"In the old days, I used to listen and listen, whatever someone said," says the seasoned Samaritan.
"I explain how I can help and that if he persists I won't be able to help further and, after a time, I will end the call.
"I could take somebody asking, 'Have you got big tits?
' or saying, 'I've got a big cock', because it was not at all personal and did not invade my emotional territory.
"But it does not worry me, because I know I'm helping someone for a short period on the phone during their crisis.
Plus, they don't know who I am, where I live, or my phone number." Professionalism - and altruism - usually wins out.
Last week, the THA and BT jointly launched an updated helplines directory for public and practitioners.Calls from men are on the increase, while Samaritan volunteers are still 70 per cent women.Last February, the Samaritans launched "Operation 10,000" to recruit another 10,000 volunteers, because volunteers fell by four per cent in 1996, while the volume of calls increased by five per cent.Their main aim is to continue to provide a service to those who need it most - the lonely and suicidal.While Armson stresses, "Samaritans always err on the side of caution with a caller and therefore listen long enough to establish properly what the call is about", Samaritans can now end a call if they feel it is genuinely abusive."We do not think this sensitive issue is so large that it is disturbing the normal balance of what we do," explains Simon Armson, chief executive of the Samaritans, "also we do not believe this is the main reason volunteers leave - people have their own reasons for leaving." Indeed, the Samaritans have excellent volunteer training, including information about and help with dealing with sex callers, albeit quite late on in training.