Mental health charity Samaritans takes 134 million calls in its 70 year history as anniversary marked

Suicide prevention charity Samaritans has answered 134 million calls in the charity's 70-year history. (Credit: Adobe)Suicide prevention charity Samaritans has answered 134 million calls in the charity's 70-year history. (Credit: Adobe)
Suicide prevention charity Samaritans has answered 134 million calls in the charity's 70-year history. (Credit: Adobe) | Gary L Hider - stock.adobe.com
The charity is marking its 70th anniversary this year, with a special appearance at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Mental health charity Samaritans has revealed that it has answered 134 million calls from people in need in the organisation's seven-decade history.

The charity also revealed that in 2022, every second of the year saw their call handlers speaking to someone in need of assistance. The scale of the work in suicide prevention has been described as "life-saving work" by the group's CEO Julie Bentley.

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Samaritans, which specialises in suicide prevention, released the statistic as celebrations for its 70th anniversary kick off. The scale of the charity's work has also been released during Mental Health Awareness Week 2023.

As part of the 70th anniversary, a special show garden will be on display at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The flower show is set to take place from Monday 22 May until Saturday 27 May.

The 'Listening Garden' has been designed by Darren Hawkes, an award-winning garden designer, with funding from Project Giving Back. The garden itself has been inspired by the stories of those who have had their lives saved by Samaritans.

Hawkes has also worked closely with Samaritans in the past, having volunteered for the charity. He said: “It’s been a privilege to design a thought-provoking show garden that represents the complexity of mental health. Sadly, I’ve lost friends to suicide and becoming a volunteer and designing this garden for Samaritans seemed like the perfect way to honour them.”

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Joining him will be Great British Bake Off star and mental health podcaster Laura Adlington, actor Jason Flemyng and author Elizabeth Day. Day, who is also an ambassador for Samaritans, said: “I can’t wait to visit Samaritans’ Listening Garden next week, which honours the journey that callers have when they reach out for help.

"Starting as a phone line 70 years ago, the charity has evolved so much to achieve the countless ways it reaches and supports people from all communities today. I hope Chelsea visitors enjoy both the beauty and the meaning behind the garden, and Samaritans finds new supporters to join them on their mission to reduce lives lost to suicide.”

Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans, said: “We are so grateful to Darren and Project Giving Back for gifting us with this unique opportunity to raise awareness of the life saving work Samaritans does, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Last year, Samaritans volunteers spent almost 1 million hours responding to calls for help. Darren’s role as one of our 23,000 amazing volunteers has led him to create a beautiful representation of something he knows first hand - that listening can save lives. As we mark 70 years, we hope that visitors will be inspired to support us in whatever way they can, to ensure Samaritans continues to be there in the future.”

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