As data reveals family concerns are on the rise, we're calling on the public to be a Samaritans Christmas star and make sure there’s someone there to listen this Christmas.
Samaritans Scotland has launched it’s Christmas campaign as new figures from the charity’s 24-hour helpline reveals that caller concerns about family have risen for the fifth year in a row.
So far throughout 2021* family worries have made up 34% of emotional support contacts with the charity across the UK and Republic of Ireland – a 26% increase (7 percentage points) over the past five years.**
Mental health/illness is holding steady as the top overall concern at 46%, with isolation and loneliness ranking third at 28%, and relationship problems following on 24%.
Samaritans helpline expects to respond to more than 250,000 calls for help this festive season from people across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
After another difficult year, with people across the country continuing to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Samaritans Scotland is calling on the public to help ensure that it’s volunteers can continue to be there to listen this Christmas and all year round. A donation of just £5 could cover the cost of a phone call to the charity’s life-saving helpline.
Paul, age 45, from Edinburgh, knows how powerful a simple phone call can be. He called Samaritans after developing epilepsy and being made redundant from his fast-paced advertising job, which left him feeling increasingly alone in the run-up to Christmas.
Paul said: “As Christmas got closer I was feeling really low and alone; before, I’d been able to rely on my health, my job, going out with friends and suddenly that had all changed. I knew I was struggling but I thought if I told my family what was really going on, I’d just be adding to their worries."
That’s where Samaritans came in. I plucked up the courage to call Samaritans and the weight was instantly lifted off my shoulders. Having that space and time to talk helped me to feel less alone and it gave me the courage to reach out to my family too
Paul, 45, Edinburgh
"A phone call may sound like a small thing but it was turning point for me. If I hadn’t reached out I could easily have spun out of control. Instead, that phone call changed my story at Christmas.”
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “This Christmas Day volunteers at branches across Scotland will once again be giving up their time to help make sure that no one has to face the holiday season alone.
“At a time of year when loneliness can hit hard and other services may not be available, being there to listen is one of the greatest gifts any of us can give. But our volunteers are only able to do this vital work thanks to donations from people like you. A donation of just £5 could help to cover the cost of a life-saving call and help us change someone’s story this Christmas.
“And for anyone who is struggling this festive season, we’ll be here to listen on Christmas Day and every day. You can call Samaritans free, 24 hours a day on 116 123 or email [email protected]”
To help Samaritans listening volunteers be there for people when it’s darkest, this Christmas and all year round, please visit www.samaritans.org/dontforget
** Figures to November 2021
Key Samaritans facts
- Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help.
- Samaritans has 201 local branches across the UK and Ireland.
- In 2020 Samaritans volunteers spent over one million hours responding to calls for help.
- It’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 volunteers than mean Samaritans is always there offering non-judgemental support for anyone struggling to cope.
- We work in communities, prisons, schools, hospitals, at festivals, and with partners to support people.
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] or visit www.samaritans.org