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Samaritans received more than 10,000 calls over Christmas

Monday 30 December was the busiest day, while volunteers took 520 calls on Christmas Day.

VOLUNTEERS AT THE Samaritans helpline received 520 calls on Christmas Day last month.

Over the entire Christmas period – from Saturday, 21 December 2013 to Sunday 5 January 2014 – they took 10,049 calls which represented 2,291 hours of listening time.

Statistics given to TheJournal.ie show the busiest day of the holiday period was Monday, 30 December during which 758 calls were taken. That figure is above the daily average of 672.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day saw totals that were below average with 525 and 578 calls taken respectively.

However, the busiest hour over the fortnight was on 1 January when 65 calls were made in just 60 minutes.

Usually, the most hectic hour for the helpline is midnight to 1am on Friday night/Saturday morning when an average of 44 calls are received.

A spokesperson for the charity said it is helpful to understand the behaviour of some callers when analysing calls.

“For anyone in distress, it can be enormously difficult  to ask for help. Many people will ring several times  before they feel comfortable enough to speak. These silent calls are recorded as calls to Samaritans’ service, and Samaritans volunteers will not end a  silent call; they remain on the line until the person at  the other end hangs up,” she explained.

The issues discussed with callers varied greatly, including but not limited to, depression, relationship problems, family issues, loneliness, physical and mental health issues, alcohol, drugs, self-harm, financial worries, illness, issues around sexuality and suicide ideation.

Currently, there are more than 2,000 volunteers across 13 branches of Samaritans Ireland. Each volunteer works about 15 hours per month.

Earlier figures showed that Childline responded to 1,450 calls, texts and other messages on Christmas Day. Another teen helpline has seen a 65 per cent increase in contact from young people across the country.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. The organisation provides a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. People can call 1850 60 90 90, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie  to find details of the nearest branch and to learn more about our work.

Helplines:

  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634

  • Console 1800 201 890

  • Aware 1890 303 302

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

Read: Childline responded to 1,450 calls, texts and messages on Christmas Day

Numbers: Christmas can ‘heighten feelings of loneliness and despair’

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