Samaritans phoned every seven seconds


THE SAMARITANS received a phone call every seven seconds last year with almost a fifth of callers experiencing suicidal tendencies, according to new information released by the organisation.

In 2007 volunteers took 315,368 calls compared with 291,571 in the previous year. Callers were split evenly between male and females which, according to the Samaritans, has been a common theme during the group's 46 years in Ireland.

The callers were primarily aged from 25 to late 50s, which the Samaritans say covers the period of life when most emotional challenge and upheaval occurs.

Suzanne Costello, director of Samaritans Ireland, said that general themes include depression, isolation and severe loneliness.

With growing pressure on teenagers, the group is trying to reach second-level students to highlight its services. "Many schools have an excellent pastoral care service but at that age there is a stigmatisation of help-seeking so we have had to make special efforts to reach students and we now have 4,000 students involved in an outreach service with the schools," Ms Costello said.

The Samaritans is a registered charity which offers 24-hour confidential support to anyone in emotional distress. They can be contacted on 1850 60 90 90.