SAMARITANS of Dunfermline have responded to almost 10,000 contacts via phone and email over the last year, helping those in distress.

The mental health charity has seen an average of 50-60 volunteers in the town give up their time to ensure 24/7 coverage of their helpline.

And, incredibly, the Dunfermline branch has still been able to remain open even in the early days of the pandemic despite around 50 per cent of volunteers self-isolating.

Ged Lafferty, press and publicity officer at Samaritans of Dunfermline, said: "Coronavirus is impacting all of our lives, with many people feeling anxious and stressed.

"There’s no doubt that these uncertain and challenging times can affect our mental health and wellbeing.

"Samaritans is a critical service, needed now more than ever.

"Although we are physically isolated from one another, it is more crucial than ever to remain socially-connected.

"Samaritans is busy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and this hasn’t changed during the pandemic.

"The incredible efforts and dedication of Samaritans volunteers in Dunfermline, as well as all the other branches throughout the UK and Ireland, have meant that we have maintained our 24/7 service since the start of lockdown, with volunteers clocking up almost one million hours listening to those who are struggling to cope during the pandemic."

Almost one in five of calls for help coming to Samaritans from across the UK have been about coronavirus with people feeling concerned about mental health and illness, family relationships, finance and unemployment, loneliness and isolation.

Ged added: "The ways in which callers talk about coronavirus have evolved since restrictions were imposed.

"Concerns have mostly been about the knock-on effects of the social-distancing restrictions, including financial and mental health worries.

"However, as coronavirus infection rates rose, we also heard from many callers concerned about the risks and the effects of being exposed to the virus.

"Our research shows that the pandemic and the ongoing restrictions have particularly impacted three groups of people: middle-aged men, young people, and people with pre-existing mental health conditions.

"Our dedicated volunteers are going above and beyond to be available for those in need during these unprecedented times and continue to operate our phone service from our branches.

"Volunteer safety remains a priority and we are constantly reviewing the situation to make sure that we keep everyone safe.

"As we continue to face the challenges of the pandemic, it is essential that we look after our own mental health and others by continuing to check in on anyone who may be struggling and encourage them to reach out for support, whether it’s from a friend, family member or a helpline like Samaritans."

Samaritans volunteers are always here to listen and won’t judge or tell you what to do.

Call free, day or night, on 116 123, email or visit

Also those contemplating volunteering with Samaritans Dunfermline can find out more by visiting