East Devon Samaritans remind residents they are there to help over Christmas

PUBLISHED: 12:23 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 18 December 2017

Samaritans volunteers will give thousands of hours to listen to anyone struggling to cope this Christmas.

Samaritans volunteers will give thousands of hours to listen to anyone struggling to cope this Christmas.

Archant

Mental health, family, isolation and loneliness expected to be top concerns

Samaritans volunteers will give thousands of hours to listen to anyone struggling to cope this Christmas.Samaritans volunteers will give thousands of hours to listen to anyone struggling to cope this Christmas.

Samaritans volunteers in the Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch will be among those on hand for 123,000 hours over the festive season to listen to anyone having a tough time.

More than 11,000 volunteers across the UK and Ireland will be working shifts for the charity to ensure its helpline is open around the clock - even on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Mental health, family issues, isolation and loneliness are expected to be the top concerns. Relationship problems, physical health, violence, abuse and bereavement are likely to feature too, as well as drug and alcohol misuse.

At the same time, the Samaritans is encouraging us all to give the gift of listening by telling friends and family it’s okay to open up if something is troubling them. To make it easy, the charity it has produced a set of vouchers that you can download from its website to give as presents, offering yourself as a listening ear. You can invite someone to confide in you over a coffee, while out on a walk, or in a whatever way you feel they will be most comfortable with. Socks won’t save a life, but listening can.

Samaritans volunteer and branch director, John, said: “If you’re dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings, the festive season can make everything seem worse. Whether you’re on your own or feeling alone in a crowd, we don’t want anyone to struggle. So, remember you can call Samaritans for free from any phone on 116 123.

If you’re expecting to have a good Christmas this year, have a think about those around you who may not be as lucky and give them the gift of listening.”

You can download Samaritans’ Give The Gift of Listening vouchers for free here at www.samaritans.org/vouchers. You can also give the gift of listening with a donation to help ensure that Samaritans’ services are there for anyone who needs them this Christmas and every single day of the year.

Find out more about Samaritans’ Christmas campaign at www.samaritans.org/frommetoyou. Help us spread the word on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, #GiveTheGift.

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