Shyness That Keeps Us Quiet: 1 In 3 Avoid Sharing Problems For Fear Of Being A Burden – Talk To Us

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Nearly a third of people in the UK say they don’t like to burden others with their problems, according to research for the charity Samaritans.

The figures, published today to launch Samaritans’ awareness raising #TalkToUs campaign, also reveal that more than 1 in 5 (21.4%) people sometimes feel overwhelmed by their troubles, but 1 in 9 (11.4%) feel they don’t have anyone to share them with.*

Other barriers to opening up about what’s bothering us include:

  • Feeling embarrassed (1 in 7 or 14.4%) 
  • Feeling weak (1 in 10 or 10.2%) 
  • Feeling judged (1 in 12 or 8.3%)
  • Being seen as ‘weird’ (1 in 15 or 6.4%)

For those of us who do feel able to share, the person we are most likely to go to is a partner (more than 1 in 3 of us, 34.4%), then a friend (1 in 5 of us, 20.1%).  Just under 1 in 7 of us (13.1%) will sadly just bottle it up, and nearly 1 in 10 of us (9.2%) will avoid people and spend time alone.

Over and above big life events such as a bereavement, redundancy or divorce, the survey also asked people to list the day to day things that have been bothering them the most in the last 12 months. The top five in order are:

  • Relationships (48.6%)
  • Work (in particular, workload) (46.6%)
  • Home life (36.1%)
  • Physical health (36.1%)
  • Family arguments (32.3%)

Also ranking highly were finances (26.3%), income (25.6%), mental health (23.8%) and debt (20%).

Samaritans’ Chair, experienced volunteer Jenni McCartney, says talking can really help people to see a way through their problems.

“There’s nothing weak or weird about talking about what’s getting to you. Recognising your need to talk is a strength. Everyone’s different and what one person might cope with can easily overwhelm another. Our volunteers can support you, whatever you’re going through - work stress, money troubles, family difficulties, sexuality issues, or a big life event. Samaritans volunteers are here round the clock every day of the year to listen in confidence about whatever you need to share.”

Deputy CEO of Samaritans, Fiona Malcolm, hopes its #TalkToUs campaign will reach people who may not realise its services are there for everyone.

“If you are struggling to cope, the benefits of sharing your concerns can be absolutely huge.  People who have contacted Samaritans tell us that feeling listened to, understood and cared for has helped them feel better and less alone.  Even if their problem couldn’t be resolved by the end of their exchange with us, simply the process of sharing was sometimes enough to start the process of healing, leading to taking positive action or seeking other forms of help.”    

Throughout the month of July, Samaritans volunteers up and down the country will be staging events to raise awareness of the services they provide in their local communities. Anyone can contact Samaritans, round the clock every single day of the year, about anything that’s bothering them – by phone, email, text or by talking to a volunteer face to face in one of their branches. Find out about #TalkToUs events in your local area.

Help spread the word about #TalkToUs by following Samaritans on Twitter or facebook

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For more information about Samaritans’ #TalkToUs campaign, please contact the Press Team at Samaritans on 020 8394 8300, or email press@samaritans.org.

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. It provides a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they are feeling and whatever life has done to them. You can contact Samaritans at any time from any phone for FREE on 116 123, even from a mobile without any credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of your local branch.