Tel. 116 123 any time if you are in distress

You’ll find references to The Samaritans on quite a few posts in this glossary already but I thought it might be helpful add a post specifically about their service as well.

They are there to listen to anyone who is struggling, for any reason at all. It’s a very common misconception that The Samaritans’ main service is to offer telephone support to people who are at risk of suicide. Actually, they explain on their website that only 1 in 5 people who contact them are having thoughts about taking their own life.

The Samaritans are wonderful. They are kind, patient, will talk with you for as long as you feel you need to and, most importantly of all – they are non-judgemental. I can say all of that with confidence as I have called them many times over the decades – I have called them when I have felt hopeless to the extreme and I’ve called them when I have been frightened and lonely. They are always, always, gently spoken, calm and supportive. You don’t need to plan what you’re going to say, just call them and they will take it from there.

Ways to contact The Samaritans:

  • Call them FREE on 116 123 any time. They are available to talk 24 hours a day, every day of the year – calling them is the quickest way to reach them. They have many, many volunteers waiting to listen to you. Even if you have no call credit left, this call will still get through to them. The volunteer you speak to won’t be able to see your telephone number.


Webchat messaging is another FREE option that they are trialling as many people find talking on the phone problematic, for all sorts of reasons.

    • This is the link → Samaritans Web Chat.
    • When you click on that link it will tell you an approximate idea of how many minutes waiting time there are. (At the moment (7pm on a Monday evening) it’s five minutes but I have been there and seen it saying 40 minutes wait at times – so this is really for less urgent contact or if a telephone call isn’t appropriate in your situation.)
    • Once you are ready, click on the button that says enter the waiting room and you can start typing your message while you’re waiting there for your turn.
    • When it’s your turn the volunteer will only be messaging with you. You will have their full attention and it isn’t a chatbot – it’s a real person.


Email is another FREE option open to you. Their email address is: and don’t worry, the volunteer won’t be shown your private email address, but will still be able to respond.


By post – like all of the other options, this is FREE. You only need to write this on the envelope: Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS and obviously, in order to receive a reply, you’ll need to tell them your name and address.


Face-to-face support is offered in some of their branches.. You can check the services that your local branch offers by clicking here → Find a branch. Again, this is FREE and you’re under no obligation to share any personal details (name, address etc).


You may prefer to use their self-help app, which you can find here → Samaritans Self-HelpYou can also create an account so that you can track your moods and create a ‘safety plan’.


I’d like to take this opportunity to thank one of The Gentle Autistic Community members for fundraising for The Samaritans by walking 50 miles with her dog in November. Well done, T!

A Samaritan answers a call to listen to someone every ten seconds. If you would like to support this charity to continue doing so, you can find plenty of ways to do so by clicking here: Help The Samaritans.