Chad Varah: The founder of the Samaritans

Chad Varah was born in England in 1911 and died in 2007. He was a priest and a social worker and is most known for founding the Samaritans, a suicide prevention hotline. He was motivated to start the Samaritans after a young girl he had counseled committed suicide. The Samaritans have helped millions of people, and Varah is considered one of the most important figures in suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please don’t hesitate to call the Samaritans. You can reach them at 116 123.

The Life of Chad Varah and the Samaritans

Chad Varah
Samaritans founder Chad Varah in 1990. Photograph: Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images

The youngest of four children, Chad Varah was born in 1911 in the small town of Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, England. His father was a vicar and his mother a teacher, so it was no surprise when Varah followed in their footsteps and became a priest himself. He studied at Oxford University before being ordained as a priest in the Church of England.

In addition to his work as a priest, Varah was also passionate about social work. In the 1950s, he helped set up the first youth center in London and worked with street kids and runaways. It was this experience that would later lead him to create the Samaritans.

The Samaritans is a charity organization that provides emotional support to those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings. Varah founded the Samaritans in 1953, after a young girl he had counseled committed suicide. “Little girl, I didn’t know you, but you have changed the rest of my life for good,” Varah said. He was motivated to start the Samaritans because he felt that there was a lack of support available for people who were feeling suicidal.

Chad Varah`s Personal Life

In 1940, in London, Chad Varah married Susan Whanslaw. They had four children. His wife served as World President of the Mothers’ Union in the 1970s. She passed away in 1993 at the age of 70. Varah died at a Basingstoke hospital four days before his 96th birthday, leaving behind four sons, one of whom had recently died several months before him.

The impact that Chad Varah and the Samaritans have had on suicide prevention

The Samaritans continue to be a vital resource for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings. They provide emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and their hotline is always available free of charge. In the UK alone, the Samaritans receive over 5 million calls each year.

“There are in this world, in every country, people who seem to be ‘ordinary’, but who, when meeting a suicidal person, turn out to be extraordinary. They can usually save lives. How? They give the sad person their total attention. They completely forget themselves. They listen and listen and listen, without interrupting. They have no message. They do not preach. They have nothing to sell. We call them ‘Samaritans’.” – Chad Varah, founder of the Samaritans.

When people experience too much pain and don’t have any other way to cope, they may resort to suicide. This quote is a powerful reminder that suicide is not a choice and that those who are feeling suicidal need support and resources to help them cope with their pain. Thanks to Chad Varah and the Samaritans, millions of people have been given the support they need to cope with their suicidal thoughts or feelings.


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Varah’s other achievements

In addition to founding the Samaritans, Varah was also a prolific writer. He wrote books on religion and social work, such as Before I Die Again: The Autobiography of the Founder of Samaritans. (London: Constable, 1992) and The Samaritans in the ’80s. (London: Constable, 1980). Also, he was a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines.

Varah was also honored with several awards for his work with the Samaritans. In 2000, he was awarded a CBE for his contributions to suicide prevention.

Chad Varah and the Samaritans have had a huge impact on suicide prevention, and they continue to be a vital resource in the fight against suicide. Their work teaches us that suicide is not a shameful or taboo topic and that it is important to talk about suicide openly and honestly. They also teach us that there is support available for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings and that there is hope for people who are feeling suicidal. Thanks to Chad Varah and the Samaritans, millions of people have been given the support they need to live a life free from suicide.

The life of Chad Varah, the founded the Samaritans

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