21 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork Samaritans have had their busiest year to date answering 67,105 calls in the last 12 months. Details of the increase in use of Samaritans service were revealed in the 2014-2015 Impact Report covering Samaritans’ work in Ireland, which was launched in Dublin, on Wednesday the 16th of December.
According to the report, over 653,161 calls for help were answered by Samaritans volunteers across Ireland in the last year.
Calls to Samaritans have increased by 60% since Samaritans launched a free to caller number 116 123 in March 2014.
A partnership between Samaritans, the telecommunications industry, Government and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has made it possible to call Samaritans at no cost to the caller.
Michelle O’Shea, Director of Cork Samaritans said:
“The increase in calls show that many people in Ireland are struggling to cope and need a place to turn for support. Removing the barrier of cost has made it easier for people to access support as they no longer have to worry about call charges. It is important that people know that they can talk to us at any time of the day or night about whatever is getting to them. We are here for anyone who needs to talk. It doesn’t matter what kind of problem our callers have, however big or small it may seem compared to the problems other people have.”
The issues which people contact Samaritans about have remained consistent over the last number of years. These include family and relationship problems; financial worries; depression and mental health problems; loneliness; and stress and anxiety.
Michelle O’Shea added that
“Samaritans volunteers will be there round the clock for anyone who feels they need to talk, in confidence, about whatever’s getting to them – on Christmas Day, Stephen’s Day, New Year’s Day, and every other day of the year.”