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Samaritans say number of callers has surged

The Samaritans say funding is down but demand has sky-rocketed since the introduction of their free phone number in March of last year.

Calls to their Dublin branch have increased by 18pc with the charity receiving 87,500 contacts by phone, text, email and callers to the door.

The figures were revealed at an event promoting the charity's 'Talk to Us' campaign yesterday. Volunteers gathered at the Spire on O'Connell Street from 12pm to 12am, passing out information to the public.

"The idea on a day like today is to talk to people and let them know that we are there for them emotionally if they are going through a hard time, or if they can't cope," said Samaritans director Brendan Gallagher.


"A lot of our callers would express thoughts of suicide but we want people to talk to us long before they have thoughts of taking their own life," he added.

Men in their 20s and 40s are statistically high-risk groups for suicide and part of the 'Talk to Us' campaign is to target these groups.

"Samaritans don't try to talk people out of suicide because that means you are not respecting their feelings. I like to use the metaphor of going in to a dark room where our callers are sitting and we just sit down beside them and say we're in this dark room with you," Brendan said.

"We can't take you out of that dark room but we will sit there with you, you are not alone," he added.

If you feel you need to talk to the Samaritans call 116 123.