Belfast Telegraph

Samaritans calls surge in recession

Desperate cries for help were answered by the Samaritans every two minutes over the last year as the recession took its toll.

New figures reveal an additional 13,000 calls were made to its helpline as the economic crisis impacted on people's emotional well-being.

Suzanne Costello, director of Samaritans in Ireland, said one in eight calls were directly linked to financial difficulties, with others concerned about relationships, unemployment, anxiety about the future, bereavement and self-harm.

She warned the level of distress and anxiety is more intense than ever as people fear for their future as the recession drags on.

"You will have calls where people just simply cry for long periods of time before they gather themselves enough to speak and I think that example reflects how people are struggling to cope," said Ms Costello.

"That feeling of being overwhelmed and lots of problems coming from different places and all arriving at the once."

More than 500 people died by suicide last year.

Between November 2009 and October almost 361,000 calls were made to the Samaritans telephone helpline, with a third staying silent or hanging up within seconds.

Emotional support was given to another 243,000 callers - an annual rise of more than 1,000 a month - who phoned its 24-hour helpline number 1850 60 90 90.

Some 1,300 trained volunteers took an average 669 calls a day. Its busiest hour is between 9pm and 10pm on a Friday and the busiest day is a Saturday, with the most amount of daily calls, 1,057, received on a Saturday in mid-August.


From Belfast Telegraph