The Wokingham Paper

Samaritans launch ‘isolated talks’ to help with lockdown lonliness

A NEW initiative that will help a listening service aims to prove that it’s good to talk – and it was born here in Wokingham. has been launched to support the work of The Samaritans. The charity receives calls and emails from people who often need someone to talk to and find themselves in a desperate situation. 

And Giles Edwards, the creative director of Gasp!, a marketing agency based in Market Place, wanted to come up with a way to help the charity after learning that a Mental Health Foundation Coronavirus Study found that almost a quarter of UK adults living under lockdown in the UK have struggled with loneliness. 

The same survey said that more than a third are worried about losing their jobs and a fifth of those surveyed who are unemployed have had suicidal thoughts within the last two weeks. 

It is thought that a global mental health crisis after the pandemic has passed because of increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn. If this pans out, then it will be the biggest challenge Samaritans has ever faced. 

Mr Edwards, who hosts the Call To Action podcast, devised share ideas and insight from some of the ad industry’s biggest names and raise funds at the same time. 

It went live a month ago and so far, it has raised £3,000 for Samaritans to date and clocked up over 40,000 minutes of viewing with an average of 3,000 site visits per day. 

Giles explains: “I noticed people I know struggling mentally. I personally felt it. There’s been a lot in the media suggesting the lockdown is a ‘mental health ticking time bomb’ so I wanted to find a way to help anticipate that challenge. It costs about a fiver for Samaritans to answer one call and I thought people might donate that to see a talk from someone like Rory Sutherland.”

Collaborating with Glenn Fisher – author, copywriter and host of the All Good Copy Podcast – they dug deep into their contacts to bring together a broad range of industry experts to film exclusive talks and interviews from around the world.

They include Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy), Vikki Ross (Sky), Dave Trott, Amy Kean (&us), Rob Schwartz (TBWA/CHIAT/DAY), Nicole Yershon (The NY Collective) and Mark Pollard (Mighty Jungle).

Mr Fisher added: “There’s been a huge variety of brilliant people sharing all sorts of ideas and insight. And we hope more people will continue to donate talks. 

“Frankly, we’ve been blown away by the response already. We can’t say thank you to people enough.”

For more details, log on to


Why you should never play golf with a gorilla by Dave Trott

Why you should form an awkward squad by Rory Sutherland 

Write right by Vikki Ross

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