Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lanarkshire Samaritans debate

Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell congratulated the Lanarkshire Samaritans of Hamilton on their 40th anniversary and she commended the 20 Samaritan branches in Scotland supported by over 1,000 volunteers, during her member's debate on 5 December 2012.

Ms Mitchell described the Samaritans as the "fourth emergency service" and said the stark truth was that in human terms their contribution is immeasurable. She pointed to the work being done by the charity to reduce the number of suicides and the partnership with Network Rail which aims to cut suicides by 20% in the next five years. And she said as the festive season approaches 193,000 people will contact the Samaritans.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said he welcomed the debate which highlighted the work of this "highly valuable" service.

He praised the work of the Samaritans and other organisations including the NHS for their work on suicide prevention and said this was vital especially in these difficult economic times.

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