More than 1,800 volunteers work at over 20 branches offering emotional support to its 24-hour telephone service.
Samaritans are best known for the vital support given to callers on its 24-hour telephone service, but volunteers are also on hand to offer support by text messages, email and face-to-face in communities, festival, outreach events and in prisons.
Regional Director for Samaritans Ireland, Cindy O’Shea, said it received 1,000 calls on Christmas day.
“As Samaritans volunteers, we offer round-the-clock emotional support to those people and anyone who is struggling to cope with whatever life has thrown at them.
“Even on Christmas Day we answered almost 1,000 calls, spending more than 150 hours on the phone. Our busiest hour was between 10pm to 11pm when volunteers answered a call every 45 seconds.
“As the new year begins, we call on people to consider making a difference to someone’s life by volunteering with Samaritans in one of our 21 branches nationwide.
“As well as supporting people emotionally, there are a wide range of roles which ensure the running of the service 24/7, from administrative support to fundraising, so please contact your local branch to find out more.”
There are now 21 Samaritans branches across the country with over 1,800 active volunteers on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mary, a carer, began volunteering with Samaritans over 12 years ago.
“During my time with Samaritans I have learned so much. I’ve grown and developed as a person and the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing I was able to help and support someone is the best feeling,” she said.
“For me, Samaritans is a family and we offer each other help and support whenever we need it – whether we are dealing with something personal in our lives or with a challenging call. My experience of volunteering with Samaritans has been life-changing. It takes commitment and dedication, but you’ll be paid back a hundredfold.”
Enda, an air traffic controller, has been volunteering since 2012.
“Anyone can be a Samaritan as long as you believe in what you’re doing and you’re willing to listen,” he said.
“Allowing someone the space to talk, and really listening to what they want to talk about, are skills I’ve tried to adhere to both on and off duty.
“What really drives me though are the callers and knowing that by being there to pick up the phone I may have given them a beacon of hope. No matter where you are in life, the need to be heard and the need for empathy are things that will be with us always.”
To find out more about volunteering with Samaritans visit www.samaritans.ie/volunteer.