Rising Numbers Call Samaritans In Ireland And Discuss Financial Issues

Press Release

Thursday 15 January 2015

The numbers of people contacting Samaritans in Ireland discussing financial worries rose last year compared with 2013, the charity’s annual snapshot survey has found.

The survey was compiled from contacts recorded by five Samaritans’ branches around the UK and Ireland, between 24-30 November 2014, involving a total of just over 2,000 people. In Ireland, contacts were recorded by the Dublin Samaritans branch. These calls for help were made via telephone, email, SMS and face to face meetings in Samaritans branches across the UK and Ireland.

During the week in surveyed in November 2013, 17.2 per cent of callers to Samaritans in Ireland mentioned their financial worries, compared with 20.4 per cent in the same week in 2014.

This was above the survey average which showed 13.8 per cent of people who contacted the five branches discussed financial concerns in 2014. One in seven contacts discussed financial issues last year compared with one in six in 2013. This compares with one in 10 people discussing financial issues in 2008, at the start of the recession.

More women than men contacted the Dublin branch and discussed financial issues, and more women contacted the branch overall. Calls from both sexes rose from 360 in 2013 to 550 during the week surveyed in 2014.

Two hundred and fifty men and 278 women contacted the branch during the survey week in 2014, and 18.8 per cent of the men and 23 per cent of the women discussed financial issues.

Overall the survey found loneliness was mentioned by just over a third of the people who contacted Samaritans in November 2014. Figures about loneliness or isolation were included in the survey for the first time last year.

As well as feeling lonely, the number of callers who had employment concerns rose slightly in November 2014, 5.6 per cent compared with 5 per cent in November 2013.

Joe Ferns, Samaritans’ Director of Research and Policy said: “This demonstrates the value of the Samaritans service; our volunteers are always there to listen to people who need help and someone to talk to about whatever is getting to them, whether that is loneliness, depression or financial worries.

“The volunteers are ordinary people who listen without judging so that anyone who calls can be themselves, whatever has happened to them.

Joe added: “As a charity we rely on the dedication of our 1,597 volunteers in Ireland and donations from the public to keep our helpline and other services open, so that people know they will always have someone to turn to.”

Catherine Brogan, Executive Director for Samaritans Ireland said: “The results of the survey show, that financial problems are still a big concern for our callers. Although things are starting to improve in Ireland, a lot of people are still struggling and this can add to their feelings of loneliness and isolation.  It is important that people know that Samaritans are here round the clock to provide them with a space to talk about what they are going through.”

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For more information about the work of Samaritans, please contact Rachel Wright, Samaritans Ireland 01 6710071/085 860 5554 or email r.wright@samaritans.org.  

Notes to editors:

  • The survey was taken between 24-30 November 2013 and 24-30 November 2014.
  • All branches in the survey had some contacts where the gender of the person was unknown
  • 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 jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie to find details of the nearest branch.