24 July (24/7) is Samaritans Awareness Day. The date refers to them being there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As part of this, the ‘Talk to Us’ awareness campaign runs to remind people who the Samaritans are and what they do. Samaritans is a UK and Ireland based charity aimed at providing support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide. This is usually done through their telephone helpline, but you can also email and write (snail mail) to them. Their name derives from the biblical Parable of the Good Samaritan although the organisation is non-religious.

The Samaritans are a valuable organisation and one that deserves our help and support. It is estimated that every ten seconds Samaritans responds to a call for help. In 2021, for example, around 22,000 people volunteered their time to Samaritans, 20,000 trained listening volunteers responded to calls for help and around 2,500 volunteers supported the running of more than 200 branches and locations across the UK and Ireland.

There service is available around the clock for anyone who is struggling or who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. This supports is an important aspect of changing the culture of being able to discuss mental health more openly. As Luke Richardson (Canadian Ice Hockey Coach) said, “We need to change the culture of this topic and make it OK to speak about mental health and suicide”.

Although they are there at the point of crisis, they also offer support and encouragement before an issue turns into a crisis. They operate in prisons, schools, hospitals and on the train network. They help people who are going through a difficult time but also train others who may come into contact with vulnerable people to do the same.

Every suicide is a tragedy and reaches far beyond the person who dies. It will affect their family and friends who are often left confused and wondering if they could have done more. The Samaritans ultimate mission is to minimise and prevent suicide. I think Gerard Way (American Singer and Comic Book Writer) puts it very well, “Suicide is a serious thing. And if you know anyone who is suicidal, you need to get them help. No one should be in pain. Everyone should love themselves”.

If you want to contact them it’s free to call them from a landline or from mobiles. The number is slightly unusual, but is absolutely free. You don’t need to have any credit or call allowance. Simply call 116 123 or email them on 

They will listen to you and help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles. They will focus on your thoughts and feelings and may ask questions to help you explore the problem and how you feel. They offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like and in your own way. They won’t judge you or tell you what to do, but they will listen to you.

If you or someone you know is struggling then getting help is the best thing you can do. Samaritans are available to help as well as other sources of help and support.

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