There has been a 12.5 per cent rise in the number of contacts made by the public to the Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch of Samaritans.
The local branch of the national charity took 23,411 telephone calls from the public in 2014, up from 19,087 the previous year (see picture).
There were also 2,394 emails sent to the public who had contacted the branch, plus 3,648 SMS texts, and 165 face-to-face contacts at the branch premises in central Exeter.
Combining these contacts, with those undertaken by the ‘listener’ volunteers at Exeter prison, the figure comes to 29,618.
“These contact totals for 2014 represent a significant increase. While we hope this is an indication of the growing recognition that we are here for people, it’s also a sign of how vital it is to recruit more volunteers” explains Helen Crossfield, director of the Exeter, Mid and East Devon Samaritans.
During 2014 there were 116 listening volunteers and probationary volunteers handling these contacts - an average of over 255 contacts per volunteer.
“Our work is tremendously fulfilling. Anyone over 18 can apply to help the charity and our current volunteers range from people in their 20s to those in their 80s” says Helen.
The charity provides support to people who are distressed or in despair which may lead to thoughts of suicide. People can talk to us at any time, in their own way and in confidence, about whatever is going on in their life.
Note to Editors: For more details, contact Helen, Samaritans’ Exeter and East Devon director on 07977 050983.