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Over 1,000 calls made to Samaritans every day, up 10% on previous year

Volunteers at the 24-hour support helpline spent roughly 65,000 hours on the phone with callers.

CALLS TO THE Samaritans helpline rose by more than 10% last year, with volunteers answering over 1,000 calls a day from people struggling to cope.

That is according to the Samaritans Ireland impact report published today, which the charity says shows a continued need for the service.

Some 45,000 more calls were made in 2022 than in 2021.

Volunteers at the charity spent roughly 65,000 hours on the phone with callers.

Some 42% of callers raised concerns related to mental health, while others spoke of isolation and loneliness (34%), family (30%), or relationship problems (20%). 

Calls lasted 26 minutes on average.

Samaritans is the only 24-hour emotional support helpline that covers the island of Ireland, with more than 2,000 volunteers in 21 branches nationwide. 

Samaritans Ireland Executive Director Sarah O’Toole said: “It has been a challenging time, but we are proud to say that Samaritans successfully provided essential support to those in need, 24 hours a day.

“The rise in calls answered by volunteers shows the continued need for our services and the impact they are making in providing emotional support to those in distress. We are focused on being there when people need us most.

“Our volunteers remain at the heart of our service, and we cannot thank them enough for their ongoing dedication to our callers.”

The charity trained 300 new volunteers last year. Those who would like to become a volunteer can find out more on www.samaritans.ie/volunteer.

The impact report also showed that more than 18,000 calls to the service were from inmates in Irish prisons.

4,500 calls were diverted to Samaritans from other helplines that were out of hours.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the report, Minister for Charities Joe O’Brien paid tribute to Samaritans volunteers, who are embedded in communities across Ireland.

“I am delighted to launch the Impact Report, which shows volunteers answered 1,000 calls and emails every day, offering support to those living in isolation or struggling to cope, no matter where in the country they live,” he said.

“Samaritans volunteers are the backbone of the charity and are there for people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even in the early hours of the morning. It is incredible that a volunteer-led charity is supporting others in need for over 60 years.”

Need help? Support is available.

  • Samaritans – 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
  • Pieta House – 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Aware – 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Teen-Line Ireland – 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 18)
  • Childline – 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
  • SpunOut – text SPUNOUT to 50808 or visit spunout.ie

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