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How we use digital spaces to support each other online.
As the world changes and we live our lives more and more online, Samaritans listening services have adapted. This began in 1994 when we first launched our email listening service. Since then, we've continued to think about the role of digital in people’s experiences of being supported online.
Our most recent research into digital spaces and seeking support online was conducted by Dr Julie Brownlie and Dr Frances Shaw at Edinburgh University between 2015-17. This report specifically explores the role of the Samaritans email service and as well as other aspects of our attempts to engage with the online world. It also looks at the role of trust and empathy online for people in extreme circumstances.
- 68% users indicated that they had been ‘feeling suicidal’ on the last occasion that they contacted Samaritans via email.
- The most common reasons given by users – mentioned by 29% – is that they simply find it easier to write than to talk about their emotions.
- Some younger users also prefer the anonymity offered by email, and the avoidance of anxiety about being overheard on the phone.
- We also found that email offers significantly different challenges and possibilities in terms of it’s potential to contain a ‘back story’, as opposed to phone calls, which are each treated as stand alone communications.
Download the full report below.