Four times more men than women call Samaritans about sexual orientation

More than 1 in 10 calls for help to Samaritans (10.9 per cent) from men talked about issues surrounding their sexual orientation. This compares with only 1 in 40 similar calls from women (2.4 per cent) according to the latest snapshot survey of branches in the UK and ROI.

A Danish study (1) has found the suicide risk among gay men in civil partnerships is 8 times higher than in heterosexual couples and twice as high as the risk in men who have never married.

However, the same study showed no statistically significant increase in suicide risk among women in civil partnerships.

In 2012, 3 per cent of gay men tried to take their own life, increasing to 5 per cent for bisexual men, according to Stonewall (2) quoted in the Government Suicide Prevention Strategy for England (3).

The same figures show that 1 in 10 gay and bisexual men aged 16-19 thought about taking their own life.

The same survey found that more than 1/4 of male contacts (26 per cent) talked about loneliness and isolation. Slightly more female contacts (27.3 per cent) talked in similar terms.

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans said:
“Samaritans is there for everyone, gay or straight, at any time. We are absolutely confidential and we don’t make judgements. Whatever your problem, call us and we’ll listen to anything you need to say.”

– ENDS –

For more information about the work of Samaritans, please contact Samaritans’ press office on: 116 123 or email


Notes to editors:

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123, email, or visit to find details of the nearest branch.

The survey reflects contacts to ten Samaritans branches across the UK and ROI during one week between Monday 5th August and Sunday 11th August. Male adult contacts: 671, Female adult contacts: 992

1. Mathy RM, Cochran SD, Olsen J et al. (2009) The association between relationship markers of sexual orientation and suicide: Denmark, 1990– 2001. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology 46(2): 111–117.

2. Stonewall (2012) Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health Survey, available at:

3. Government Suicide Prevention Strategy for England (2012)