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Mental Health

Suicide helplines experiencing more calls from worried family members

Samaritans Ireland has recorded its busiest year ever.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELPLINE 1Life has reported a nine per cent increase in calls from people worried about family members who they believe are at risk of suicide.

Recent statistics have revealed that 22 per cent of all daily calls are made in the three hours between 10pm and 1am. In about one quarter of those calls, loneliness and isolation are recorded as significant factors.

The number of distressed callers citing financial stress or debt issues has risen from 11 per cent in 2010 to 17 per cent in 2012.

The Samaritans will also release its impact report for 2012 later this morning, highlighting an increase in calls. It will offer details about the types of calls, which were longer in duration and focused on a more complex range of issues than seen in previous years.

The group has recorded its busiest year ever with 57,000 hours of listening time given by the service’s volunteers. That is an increase of 3 per cent on 2011.

“Calls to our service are lasting longer and are more intense in their nature reflecting the complexity of many people’s lives,” said executive director Suzanne Costello.

Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch will attend the launch in Dublin’s city centre from 10am.

Meanwhile, 1Life has warned that Christmas holidays can be a particular anxious time for many people. Director Noel Smyth said, “Whilst Christmas is generally a time for families to come together and enjoy the season, it can be difficult for many people who may be in need of support.

“Additionally, others may find themselves in a position where they are hosting a relative who may give them some cause for concern, whether by appearing particularly low or by displaying unsettling behaviour such as severe anxiety which may be a sign of suicidal ideation.

“Family members may need to ask for help with what to do next, what to say or do to help, or what to avoid. I would urge anyone who finds themselves in crisis or is worried about a relative to contact our trained Suicide Prevention Counsellors who can offer practical advice and support in confidence. That call could help avert a crisis.”

1Life will operate day and night all through the Christmas and New Year period on 1800 24 7 100, providing emotional support, therapeutic counselling and in the event of emergencies, crisis referrals and emergency intervention.

1Life also operates a text service – Text the word HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply).

Other helplines include:

  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 900 or email
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

READ: 1,000 people honour loved ones at Console Celebration of Light

MORE: Dept of Education to issue guidelines on suicide prevention

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