Details of the increase in use of Samaritans service were revealed in the 2014-2015 Impact Report covering Samaritans’ work in Ireland, which was launched December 16th 2015. According to the report, over 653,161 calls for help were answered by Samaritans volunteers across Ireland in the last year. The number of calls to Samaritans has increased by 60% since Samaritans launched a free to caller number – 116 123- in March 2014. A partnership between Samaritans, the telecommunications industry, Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has made it possible to call Samaritans at no cost to the caller.
John Downey, Director of Limerick/Tipperary Samaritans said: “The increase in calls shows that many people in Ireland are struggling to cope and need a place to turn for support. Removing the barrier of cost has made it easier for people to access support as they no longer have to worry about call charges. It is important that people know that they can talk to us at any time of the day or night about whatever is getting to them. We are here for anyone who needs to talk. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem our callers have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have.” The issues which people contact Samaritans about have remained consistent over the last number of years. These include family and relationship problems; financial worries; depression and mental health problems; loneliness; and stress and anxiety.
Samaritans volunteers will be there round the clock for anyone who feels they need to talk, in confidence, about whatever’s getting to them – on Christmas Day, Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Day, and every other day of the year 24 hours a day. John continued,” We know that many people find the Christmas period difficult. Problems don’t go away just because it’s Christmas, so if you’re finding it hard to look forward to the festive season, we’re here for you. If it’s too difficult to open up to friends or family, or you feel you have no one who will listen, talk to us. We’ll keep whatever you say safe, we won’t judge and we’ll help you find a way through.”