What happens when you chat with us online?
You’ll join the waiting room
On this page, we’ll keep you updated on your wait time. If you like, you can start writing your first message.
You type, we listen
Once the chat has started, a Samaritan will listen to you and help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles.
This is for the military community.
Our new web chat service makes it possible to chat with a Samaritan online.
Sometimes typing can be more comfortable than talking; sometimes talking on the phone just isn’t an option.
Our trained volunteers will read your messages and respond in real time, helping you work through what’s on your mind.
We won’t judge or tell you what to do - no matter your spelling, punctuation or how you express yourself. You also don't have to be suicidal to get in touch.
Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you.
The quickest way to get is in touch is still to call us for free on 116 123
We’ve created a pilot web chat service. For now, we’re running the web chat at a small scale, meaning it’s not available to everyone yet.
Once we feel ready, and confident we can provide a consistently high quality service, we’ll launch the web chat to everyone - and expand its opening hours.
More about our listening services
What do you mean by ‘pilot’?
By ‘pilot’ we mean a small scale, early version of our web chat service. After a lot of research and testing, we’ve decided the pilot version is ready, and volunteers are ready to start, but we’re still learning and improving.
Once the pilot is over, we’ll train more volunteers and make the web chat available to everyone, just like our phone listening service.
Why can’t I access this service?
Right now the web chat isn’t available to everyone. Whether you do or don’t get access to the web chat is decided totally at random. We know this might be frustrating.
We’re starting off small so that we have time to train our volunteers, and keep the quality of the web chat service as high as possible.
Our phone listening service has been running for 60 years. We want to make the web chat just as good, so we’re taking it step by step.
When we’re confident and ready, we’ll make the web chat service available to everyone - and expand its opening hours.
You can call us any time, day or night, for free on 116 123. And if you prefer to write your feelings out you can email us at [email protected]
I’ve been disconnected, what does this mean?
You may have lost your internet connection. We'll try to reconnect you for up to 2 minutes. At this point you'll be taken back to the waiting room. If you can, try to get somewhere with good internet access.
Will this be available again in future?
Yes. Right now, we’re running this small scale pilot to test the technology and learn as much as we can about what you need from the web chat service.
When we’re confident and ready, we’ll make the web chat service available to everyone, just like our phone listening service.
How quickly will you respond?
Your wait time will vary - you can see our prediction before you begin a chat (e.g. ‘35-45 minutes’). Once you join the ‘waiting room’ we will keep updating our prediction for you.
During the pilot we’re hoping to learn more about what wait times to expect and how to keep them as low as possible; thank you for bearing with us until then.
Once your conversation with a volunteer starts, they will respond in real time to your messages.
The quickest way to get in touch with us is still to call us for free on 116 123.
Is this service confidential?
Yes, except for in certain situations where our policies means we may tell someone. You can read more about when we might do this
What data do you collect and why?
To make sure we protect our web chat volunteers from threats and abuse, we do monitor some technical information about the devices that access our service. This includes things like which web browser you use (e.g. Firefox or Google Chrome) and the kind of device you contacted us from (e.g. a mobile phone, laptop or tablet).
This information means we can tell if the same device has been used to send inappropriate messages, or is being used to contact the service frequently over a short period of time.
If we become concerned about the way a device is being used, a message will appear encouraging the user of that device to call our Caller Support team to discuss how we can best support them.
I’m worried someone will see the web chat on my phone or laptop
You can turn off notifications at any time by clicking on ‘Notification settings’ at the top of the web chat screen.
A push notification from our web chat service will only ever show the text: 'Your chat is ready', ‘Please click here to begin’ and ‘samaritans.org’ alongside a small picture of two speech bubbles. It won't ever display your messages or messages from us. An audio alert will make a generic notification sound.
Alongside turning off notifications from us on your device, you can delete the pages from the Samaritans website you’ve visited from your browser history. You can also delete cookies and clear web chat permissions, which show you’ve been on our web chat website. Read instructions for how to do this.
You can also open a 'private browsing' window, which won't show up on your browser history, for future pages you visit. Read instructions on how to delete pages from your history and open a private browser.
Is contacting you free?
We will never ask you to pay us for using this service. If you pay for your internet on a usage basis, you may incur a cost.
This might happen if you 'pay-as-you-go' for mobile data, or go outside the data allowance on your contract. This would be the same for most websites.