Calls to Samaritans reflect money worries

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One in every six calls made to Samaritans talked about financial worries, according to the charity’s 2013 annual survey.

This compares with one in 10 in 2008, shortly before the current recession began.

The calls for help were across telephone, email, SMS and face-to-face meetings.

There has been a marked increase in the numbes of calls answered from men about financial worries, rising from one in eight in 2012 to one in six today. The survey saw a rise of seven per cent to 44 per cent, compared with 37 per cent in 2012.

Calls answered from women were down seven per cent this year to 52 per cent.

Samaritans has launched a campaign aimed at reducing the high suicide levels among men in their middle years from lower socio-economic groups.

A major piece of academic research – Men, Suicide and Society – examined why these men are at greater risk of suicide.

Just under a quarter of the people who talked about financial worries specifically mentioned debt, a slight decrease on the previous year. There was a similar slight fall (34 per cent to 33 per cent) for those worried about employment.

A rise was noted in the numbers of calls answered about housing, which was mentioned by 31 per cent of those who talked about financial worries. This was up from 24 per cent in 2012 and is eight per cent more than those calling about concerns related to benefits.

“It’s clear that despite an improvement in the economic outlook across the country, there are still many people who remain very worried about money, jobs and housing,” said Catherine Johnstone, Samaritans’ chief executive.

“We know that suicide increases during recessions and have been receiving many calls from those most affected by the economic fallout,” added Margaret Black, director of Ballymena Samaritans, whose servic extends to Larne.

She said: “We’d like to remind people struggling to cope with financial, unemployment or other worries, that we will continue to be here for anybody who needs someone to listen to them.

“You can contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or by e-mailing and a trained volunteer will always be there to listen.”

Margaret urged: “Don’t bottle things up or hide how you are feeling. Talk to us.”