Samaritans receiving longer and complex calls

Samaritans Ireland had its busiest ever year in 2012, with a total of 412,167 calls to the organisation’s helpline, an increase of three per cent on last year.

Samaritans Ireland had its busiest ever year in 2012, with a total of 412,167 calls to the organisation’s helpline, an increase of three per cent on last year.

That’s according to Samaritans’ 2012 Impact Report, which was launched on Wednesday (21.12.12) in Dublin. The report highlighted the work of Samaritans’ 13 branches in the Republic of Ireland, including the Louth Branch.

Following the launch of the report, Samaritans volunteers met with members of the Oireachtas to brief them about their work including political representatives from Louth: Louth TDs Peter Fitzpatrick and Gerard Nash.

According to the report, calls to Samaritans’ helpline this year were longer in duration and focused on more complicated and interlinked problems than ever before.

In addition to calls to its helpline, over the past year, Samaritans also recorded a 17 per cent increase in the level of face-to-face contact at its branches around the country.

Commenting at the launch, Suzanne Costello, Executive Director of Samaritans Ireland, said:

“Calls to our service are lasting longer and are more intense in nature, reflecting the complexity of many people’s lives.

On average, calls during 2012 lasted six per cent longer than they did last year.

“It is important to note however that, although the increase in the duration of calls reflects a level of stress and anxiety, it also reflects a willingness amongst people to talk about their problems.

There is also a notable improvement in the ease of engagement with our face-to-face outreach services.

This may be linked to ongoing work to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and the proactive work of Samaritans’ branches within their local communities.”

Paying tribute to Samaritans’ volunteers, Pio Fenton said, “Volunteers are the beating heart of the Samaritans organisation, delivering the core support service, running all branches, raising vital funds, and raising awareness of the work we do,” he said.

Samaritans’ helpline number is 1850 60 90 90. Further information is available at www.samaritans.ie.