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Samaritans began in 1953 in London, founded by a vicar called Chad Varah.
Throughout his career Chad had offered counseling to his parishioners, and wanted to do something more specific to help people struggling to cope and possibly contemplating suicide.
The initial idea for Samaritans came from the first funeral Chad conducted early on in his career: a girl aged 14 had started her periods, but having no one to talk to believed that she had a sexually transmitted disease and took her own life.
Chad was immensely moved by this senseless loss of life, “I might have dedicated myself to suicide prevention then and there, providing a network of people you could ‘ask’ about anything, however embarrassing, but I didn’t come to that until later”.#
The rest as they say is history – you can read more here.