Samaritans: How Long Is Too Long?

The Samaritans, when I phone them, these days, are taking far too long to get somebody to do a pickup. Recently, it was 31 minutes. During the waiting, a male voice recording said that this year’s longest was 40 minutes. I think that the service is wasting away, due to its own popularity, or due to a lack of volunteers. Do any of you ever use their service?

Must admit that I’ve never used them… Good question as to whether the delay is down to increase demand or lower availability. Probably a combination of both.

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Only association I have had with them was concerned with telephone work in a local office they used while working for BT.

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No I don’t and I’m sorry you have to Ian.


Thanks, PSmith.

I’ve been phoning them so much, last year, and this year, they now consult me about the call centre decor! They always remember me, though, because…whenever they eventually pick up and hear my voice, they sigh and say, “Oh, it’s you!”


I don’t need to call them either, though it is LIfeline Australia where I live.

As I recall a recent study reported that Lifeline answered something like 45% of calls within 90 seconds, presumably that also means that 55% weren’t answered within 90 seconds so it isn’t an isolated problem.

I hope you get the help you need @Ian_Haines

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Thanks, for that, Bruce! :slight_smile:

I do wonder whether if they recognize your number before picking up they delay - not saying they should just wondering??

I’ll be honest and say I phoned them around 25 yrs ago, I got through very quickly, I even had someone come out to my bungalow, that I was living in at the time, they listen and that’s all they can do, they can’t give you advice, not then anyway.

I needed that listening ear, because I was literally self harming, hitting my hands with a hammer…no one was listening to me…( family) so I rang them and God knows how many others, just to be heard…it’s the listening that I was in desperation of.


I’m both glad they’re there for you Ian and sorry you need to use them

Times have been tough for everyone for so long and getting worse, so I expect demand has increased

And they have to both get more suitable volunteers and then train them.

I used to have a next door neighbour who was a Samaritan and although she never, ever discussed the people or the situations they were in, she was a special person. It can’t be easy to find volunteers who are that non -judgemental and kind

I see they have partnered with Beder, an organisation working to prevent suicide, so perhaps that’s led to more calls

On their website, it says they are piloting a we chat and I looked at their self-help app, which does look good

I really hope they aren’t struggling and can continue to provide their service, they must have saved so many lifes and brought comfort to many more over the years

If you need to speak to someone then hold Ian, even if it is half an hour :two_hearts:

And if you can afford to make a little donation to help them out, that would be nice

I just had a look at their online shop and I think I’ll get my Christmas cards from them this year

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Hi Ian , the Sams are struggling to get support and it’s hit and miss in answering times . It doesn’t matter how often you call don’t feel difficult they are happy to listen and support . Are you calling the free phone number 116123 ? You can also call the nearest support centre using their phone number, that may be quicker it should be in the phone book . You can email them and text too , email helps to write your feelings down and they always reply and you can reply also .

Of course they can’t fix anyone but they are kind and talking sometimes does help .

When you ring the freephone number it can be answered by any office from North to South depending which line is free . They will chat with you until they feel you feel a little lighter and then take another call but you can always call them back they don’t mind .

Your phone number never shows up when you ring the freephone number you are anonymous always, and you are safe with them , all confidential I assure you. So do keep on calling when you need to .

Life is harsh at times and difficult when we live alone . Many here understand



I’m glad that you overcame that problem, in that time of life, Pauline. It must’ve been like being reborn. The Samaritans of today can ask the caller if they’ve considered trying to do this, do that, etc…and that’s pretty helpful, in itself. Thanks, for your reply. :slight_smile:

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@Ian_Haines, I suspect that you might find it very hard to get through to the Samaritans for a while, since Tory MP’s will be clogging all of the lines :wink:

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It sure was,Ian, Amen!!..:heartpulse::pray:

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Thanks, for your reply, Maree.

Given that I’m going nowhere, I think I probably will hold for as long as it takes. Some of the Sams have been incredibly good, last year and this year, with me. They’ve changed for the much better, over the last 12 years. :slight_smile:


From now on, I’ll open with, “I voted Tory, once, and I can’t live with it!” BANG!


Another thing that helped me Ian, if I may say, cognitive therapy, I had a fantastic counsellor, it took me quite a few therapists to get to the right one though.

Plus it wasn’t cheap, I had to pay…:heartpulse:

I had mental health problems for many years, only it wasn’t diagnosed in my time.


Yes. I’m using the 116123 number. I have it on my speed dial, which is pretty sad, in itself, really. Life can be harsh, certainly. I’ve been through far worse than I’ve been, this year, and I doubt I’d get super-bad, again. I’ve learned a few tricks, over the last 51 years of being certifiably bonkers. Diary keeping is good, too.

Thanks, for your reply.

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My telephone therapy started on Monday, and it’s all CBT against the depression, by mutual agreement. I’ve been through a lot of therapists, in my time, and the police have never managed to find where I buried them all. :slight_smile:


No I haven’t called the Samaritans .

I suppose if you are able to hang on for 30 or 40 minutes you aren’t in immediate danger of doing anything drastic.

Ian I’m sorry to hear you’ve needed to call the Samaritans .
I hope you will soon find contentment.