Samaritans seeks to be accessible to all who need emotional support. Callers can contact us through a free-call phone number and via email. In addition, support is being given via social media. Pre-pandemic the Branch was open 9am-9pm everyday for face-to-face support with a volunteer – this has been suspended during 'lockdown' but we hope to resume this part of the service as soon as we are able to. Samaritans listening volunteers are highly trained to be non-judgmental in their careful support of our callers.
The Tyneside Branch contributes to the national network of support via phone (freecall 116-123) and email ([email protected]). This is continuing throughout the current pandemic lockdown and beyond. Our community support of working with local small groups to support vulnerable people of all ages is currently on hold as a result of social-distancing advice and guidance.
A recent study (Lancet, Feb 2020) showed that quarantine of over 10 days is associated with poorer mental health and a study of the SARS outbreak (University of Hong Kong, 2010) found an increase in suicides, especially among over 65s. Other potential risk factors for suicide include social isolation, domestic abuse (for people trapped in an abusive household), increased unemployment and financial worries. Locally we have noticed a significant rise in calls from people experiencing domestic violence as a result of closer-living arrangements and social isolation.
It is important that people in distress know how to contact Samaritans for support as we are the only organisation able 24/7 every day of the year. We would like to extend our contacts with other community groups who meet face-to-face with vulnerable groups and provide detailed information via local shops etc to reach as many people as possible.
Please help us to help others in need