The Derry branch of the Samaritans dealt with an average of 65 calls and messages a day throughout 2013.
Over the course of the year the local branch had 23,767 contacts made by phone, email, texts and visits.
The director of the organisation locally, Rosemary O’Doherty said the service, which is available 24 hours a day, is traditionally busy over the Christmas period.
“For some people the bright lights of Christmas can actually emphasise any problems they may have. Seeing everyone else apparently having fun all around them can be really tough, especially if they are on their own, or even and sometimes especially if they are with family and friends.But it is important to remember that however low you are feeling there is always someone there at the end of the line and Samaritans is totally confidential,” she said.
A volunteer who worked Christmas Day in Derry last year said: “People ring in with all manner of life’s problems, usually when they feel they can’t cope. No one is immune to feeling lonely. We can be surrounded by family and friends and still feel the need to speak to someone who doesn’t know us. In fact many of our callers will often say that it’s easier to talk to a stranger rather than someone they are close to, and that it helps just knowing we’ll keep whatever they say private.”
To contact the Samaritans call 71265511, email email@example.com, text 07725909090 or call at 16, Clarendon Street from 10am to 10pm.