Samaritans Ennis and Clare are reminding those in need that their helpline will be open during their darkest hours if they are lonely or struggling to cope this Christmas.
Volunteers on the 24-hour-helpline answered almost 40,000 calls in Ireland in December last year, with more than 50 volunteers answering over 1,150 calls and written contacts on Christmas Day alone.
Landmarks across Ireland and Ennis and Clare are also lighting up in green to mark the Longest Night, to show people Samaritans are here for them during the long dark nights.
Clare County Council building and Samaritans Centre Sunville are among those turning green on Monday, December 21st – the winter solstice – to support Samaritan’s Christmas campaign. We are calling on local businesses and others to do the same.
Margaret MacMahon Director of Ennis Samaritans, said: “It has been an unprecedented year with the pandemic affecting so many people’s health and wellbeing and this will be a very different Christmas for many people.
“We know that people struggle more at Christmas, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home. We want people to know that we are available 24/7 for everyone on freephone 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We also want to thank Clare County Council and other businesses/premises for supporting us on the Longest Night and helping to get the message out that we’re there for everyone during the long dark winter nights.”
Clare Samaritans volunteers will be on duty Christmas day.
“I find it very rewarding to volunteer on Christmas Day,” said Mary, who joined Samaritans over 10 years ago. A lot of places close for Christmas and there are very lonely people, some with mental health issues, who may not see anyone for the whole of Christmas. Giving them 15 minutes just to talk to someone can make a difference.”
“It’s nice to be there at Christmas when people need you and when they do not have anyone else to chat to. You could be the only person they talk to all day. It’s a good feeling to know you have been there for that person,” she added.
Samaritans in Ennis and Clare are also appealing for funds to support its branch this Christmas. Donations can be made directly to your local branch, Samaritans Ennis and Clare Sunville Kilrush Road Ennis V95 V004 on the webpage or via the donate link.