Local volunteers will be among 1,500 across the country answering phones around the clock on Christmas Day to make sure there is always someone available to listen to anyone who is feeling alone or struggling. The charity expects to respond to more than 250,000 calls for help.
The ‘Be A Samaritans Christmas Star’ appeal will ensure that the service is there for all who need it – and every donation helps.
Cathy Riddington, Buxton & High Peak branch director, said: “Whilst many look forward to the Christmas period, at Samaritans we know this time of year can actually be a huge challenge for some people.
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“Our amazing volunteers will, as they do every hour of every day, be giving their time this Christmas to anyone who needs support. I think that is a pretty special gift to give.”
She added: “I’m so proud of the work Samaritans does, and I know what a huge difference it makes to people’s lives. So, for anyone who is struggling this Christmas time, Samaritans is here for them, for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Christmas may be a time to spready cheer and spend time with loved ones but new figures from Samaritans reveal that caller concerns about family have risen for the fifth year in a row.
So far throughout 2021, family worries have made up 34 per cent of emotional support contacts with the charity across the UK and Republic of Ireland – up from 27 per cent in 2017.
Mental health or illness remains the top overall concern at 46 per cent, with isolation and loneliness ranking third at 28 per cent, and relationship problems following on 24 per cent.
The importance of the Christmas appeal has been underlined by Stephanie, 33, a manicurist who has worked with celebrities including Little Mix and Leona Lewis, and credits the Samaritans with saving her life in 2015.
She said: “Christmas always felt like a particularly difficult time. One year on Christmas Eve, it all got too much and I tried to take my life. I woke up the next day feeling very unwell, but I got dressed and went to visit my family for Christmas. I became good at putting on a front.
“I look back at the pictures and I’m smiling, but I wasn’t OK at all. That feeling built up and spilled over into the New Year. I didn’t know who to speak to, so one night I called Samaritans and let everything out. I remember feeling embarrassed and it took me a long time to get everything out.”
She added: “I am so thankful to that volunteer. He saved my life that night. I realised I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to hurt anymore.”
To make a donation, visit samaritans.org/donate-christmas and select Buxton & High Peak Samaritans at the checkout.
Anyone can contact Samaritans for free, any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. The number will not show up on your phone bill. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org.