Samaritans tells callers – we’re here for you this Christmas

Being separated from family and loved ones over the Christmas period is one of the biggest concerns facing callers to Samaritans, the charity has revealed.

Volunteers on the 24-hour helpline say almost a third of callers are feeling concerned about their wellbeing over Christmas, with the majority worried about being separated from family and loved ones, and coping with being lonely during Christmas or having to spend Christmas alone.

Samaritans surveyed 1,400 of its own volunteers in Ireland and the UK to see how callers to the helpline have been feeling.

Alan Heron, Regional Director Northern Ireland Samaritans, wants to remind the public that Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, including Christmas Day, for anyone who is distressed, lonely or suffering.

“It has been an unprecedented year with the pandemic affecting so many people’s health and wellbeing and this will be a very different Christmas for many people. Some may not be able to visit family or friends, others may have family oversees who cannot travel home, and for others, missing normal events or socialising in the local pub, can be devastating,” he said.

“Volunteers in all eight branches in Northern Ireland answered over 11,500 calls over the Christmas period last year, and we will have over 60 volunteers on hand this year to be there for anyone struggling. Christmas is a time when loneliness can really hit home. We want people to know that we are available 24/7 for everyone on freephone 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.”

Among the volunteers on duty this Christmas Day will be Alice. Alice will be on duty on Christmas morning in the Belfast branch.

Alice Comments: “Sadly, Christmas isn’t a time of joy, peace and happiness for everyone so it’s really important that Samaritans are there to listen at this time. It’s a great privilege for me to be available for a Christmas Day shift and listen as best I can to those who need us”.

Samaritans is advising people to look after their mental health, and others, by continuing to check in on anyone who may be struggling and encourage them to reach out for support whether it’s with a friend, family member or a confidential helpline like Samaritans.

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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