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Minister Mary Butler, Niall Mulligan of Samaritans Ireland, and Charlie Bird with his dog Tiger, at the launch of Samaritans Ireland Impact Report. Sam Boal

Samaritans received nearly 1,000 calls a day last year, with mental health the top concern

Its 24-hour helpline covers the island of Ireland and answered almost half a million calls and emails last year.

SAMARITANS IRELAND ANSWERED close to 1,000 calls a day last year.

That’s according to the Samaritans Ireland Impact Report for 2021, which was launched by Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler.

Its 24-hour helpline covers the island of Ireland, with over 2,000 volunteers working across 13 branches in the Republic of Ireland and eight in the North.

Samaritan volunteers answered almost half a million calls and emails across the island, which averages answering a call for help every 64 seconds.

While multiple issues can be raised in one call, the most frequently raised concerns related to mental health or illness (40%).

This was followed by isolation and loneliness (35%), family (32%), relationship problems (20%), and Covid-19 (20%).

A third of all calls were answered between 6pm and midnight, and calls requiring emotional support lasted an average 33 minutes.

Meanwhile, more than 19,000 calls were taken from prisoners in Irish prisons.

Executive Director for Samaritans Ireland, Niall Mulligan noted that the pandemic had a “profound effect on people’s emotional wellbeing”.

He said: “During the year, one in five calls for help to Samaritans was from someone worried about the impact of the pandemic, and over a third of callers felt isolated or lonely.

“As an organisation we were challenged by the continuation of the pandemic and ongoing restrictions, however our amazing volunteers ensured that we were available to talk to our callers and provide them with emotional support.”

Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler paid tribute to the Samaritans volunteers.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister Butler said: “The scope of Samaritans work in this report clearly shows the support it had given to some of the most marginalised in society, through training, awareness and emotional support.”

Anyone can contact the Samaritans for free and at any time on 116 123.

The charity notes that a call will still work from a mobile phone without credit and that the number won’t show up on phone bills.

People can also email or visit

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