The Samaritans is the UK’s leading suicide reduction charity. It is free of charge. The organization is available 24/7 to provide confidential emotional support for those who feel overwhelmed, depressed or in crisis.
Confidential Crisis Hotline: 866-912-HOPE (4673) (toll-free) or 978-688-6607
History & Mission
The Samaritans was formed in 1980 by three local school teachers in response to an increase in the rate of teen suicide. The organization set out as a small group of volunteers aiming to reduce the incidence of suicide by providing support to those who were lonely, depressed and contemplating suicide or self-injury.
In 2004, the Samaritan joined Family Service, Inc., which now provides financial and administrative support to the Samaritans so that they may focus their full attention on the tasks of suicide prevention.
Programs & Services
To reduce the incidence of suicide, the Samaritans provide a range of services:
- 24-Hour Crisis Line is a free and confidential 24-hour crisis line for those who are lonely, despairing or suicidal. This service is provided by trained volunteers who provide unconditional and non-judgmental “TLC”—talking, listening and caring. Many callers may be suffering from mental health illness, such as depression, or may be going through a difficult time because of life’s stressors. Some are lonely, elderly, and don’t have the support of family and friends. Other callers are concerned friends and family looking for advice on how to care for a loved-one who is at-risk for suicide. The crisis line also takes calls from individuals looking for referrals to other support services in the area.
- Safe Place is a suicide survivor support group for those who have lost a loved-one to suicide. It is a place for people to share difficulties and feelings, and find support from others united by a common grief. Meetings are confidential and completely free.
- Gatekeeper Training – The Samaritans is offering a free, Department of Public Health-funded training for “gatekeepers” to reduce the incidence of suicide among people ages 55 and older in the Merrimack Valley. Gatekeepers are people who, through their personal, professional or volunteer activities, have regular contact with older adults. After the training, participants are able to assess an older adult’s suicide risk, intervene with an individual at risk, and connect older adults with ongoing professional help. Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are available for nurses, social workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) and EMTs for 6.5 hours. The Gatekeeper training is 8 hours in length and can be provided in one 8-hour session or two four-hour segments. Trainings can be held on site at interested organizations.
- Outreach and Education – Samaritans staff and volunteers provide educational support for schools, businesses, youth and senior centers, or any type of organization with constituents who may be at-risk. Samaritans provide information in outreach and education sessions to help the audience identify individuals who may be at risk, to educate them to enable them to intervene with a person at-risk, and to provide resources for those at risk.
- Postvention – Even though our emphasis is on suicide awareness and prevention, the Samaritans offer help and support to individuals and groups in the wake of a suicide. The Samaritans provide support and debriefing for schools, mental health professionals, and businesses by being on site and talking through the tragedy with an open mind and sympathetic ear. This process helps affected individuals cope with the tragedy of suicide and gives them the skills to grieve in a healthy way.
The Samaritans of Merrimack Valley is funded through a variety of public and private sources.
To become a volunteer, please call 978-688-0030.
The Samaritans is a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Northeast Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology.