Samaritans are reminding those in need that their helpline will be open during their darkest hours if they are lonely or struggling to cope this Christmas.
Volunteers on the 24-hour-helpline answered almost 40,000 calls in Ireland in December last year, with more than 50 volunteers answering over 1,150 calls and written contacts on Christmas Day alone.
Landmarks across Kilkenny and Carlow are also lighting up in green to mark the Longest Night, to show people Samaritans are here for them during the long dark nights.
Kilkenny Castle ,City Hall ,Watergate Theatre ,Lady Anne in Creamery House Castlecomer, are among those turning green on Monday, December 21st - the winter solstice – to support Samaritan’s Christmas campaign.
Donal Ryan branch director, said: “It has been an unprecedented year with the pandemic affecting so many people’s health and wellbeing and this will be a very different Christmas for many people.
“We know that people struggle more at Christmas, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home. We want people to know that we are available 24/7 for everyone on freephone 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
“We also want to thank our local community for supporting us on the Longest Night and helping to get the message out that we’re there everyone during the long dark winter nights.”
Among the volunteers on duty this Christmas Day will be Bernie Keane and her brother Thomas Carbery, who will be on duty together in Samaritans Waterford branch. (can change to a local vol/pic)
“I find it very rewarding to volunteer on Christmas Day,” said Bernie, who joined Samaritans 12 years ago.
“A lot of places close for Christmas and there are very lonely people, some with mental health issues, who may not see anyone for the whole of Christmas. Giving them 15 minutes just to talk to someone can make a difference.”
Thomas joined Samaritans five years ago when he retired as a sergeant in the Irish Defence Forces.
“It's nice to be there at Christmas when people need you and when they do not have anyone else to chat to. You could be the only person they talk to all day. It’s a good feeling to know you have been there for that person,” he added.
We are also appealing for funds to support Kilkenny Carlow this Christmas. Donations can be made directly to your local branch via the donate link at www.samaritans.org/branches/kilkenny or pop in to our shop on Kieran Street.
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