house on fire! She's so friendly and down to earth, we've kept in touch ever since.
If anyone is currently struggling, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to contact Samaritans.
Anyone can contact Samaritans, free, 24/7, on 116 123, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit samaritans.org