Number of calls to Kildare Samaritans rise

Calls up by 38 per cent on 2015

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Number of calls to Kildare Samaritans rise

Volunteers and supporters of the Newbridge branch of Samaritans with former Mayor of Kildare, Brendan Weld and Dep Fiona O'Loughlin at an awareness event in Whitewater. Photo: Tony Keane

Newbridge Samaritans answered over 43,000 calls for help this year — a 13.8 per cent increase on 2015.

The local branch said demand for services proved highest during out of hours, when other supports were not available.

Siobhan Mc Dermott, director of Newbridge Branch, said: “We know that people don’t just struggle to cope between the hours of 9 to 5. The statistics released in our Impact Report 2015-2016 show many calls come through to the service throughout the evening and early morning hours, a time that can be lonely and isolating for those experiencing feelings of distress.

“The Samaritans are the only organisation whose volunteers are available round the clock, providing a beacon of light to those struggling during the loneliest hours.”

The branch answered 43,256 calls in the last 12 months, compared to 38,000 last year.

These latest details were released in the Samaritans 2015-2016 Impact Report, which was launched last week.

According to the report, more than one in three calls to the Samaritans’ national helpline were received between 6pm and 12am and 63 per cent of all calls are made between 6pm and 6am.

The range of issues of concern remain consistent over the last number of years.

These include family and relationship problems; financial worries; depression and mental health problems; loneliness; and stress and anxiety.

“People who are struggling often feel isolated and alone. They may want to talk about their suicidal feelings but don’t know where to turn, or fear that they may be judged. Over 450 people in Ireland take their lives each year,” added Ms McDermott.

“Many of those people may feel like they don’t have anywhere to seek support. Our volunteers work hard to provide a space for people in crisis when there may be nowhere else to turn.”

Volunteers increased the number of listening hours they provide by 38% since a new free phone number was introduced in 2014.

Increased demand means Newbridge Samaritans are always looking for volunteers. Anyone who is interested can find out more by contacting Newbridge Samaritans on 0860855785 or samaritansrecruitment@gmail.com

Samaritans volunteers in the Newbridge will be there round the clock for anyone who feels they need to talk, in confidence, about whatever’s getting to them – on Christmas Day, Stephens’ Day, New Year’s Day, and every other day of the year.

Ms McDermott concluded, “Christmas and New Year can be especially hard for many people and we know that loneliness and isolation are both factors in this. If you’re finding the festive season difficult, we’re here to listen and you can always talk to us about what’s on your mind.” For help, free phone 116 123, email Samaritans: jo@samaritans.org or drop into your local branch.