Shining a light on – Samaritans
23rd December 2018
For more than 60 years, Samaritans volunteers have been there for anyone who is struggling. During December 2017, Samaritans responded to more than 400,000 calls for help by phone, email and text throughout the UK and Ireland. Despite the festivities, more than 11,000 of those calls for help and emotional support came in on Christmas Day, with a third dealing with loneliness and isolation.
Samaritans volunteers will be making sure there’s a listening ear day and night again this year for anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed and needs to talk, throughout the festive period.
Emma Gale knows just how much difference talking to Samaritans can make. She endured years of health problems and was unable to get a diagnosis. Emma said: “In the run up to Christmas 2016 I was sent home from hospital. I felt ill, very lonely and a burden to everyone around me. I decided my family would be far better off without me and made plans to end my life. After driving to a quiet spot, I decided to call Samaritans for the first and only time in my life. I just needed someone to talk to, so I didn’t feel so alone.
“The impact of that call was huge; it was a listening non-judgemental ear. From there my life completely turned around. The next day I went to a hospital appointment and I got a diagnosis for a rare genetic condition. I will never forget what that Samaritan did for me that Christmas, they gave me the biggest gift possible – the gift of life.”
Emma’s life has changed so much since that call that she’s now a Samaritans volunteer herself. She will be doing a shift on the phones over Christmas for the first time this year, helping others who are struggling to cope. Samaritans volunteers are there for anyone who is having a difficult time.
“Some people assume Samaritans are only about suicide prevention, but there’s so much more to what we do”, explained experienced Samaritans volunteer Mary Deery.
Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free, from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on phone bills. People can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of their local branch where they can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
Samaritans is also asking all of us to give the gift of listening this Christmas, by encouraging our friends and family going through a difficult time to open up. To make it easier, Samaritans has produced a set of downloadable vouchers, offering time to listen as a present this Christmas. You can #GivetheGift by downloading your personalised Gift the Gift of Listening vouchers for free at http://samaritans.org/christmas2018