Christmas will be a tough time for some even without a global pandemic to deal with, say Samaritans, as the charity’s latest research reveals that being separated from family and loved ones over the Christmas period is one of the biggest concerns facing callers.
New research conducted over the past few months from over 1,400 of the charity’s volunteers found around a quarter who took part in the survey (27%), have spoken to people who were feeling concerned about their wellbeing over Christmas and the winter period.
But volunteers at Swindon & District Samaritans will be there round-the-clock throughout December to make sure there’s someone there to listen to anyone who is feeling alone or struggling this festive season.
Susie, Volunteer Branch Director and listener, from Swindon & District Samaritans shared why it’s so important to make sure there’s someone there to listen throughout the festive season. She said: “We know that Christmas can be difficult for many people, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home and that this might be heightened this year. Regardless of what happens with Covid restrictions, we want people to know that confidential support is available 24/7, and that we are there for everyone this Christmas.
“Every call for help is answered by a trained volunteer and talking to us is always free and confidential. Samaritans has never been a more vital lifeline. If you can make a donation to support our work this festive season, you’ll be helping to ensure that we can be there to listen not just on Christmas but throughout the year.
“And if you find yourself struggling this Christmas, please remember you don’t have to face things alone. You can talk to us, day or night, on 116 123 or by emailing email@example.com.”
Volunteers at Swindon & District Samaritans have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure their vital service is available around the clock for anyone who needs help. Since lockdown in March, Samaritans volunteers across the UK and Ireland have provided emotional support over a million times via phone, email and letters.
Jason, 50, felt his whole world had fallen apart one Christmas. After struggling with his mum’s death, breaking up with the mother of his son and the loss of his job, it all became too much.
Jason said: “The hardship faced by people trying to cope with the pandemic reminds me how overwhelming everything became for me at Christmas. Thankfully my ex-wife noticed my struggles and convinced me to pick up the phone to Samaritans. Although it was one of the hardest things I have done – that phone call changed my life and put me on a new path. Samaritans gave me hope and helped me to find my purpose again.”
Last Christmas*, Samaritans, the only charity there for anyone struggling to cope 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responded to over a quarter of a million calls for help** and over 10,000 calls for help came on Christmas Day alone.
If youcan help Swindon & District Samaritans to be there for those who need emotional support this Christmas by making a donation you can do so here https://www.samaritans.org/branches/swindon/ or you can text to donate – for example: to donate £5, text LISTEN 5 to 70490. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text LISTENNOINFO 5 to 70490.
Susie acknowledges this has been a difficult year for all of us but says our volunteers will continue to be listening throughout the festive period and beyond: “if you or anyone you know is struggling then you can talk to us whenever you like, off the record, about whatever’s getting to you – you do not need to be alone with whatever’s getting to you. Take care and stay connected.”
To make a donation and find out other ways you can support Swindon & District Samaritans please visit https://www.samaritans.org/branches/swindon/
* Christmas period refers to 1 December 2019 to 1 January 2020
** Statistics source: Samaritans, 2020