Samaritans in 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 more than 35,000 calls in Ireland last December, including almost 1,000 contacts on Christmas Day alone.
Samaritans are also calling on landmarks and buildings across the Ennis and Clare to light up in green to mark the Longest Night on Tuesday, December 21st, to show people Samaritans are here for them during the long dark nights.
Volunteer Margaret MacMahon Branch Director, said: “It has been a really difficult year for so many people 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 “.
Áras Clare County Council, Ennis Pool and Clare Youth Centre are among the many buildings/landmarks who are turning green on December 21st – the winter solstice – to support Samaritan’s Christmas campaign and to remind people we’re there for them in their darkest hour. Images will be shared across social media channels with the hashtags #LongestNight #AlwaysThere.
Margaret MacMahon said: “We really want to thank anyone who is supporting Samaritans Longest Night to help spread the message that we’re there for everyone during the long dark winter nights. Any other business who would like to take part can contact Ann at email@example.com
Samaritans is the only all island 24-hour emotional support freephone helpline, answering over half a million calls a year.
Concerns over loneliness and isolation increased last December on the national helpline, accounting for 38% of emotional support calls, followed by mental health/illness, family issues and Covid 19.
Michael, a former caller to Samaritans who is now a volunteer in Samaritans, will be among the volunteers on duty over Christmas.
He is asking the public to ‘Be A Samaritans Christmas Star’ this December by donating here and helping Samaritans volunteers be there for others during their darkest hours.
“Since being a caller, I know how important it is to answer that phone when it rings. I remember how I felt at that time, and I want to be able to remind our callers that they are not alone,” Michael said.
“Christmas is a time of giving so, as a Samaritan, it is extra special to give your time to those who cannot cope well with the season. There is something special about setting aside a few hours and giving them to someone who is finding it difficult.
“Helping someone through a tough situation and helping ease their worries is a humbling experience.”
- 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 you can email the Samaritans or visit the website.