Christmas is a joyous time of year filled with laughter, food and lots of presents (and maybe a few glasses of eggnog for good measure).
But for many people, Christmas can be a time of loneliness. Perhaps their loved ones have passed on or moved away, or they have been cast out onto the street. Or, they simply see other people’s social media posts in which everyone else seems to be surrounded by friends and enjoying their gifts from Santa — not a welcome sight if you’re celebrating with ready meals for one and stroking your cat until you fall asleep.
As hard as the holidays can be for those who feel lonely, all hope is not lost: the Samaritans are here to lend an ear and open their hearts to you in your time of need.
The Samaritans will simply listen to your problems, whether you are feeling overwhelmed, lonely or suicidal. They offer complete confidentiality and support no matter how deep and difficult your problem is. They have 201 branches across the UK which are open around the clock, every single day of the year.
It has been reported that half a million elderly people feel lonelier than ever on Christmas day, and this year will be no different. Older people feel ashamed to speak up or assume that they would be a burden on others — the Samaritans are here for them, too. As previously mentioned, they also help assuage callers’ suicidal thoughts, which are often high during the holidays.
Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “Suicide is quite possibly the biggest public health issue of our time because of the impact it has on families, workplaces and entire communities. Every death is an absolute tragedy leaving devastation in its wake. These figures emphasise the urgency with which we as a society need to work together to prevent needless loss of life.”
The results of Samaritans’ work has been noted time and time again by its patrons.
“The fact that somebody understood, did not criticise, did not palm me off, did not judge or advise… gave me back my confidence in me as a person,” an anonymous Samaritans caller said.
The Samaritans can help you get back on your feet both physically and emotionally. Thousands of people call in, even well-known celebrities who feel like they have nobody else to turn to. Take as The Only Way is Essex star Charlie King:
“I called six or seven times in total, and speaking to the Samaritans really helped me to put my thoughts in order and gave me the reassurance I needed that everything would be ok,” King said.
He managed to get advice from his GP and get back on his feet. He continues to bring happiness back into his life through socialising, regular exercise and remembering to take time out for himself.
As for what we can do to help, the Samaritans have begun their own campaign to encourage everyone to have a “Real Christmas” by reaching out to family members and celebrating with them. If you’ve seen the hash tag #RealChristmas, it isn’t just about Instagram filters and pictures of presents — it’s all about the people who matter the most or just the people who need you the most this Christmas. Share your own photos and help strengthen the movement.
And, most importantly, think of those that have nothing this Christmas, because we can all do a little something to help.
If you are feeling lonely on the run up to Christmas please contact the Samaritans by phone:
Or via e-mail:
— Sophie Ogden