In a year like no other, we urgently need your support to be there for everyone who needs us.
There has never been a year like 2020. Months in lockdown. Families and friends kept apart. Millions isolated in their homes.
For many of us, the past few months have been the first time we’ve experienced real isolation. People from all walks of life have turned to Samaritans, frightened and struggling to cope – and that’s why we urgently need your support today.
Our service has been under huge strain recently, with our ability to keep answering calls stretched to the limit. In the early weeks of the pandemic, we anticipated almost a third of our amazing listening volunteers would either be in the high-risk groups asked to self-isolate or caring for others*.
Our remaining volunteers pulled out all the stops to make sure we didn’t have to close, with many taking on one or two extra listening shifts a week. It really has been an incredible effort, and we’re so grateful to all of our volunteers.
But we need a long-term solution that ensures we can be here for anyone who needs us, whatever happens in the coming weeks and months. With your gift today, we could urgently recruit more volunteers and help existing volunteers use new ways to support those struggling to cope.
As well as being the CEO of Samaritans, I’m also a listening volunteer myself. There’s no doubt that as soon as this crisis began, the calls I answered began to change. For lots of people, coronavirus has magnified pain and distress they were already experiencing.
Ruth Sutherland, Samaritans CEO
"We’ve also heard from a lot of people in terrible situations that have been created, one way or another, by the coronavirus."
"People with terminal illnesses, desperate to make the most of every minute but instead spending the final months of their lives scared and alone at home. Parents who were unable to be there for their children after the heartbreak of devastating events like miscarriages and family bereavements. People in abusive relationships who are trapped and terrified in their homes, living in constant fear of their partners. What would already have been horrible, traumatic situations are being made so much worse by the times we’re living in. And at times like these, people turn to Samaritans."
Many callers have told us they were terrified that our listening service would close. But we’re doing everything we possibly can to stop that happening.
By making a gift today, you could help us work in new ways to keep answering calls and emails, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your support can help us stay open when we’re needed most.
As well as working in new ways, we also need to urgently recruit more listening volunteers. Your gift could help us roll out our new online recruitment and interviewing tools, so we can find more volunteers to be there for anyone who needs to talk through their pain.
It’s vital that we move fast. Sadly we are expecting calls to increase in the coming months, as people face new struggles and new anxieties.
We’re already hearing from people who have lost their jobs, and more unemployment is very likely to follow. In the past, suicide has increased at times of economic downturn, and people who feel lonely can also be more likely to feel suicidal**. But we know suicide is preventable. We need to be ready to help anyone who is thinking about taking their own life, so they can hopefully find a way through this crisis and see reasons to go on living.
Our volunteers are trained in listening to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or struggling to cope, without judging or offering advice. By donating today, you could help us start training listening volunteers online, so they are ready sooner to support anyone who feels they can’t go on.
Your donation will be an arm around the shoulder of someone who feels alone or unable to cope right now. We know for many people this has been a challenging year financially, but any gift you feel able to give will make such a difference to people struggling at this time and provide them with hope.
* Survey “Response to coronavirus (COVID-19)” conducted 16th to 19th March 2020, 154 responses from 201 surveyed.
**Stravynski and Boyer, 2001. Loneliness in relation to suicide ideation and parasuicide: a population-wide study.