Samaritans received a record number of calls to its helpline in 2016, with more than 5.7 million contacts logged. This represented more than 300,000 calls than were taken in 2015.
The statistics counted emails, texts, helpline telephone calls, and one on one support within and as needed, outside, satellite offices of the agency.
Samaritans said the calls and other interactions indicated the service, which is free and respects confidentiality, was working. But Ruth Sutherland, CEO, said was still a long road to walk when it comes to the problems connected to suicide calls.
“Suicide is complex, but it’s also an inequality issue and a number of factors, including deprivation, can put you at increased risk,” Sutherland said.
When the service was not free, “even two pence a minute was enough to deter some callers, which is why we were determined to make all calls to Samaritans free,” Sutherland indicated.
“These figures show our volunteers are making the difference by being there for increasing numbers of people, but we’re just one part of the equation,” she concluded.
The publishing of the Samaritan statistics occurred in conjunction with Volunteers’ Week, running from June 1-7, 2017. This annual time of recognition points out the great work volunteers on behalf of organisations worldwide.
The Samaritans may be contacted if anyone is in the need of supportive services. The 24 hour free helpline is: 116 123, with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. You can drop in at a Samaritans branch in person or can go online to the Samaritans website.