Feeling like a ‘fresher out of water’? You are not alone, say Samaritans


As young people from all over the UK start university for the first time, Samaritans is reminding those who feel like a ‘Fresher out of water’ that its volunteers are available any time of day or night to listen if they are struggling to cope. You can speak, in confidence, to a listening volunteer by telephone, text or email, or by visiting a local branch. Above all, Samaritans wants all Freshers to know that if they are struggling, for whatever reason, they do not have to face their problems alone.  

Nicola Gee, ex-student and now Samaritans volunteer, struggled with the way that she felt while at university and said: “I remember asking myself why I was so down at university and then punishing myself for the way I felt. I loved my course but I had withdrawn totally and compared myself negatively to my peers who seemed to be having the time of their lives.

“It was Samaritans who helped me put together a support plan which has been essential to me managing episodes of depression ever since. I wish I had called them sooner, when you are confused by the way you feel having someone to listen to you and work through your problems has a hugely positive effect.”

A survey released by Samaritans in July 2015 revealed that the majority of young people feared admitting that they were struggling with life. More than half (52.3%) of 16-24 year-olds in the UK felt there was a a stigma around admitting that you’re struggling to cope with something. Yet, two-fifths (40.9%) say they sometimes felt overwhelmed by their problems.* Young adults are the least likely to want to burden others with their problems and the most likely to feel ‘embarrassed’ or ‘weak’ if they do, the survey found. A fifth (20.5%) feared they’ll be seen as ‘weird’.

Elsewhere, the survey also revealed that many young people had strong listening skills, with 45.5% saying that people went to them with their problems. Samaritans are calling on Freshers to utilise these listening skills and watch out for friends who may be struggling with the way that they are feeling.

Samaritans CEO, Ruth Sutherland, said: “University life is often portrayed as a wild, fun journey of self-discovery.  Whilst that can be the case for some, the reality is that moving away from home, making new friends, managing a new workload and financial pressures can be a struggle for many young people.   

 “As Freshers’ Week begins, Samaritans are making an urgent plea to new students to remember that help is always at hand. Samaritans know that having a listening ear when times get tough helps people work through their problems. If you, or anybody you know, is struggling to cope, for whatever reason, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can tell us anything, it stays between us.”

You can contact Samaritans at any time from any phone for FREE on 116 123, even from a mobile without any credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of your local branch. Samaritans offers round-the-clock support for anyone who’s struggling, whoever they are, however they are feeling, and whatever life has done to them.


For more information, interviews or images, please contact Georgia Berry or Sue Royal on 020 8394 8396 or email press@samaritans.org.

Notes to editors:

  • *Findings are based on Samaritans 2015 Talk to Us Survey. Samaritans’ #TalkToUs 2015 online survey was carried out between 27 May & 2 June 2015. A nationally representative sample of 1600 adults was surveyed. A summary is available at www.samaritans.org