The office of the Samaritans at 14 Nuns Island Galway received approximately 33,700 contacts in the last twelve months — almost one hundred contacts to its centre every day of the year.
At the launch of their annual Impact Report at Buswells Hotel in Dublin yesterday Samaritans Ireland reported that 68 per cent of their callers make contact with them from 6pm to 6am,when other support services are unavailable with Saturdays and Sundays being their busiest days in the week. This is an increase of 9 per cent from 59 per cent last year.
Patricia Hynes PRO Samaritans Galway says that at their branch in Galway we have observed a notable increase in the number of people contacting them by text and also a sizeable increase in contacts from adolescents .
“October 2013 was our busiest month in Galway in the last twelve months where we received 2039 contacts from people in distress. Many of our calls are from those who are feeling anxious, upset or need someone to talk to".
Ms Hynes went on to say that while over one third of the calls are from people who are feeling suicidal, the vast majority of people who contact them do not feel suicidal.
“Early intervention is absolutely crucial, we want people to contact us at the early onset of their distress and not to wait until their feelings are turning to thoughts and feelings of suicide.
“At Samaritans our vision is one for a society where fewer people die by suicide, we provide emotional support without judgement, without prejudice and in complete confidence.
“We encourage our callers to talk openly and honestly to us and express in their own words how life is for them . The very core of our organisation is based on human empathy, it is who we are and what we do."
Samaritans Galway has over 100 volunteers at its branch all giving their time on a voluntary basis. She says says that "none of our volunteers get paid for what they do, we all operate on a completely voluntary basis, every one of us including our director".
“Whoever you are, however you feel, there will always be a Samaritan volunteer available to support you. We are all human and none of us know how events in life may affect us; if you are currently feeling anxious or distressed allow us to help you; take that first step, it is often the most difficult; we are and will continue to be available whenever you are; 24 hours a day seven days a week, throughout Christmas and the New Year,” she concluded.