Charity receives thousands of suicidal calls

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 June 2014

The number of calls to the Samaritans is increasing

The number of calls to the Samaritans is increasing

Copyright Archant Ltd

A WESTON charity answered more than 10,000 calls for help last year from people ‘who are totally alone’, according to new data.

The Samaritans of Weston and North Somerset, which has a branch in High Street, relies on its 50 volunteers to answer the staggering amount of calls.

More than 20 per cent of the calls are from people who are extremely distressed - to the point of being suicidal.

The Samaritans relies entirely on the generosity and hard work of its unpaid staff to support those struggling to cope and is calling for more people to step forward.

Last year, the Weston branch also received nearly 1,500 emails, a 12 per cent increase on the previous year.

There was also a 15 per cent increase in text messages, as volunteers find SMS is a growing route of contact particularly for younger people.

Deputy director Joe said: “Calls to us have been growing over the years. It seems many people feel the pressure of the world on their shoulders these days.

“Perhaps most striking is the number of people who are totally alone with no close family and even if they do have friends do not want to burden them with their problems. So they literally have no-one to talk to.

“And then when they also run into issues such as financial or health problems that can be the last straw.

“But people do not need to be suicidal to call us we will talk to anyone who is having problems in their life.”

In Weston General Hospital, the Samaritans has started a service in A&E on Friday evenings for anyone who comes in who is in distress and needs to talk to someone in complete confidence.

Director Paul said: “I am so grateful to our volunteers at Samaritans of Weston.

“We wouldn’t exist without the commitment of these generous people, and I want to thank them all for their hard work and dedication.

“We know that our callers benefit from having a real person at the end of the line, someone who is trained to really listen to them.

“The huge number of calls we are receiving shows that we need as many volunteers as possible.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should call 01934 621240 or email samaritansrecruitmentwsm@yahoo.com

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