The event took place at the Scottish Parliament earlier this week.
An Airdrie woman has spoken of her ‘life-changing’ call to Samaritans at a parliamentary reception for the suicide prevention charity at Holyrood.
Adrienne Rennie dialled the helpline after feeling suicidal in 2019.
She recalled her experience for MSPs and guests at the reception to mark the charity’s 70th anniversary at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
She said: “I’d struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings for some time, since my late teens.
“I was in my third year of university and felt a frightening kind of hopeless. I had come in from some drinks with a few friends and remember how isolated and alone I suddenly felt.
“I remember sitting on my bedroom floor and I simply didn’t know what to do. I felt at a limit I hadn’t reached before. I felt suicidal.
“But, there was something inside me that wanted me to still be here.
“At that point, to me, phoning Samaritans wasn’t an option. To voice that I wanted to die by suicide. It wasn’t something I could see as actually coming out of my mouth, let alone a conversation with another person that was built directly around it.
“What would it mean if I was someone who phoned Samaritans?”
Adrienne told guests at the Parliament she felt the pressure ‘being lifted’ after plucking up the courage to call.
She continued: “The volunteer who picked up the call guided me into a space where I could just talk. She let me ramble and try to get the words out. She understood what it was like to be someone who was so overwhelmed and confused by the worrying and scary thoughts in their head.
“She knew I didn’t need any outright practical advice or suggestions, and that I was someone who really desperately wanted to be here but felt like I was alone and powerless to do so.
“She reminded me that I wasn’t alone. She reminded me that I did have more power and strength than I had thought. She gave me a chance and made me feel deserving of that chance to not only be listened to but also to be here altogether.
“Calling Samaritans and having just that one conversation was life-changing for me.
“Samaritans volunteers save so many lives. No matter who calls in and whatever their reason is, they give them the time, space, and patience they need and want. That’s a true skill and talent to have.”
Neil Mathers, executive director of Samaritans Scotland, commended Adrienne for her bravery.
He said: “Adrienne displayed extraordinary strength and courage in sharing her experience of calling Samaritans at the Scottish Parliament.
“Her speech was incredibly moving and illustrated perfectly the impact our volunteers can have on someone’s life.
“On behalf of Samaritans Scotland, I’d like to thank Adrienne for conveying her experience so well at the reception and being a wonderful ambassador for the charity. Her speech was a fitting way to mark 70 years of listening by Samaritans volunteers.”