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What do the Samaritans do?

July 24, 2022

Each year, the Samaritans runs its annual awareness campaign on 24th July (24/7) – a reminder to us all that its volunteers are ready to listen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The idea of the campaign – which has the theme Talk to Us #We Listen – is to highlight the different ways the Samaritans is always there for anyone who’s struggling to cope.

Most people are aware of the Samaritans, and the important work they do, but here are some facts about the service that you might not know.

There are lots of different ways to ‘talk’ - and you can remain anonymous. You can call them free from any phone on 116 123, chat with them online, or email jo@samaritans.org and receive a response within 24 hours. You can even post them a letter and they’ll send you a handwritten reply back.

They’ll support you whatever you’re going through. The service isn’t only for people who feel suicidal – although of course you can talk to them if you’re feeling this way. You can also get in touch if you can’t stop worrying at 3am when everyone else is asleep, if you’re in therapy but can’t speak to your therapist between appointments, or you’re at the end of your tether and just need to ‘get it all out’.

Some of the common reasons people contact the Samaritans include:

  • relationship and family problems
  • loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement
  • financial worries
  • job-related stress
  • college or study-related stress
  • loneliness and isolation
  • depression
  • painful and/or disabling physical illness
  • heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

They’ll never judge, or tell you what to do. A volunteer will help you talk through what’s on your mind, and give you space to explore and understand how you’re feeling. They may ask questions, but they won’t try to give advice or opinions.

The Samaritans also offers a self-help app. You can use this to track your mood, and get recommendations for things to do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis.

The organisation’s website has lots of useful information on what to do if you’re having a difficult time, with articles on topics including self-harm and managing your mental health during the pandemic. There’s also some guidance on how to help if you’re worried about someone else, along with a list of organisations that specialise in helping with specific problems and situations.

Samaritans branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland will be holding local events through July to mark the campaign – you can find your nearest branch here, and see what they’re doing to support Talk to Us here.

If you recognise that you have a difficulty such as depression or anxiety, and would like to seek treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can make a big difference. Find out here if you can access online CBT through ieso.

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This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.
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