Samaritans in Cork are reminding those in need this Christmas that its helpline will be open for them during their darkest hours if they are struggling to cope during the festivities.
Volunteers across Ireland answered more than 40,000 calls for help during December 2018, including almost 1,150 calls on Christmas Day.
Aileen Spitere, lead volunteer with Cork Samaritans, will be among those on duty this Christmas Day.
'It can be incredibly rewarding to be there for someone on Christmas Day. The people who call us are often on their own and feel isolated and lonely, they may be in the middle of a family dispute, or simply feel overwhelmed by the day as it’s not always like how it’s depicted on television or in the movies. It’s a time of year that can be a pressure-point for many people,' she said.
'Other people often call us to say thank you for being there for them during the year'.
'We want to get the message out that anyone can contact us, anytime over Christmas, on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090, or email [email protected] People can also visit us in our branch on 7 Coach Street between 9am-9pm every day if they need to speak to someone face to face'.
As tinsel and fairy lights adorn the streets up and down the country, it can be easy to overlook how the festive season can be the hardest time of the year for some.
On Christmas Eve 2018, while most households prepared for Santa’s arrival, more than 140 dedicated Samaritans volunteers reported for duty at 13 Samaritans branches across the Republic of Ireland.
On Christmas Day, almost 150 Samaritans volunteers also headed to branches for a three-hour shift and responded to almost 1,150 calls for help from people feeling overwhelmed by the festivities.
Each volunteer answered an average of eight calls during the Christmas shift, with callers sharing a wide range of personal challenges from mental and physical health struggles to family issues, relationship problems as well as isolation and loneliness. Dozens of text messages and emails were also responded to.
Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.