Written by: Cally Worden
The Samaritans is a charitable organisation that offers 24/7 support to anyone across the UK and the Republic of Ireland who feels they are in distress or who simply needs to talk. There are 201 separate branches, and the Samaritans have been offering a non-judgemental listening ear for more than 60 years. Since 1984 the Samaritans have received contact from more than 64 million people needing help. Their impact is huge.
How to Make Contact
The Samaritans may have been around for over half a century, but they are a modern organisation that offers various modes of contact to their clients. They are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day by:
- Email – [email protected]
- Telephone – 08457 90 90 90 (call charges do apply)
- In person at a Samaritan’s branch
- In writing by post to – Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, Chris, PO Box 90 90, Stirling, FK8 2SA
Why Call the Samaritans?
Anyone of any age can contact the Samaritans. No telephone number is passed onto them, and any email address is removed from a message before it arrives in the Samaritans’ inbox. This means that anyone contacting the Samaritans can do so anonymously. For many people it is the idea of being exposed or judged in some way that prevents them from reaching out for help. In contacting the Samaritans the right to privacy of each individual is safeguarded, even if that person is a minor.
The name of the Samaritans has become synonymous with suicide – while the contacts available can offer support for those contemplating taking their own lives, it is only a very small part of the work that the charity undertakes. In effect the Samaritans offers an open-minded ear for individuals to talk about anything that is troubling them.
What Happens when I Call?
All calls are answered with a simple confirmation that you have reached the Samaritans, and something like ‘Can I help you?’. The contact may simply listen and offer you space to explore what’s on your mind, or may prompt you with a few gentle questions. These enquiries are not designed to prise information out of you, but rather to help you organise and express what you may be feeling.
There is no time limit on calls to the Samaritans. Your contact will remain on the line as long as you wish to talk. Some callers simply need a space to vent anger and frustrations, or have a good cry, and that’s okay too. Advice is rarely offered – the Samaritans are there to help guide individuals through their own feelings and thought processes, and offer support for the decisions that each person makes.
Can I Help?
The majority of the people who work for the Samaritans do so on a volunteer basis. Whether it is in one of the branches situated across the country, or in a call centre, the Samaritans rely heavily on their volunteers to provide their services to those in need. Samaritans representatives also work in diverse environments such as prisons, on the railway network, in the workplace, and in schools.
There is no social definition of someone in need. Anyone of us may need to call on their services, anytime. If you have some time to spare and would like to help, then visit www.samaritans.org to find out how.