Press release: Being listened to lifts the mood of the nation

A YouGov poll shows that 44.01 per cent of people across the nation value being listened to as one of the simple acts of kindness to brighten their day.

The poll, published this week by Samaritans, to coincide with National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), asked people in the UK to reveal the small act of kindness that brightened their day in the past year. Over half of people (53%) chose receiving a friendly smile, followed by getting a hug (51.94%), a compliment (51.64%), their birthday being remembered (46%), and someone saying good morning (44.41%).

Catherine Johnstone, Chief Executive of Samaritans said: “The results of the poll show how a very small gesture can have a really positive impact on someone. Samaritans volunteers spend their time listening to people, which clearly helps in making people feel happier. National Volunteers’ Week is a fantastic opportunity to thank the 20,665 volunteers at our branch for their dedication and support, they are truly inspirational.”

National Volunteers’ Week, which takes place from 1 to 7 June, is an annual celebration of the contribution of volunteers across the country. 

Chair of Samaritans, Stephen Hoddell said: “Every year our volunteers give uncountable hours of their time to helping people struggling to cope, and without them we would not be able to answer millions of calls we receive every year. Thank you to each and every Samaritan.”

Read a full national and regional breakdown of the survey results

Are you interested in volunteering for Samaritans? Why not listen to our podcast of volunteers talking about their experiences.

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For more information and interview requests please contact Claire Duncan on 020 8394 8345 / 07943 809 162 or email

Notes to Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2146 adults nationally. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29 November and 1 December 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Samaritans
Samaritans is here for anyone feeling down and depressed or struggling to cope. Our volunteers are available 24/7 to offer confidential support by phone:116 123, email:, or face-to-face. Visit for details of your local branch.


About Volunteers Week
Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. The Week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too.

To highlight this contribution, there is a burst of activity during 1-7 June when a host of organisations from the public, private and charity sectors will hold parties and award ceremonies to thank their volunteers and highlight their contribution to local groups and the wider community, while individuals are encouraged to use the Week to find out more about volunteering.

For more information visit: