Volunteers mark 24/7 to remind people they’re there around the clock
A new survey commissioned by Samaritans Ireland released today (July 24th 2019) shows that there is still a stigma around men seeking help when they are struggling to cope.
One in four men (25%) in Ireland who had suicidal thoughts in the last 12 months did not reach out for help due to feeling like they had no one to trust, with 37% feeling like a burden, it showed.
The survey also found that some of the main reasons why these men find life tough and struggle include job loss/employment issues (38%), relationship or family problems (38%), and debt or financial worries (37%).
The findings were released as Samaritans volunteers across the country mark ‘Talk To Us’ on 24/7 to highlight that they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The charity is urging men, who are most at risk of suicide, to seek help and reach out when they are struggling to cope by contacting Samaritans 24/7 on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 or email [email protected].
Samaritans volunteer John Downey said: “Statistics show that a man is four times more likely to take his own life than a woman. This is a frightening figure. We need to get the message out that it’s okay for men to ask for help either from family, friends, a medical professional or by contacting a support service like Samaritans.
“Our survey results found that although 76% of men say it’s okay to admit you’re not feeling okay, many still avoid speaking out when they’re finding life tough. A quarter (25%) felt their problems weren’t important enough to warrant calling a helpline, which is one of the reasons why raising awareness is so important.”
‘Talk To Us’ aims to let people know that Samaritans are here for anyone who’s going through a tough time, at any time of the day or night. Volunteers will be at several train stations and in Dublin city town centre throughout the day to remind people it’s important to talk, and listen, to others.
The survey of 500 men found almost six out of ten (57%) men who experienced a life crisis in the last year did not look for help as they preferred to try and solve the problem themselves.
Elsewhere, more than three in 10 (36%) of the men surveyed said they often feel alone, with 28% stating that loneliness and isolation had made them feel low in the past.
John continued: “At Samaritans we understand the value of talking and the power of human connection. Just two people talking can really help that person to stop, breathe and start to see a way through their problems. Samaritans gives people the space to be themselves. We won’t judge or tell you what to do, we’re here to listen.
“Not everyone who contacts us is suicidal, the majority of our callers are struggling with everyday worries and anxieties and just need someone to listen.
“Those who may struggle to pick up the phone and talk about their problems can also text or email a Samaritans volunteer who will support them through a difficult time. We don’t want men to feel like a burden or that their problems are not big enough to discuss.”
As part of Talk to Us, Samaritans hope that using the SHUSH listening tips, they will motivate the public to lend a helpful ear to friends, families and anyone else who may be struggling:
- Show you care: focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone
- Have patience: it may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up
- Use open questions: that need more than a yes/no answer, & follow up e.g. ‘Tell me more’
- Say it back: to check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution
- Have courage: don’t be put off by a negative response and don’t be afraid to leave silence
Sometimes, we want to be there for someone but don't know how to start. We recommend that if you're worried about someone, you try talking to them. It's okay if you're not an expert – just listening can help someone work through what's on their mind. We want to raise awareness that listening can save lives.
Samaritans volunteer John Downey
For more information please contact Sarah Stack, Communications & Policy Manager, Samaritans Ireland, on 01 671 0071, 085 860 5554 or email [email protected]
Notes to Editors
- An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 501 adult men aged 18+ in the Republic of Ireland. The research fieldwork took place on 30th May – 3rd June, 2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.
- Anyone can contact Samaritans for free in confidence any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or text 087 260 9090 (standard rates apply), email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.
- Suicide is a complex issue resulting from a wide range of psychological, social, economic and cultural risk factors which interact and increase an individual’s level of risk. It is attributed to any one single cause.
- In Ireland, men remain four times as likely to take their own lives than women. In 2016, there were 437 deaths by suicide, including 350 men, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
- Samaritans volunteers in Ireland have answered almost three million calls for help since the launch of 116 123 in April 2014, including half a million calls in 2018.
- To volunteer with Samaritans, visit www.samaritans.org/volunteer
- Information and support for those struggling to cope can be found below.