Samaritans’ volunteers in Ireland listened for almost 73,000 hours since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as thousands of people contacted the helpline for emotional support.
This was one of the toughest times in Samaritans’ 60 years in Ireland, but the resilience of our volunteers shone through. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for being there 24/7,
Niall Mulligan, Executive Director, Samaritans Ireland
As this weekend marks one year since restrictions began in Ireland (13 March 2020), Samaritans’ Regional Director Rory Fitzgerald paid tribute to the 1,500 plus volunteers who ensured the helpline remained open for those who needed it most during challenging times – and urged people in need to keep calling.
“There is no doubt COVID-19 has impacted on everyone’s life in some way and will have had a profound impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing,” said Rory, the charity’s lead volunteer in the Republic of Ireland.
“However, the dedication of our volunteers has meant our helpline remained opened 24 hours a day, seven days a week, despite many senior volunteers having to cocoon at home. Several volunteers took on extra shifts to ensure there was never a time when our helpline had to close.
“Our key message to anyone who is struggling to cope is not to bottle it up. We urge anyone who needs to talk to reach out to a relative or friend or call Samaritans anonymously on freephone 116 123 or email [email protected]”
Coronavirus meant Samaritans had to suspend its face to face and outreach services in March 2020, but volunteers continued to support callers through its freephone helpline and email. Others sought help via the Samaritans website and its new self-help app which helps people manage their emotional wellbeing.
Loneliness and isolation remained among the top reasons why people reached out for support, as well as mental health issues including stress and anxiety, family, relationship, financial or employment issues, bereavement, chronic pain, and illness.
Niall Mulligan, Executive Director with Samaritans Ireland, said the pressures of the pandemic will undoubtedly have impacted almost everyone.
“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on people’s mental health and now more than ever, a year on from when restrictions were put in place, mental health and wellbeing should be at the forefront of government policies. Adequate supports and resources must continue to be made available for the most vulnerable people across Ireland,” he added.
“This was also one of the toughest times in Samaritans' 60 years in Ireland, but the resilience of our volunteers shone through. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for being there 24/7.”
- For more information or to request an interview with a Samaritans volunteer contact Sarah Stack, Communications & Policy Manager, Samaritans Ireland, on [email protected] or 085 860 5554.
- Samaritans’ volunteers in RoI supported callers for 72,827 hours by phone and email between13 March 13 2020 and 1 March 2021.
- Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected]
- To make a donation to Samaritans Ireland visit iDonate