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Research shows the impact of Samaritans services for people in emotional distress.
We carry out research to understand the impact our services have and to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our callers.
We commissioned a study to measure the impact of the telephone helpline and find out what difference it makes to callers’ lives.
- For all callers, on average, there was a significant reduction in levels of distress from the start to end of a call, and from the start of a call to one week later.*
- Most callers felt their call helped them to manage their own level of distress and suicidal thoughts or feelings.
- A week after calling Samaritans, seven out of ten callers said they were feeling better, and that their call had contributed to this.
- Most callers said calling Samaritans helped them feel listened to and understood. Calling helped them see that they had options and they felt more able to make choices. It also gave people more hope for the future and made them feel like they could cope with everyday life. Some said it made them feel calmer and less lonely.
- Almost all callers said they had the volunteer’s undivided attention and were treated with respect, dignity, care and compassion. They were confident conversations would remain confidential and felt able to talk openly to the volunteers about their feelings.
*Findings are based on the average of all callers’ self-reported level out of 10 during the call and one-week later.
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In 2010, we commissioned an independent two-year study to look at callers’ experiences of using Samaritans services and the impact on their lives. The study helped us understand how and why our service works for the people who need it and how it could be improved.
- Seven in ten people (71%) rated the service as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and said they were very satisfied.
- Eight in ten (84.6%) said they would use the service again.
- Most people felt better immediately after their contact with Samaritans.
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Facing the Future - Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care
Facing the Future is a partnership between Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care. It provides support to people who are bereaved by suicide through weekly group sessions.
The pilot service was evaluated in 2016-17 to measure its effectiveness.
- 89% of survey respondents reported feeling emotionally better since attending the sessions
- 77% of survey respondents reported that they felt differently about their bereavement at the end of the sessions
- 49/50 said they would recommend the service to someone else in their situation
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Postvention in Prisons
Samaritans work with prison services to reduce suicide and self-harm in prisons.
In 2020, Samaritans, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, evaluated a pilot of specialist post-suicide support, known as ‘postvention’ in 15 prisons in England and Wales. The evaluation provided evidence on the feasibility of postvention support in prisons, with recommendations for improvement for both Samaritans and HMPPS.
- The Postvention Training Module for Listeners significantly improved their perceived knowledge, skills and confidence to provide listening support to their peers after a suicide.
- Stigma around expressions of vulnerability continues to prevent many people in prison from accessing emotional support.
- Modest improvement in emotional coping amongst people in prison (e.g., ability to manage emotions, including negative ones, in difficult situations).