Hi-tech lifesaving via e-mail
TALKING about a personal crisis doesn't come easy to everybody, and now e-mail is proving a vital link for the internet generation.The new e-mail service by the Samaritans is helping people get access to counselling in Ipswich.
By Tracey Sparling
TALKING about a personal crisis doesn't come easy to everybody, and now e-mail is proving a vital link for the internet generation.
The new e-mail service by the Samaritans is helping people get access to counselling in Ipswich.
The service was launched at the end of December, and it was welcomed by the charity's new director Jane Key who took over within days.
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Latest research shows that nationally, 54 per cent of internet calls to the Samaritans come from people expressing suicidal thoughts, compared to 23pc of telephone calls.
Mrs Key said: "Some people just can't get the words out over the phone, and they may find it easier to express what they are feeling, by typing a message.
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"Now they can e-mail to a central office and we pick up the e-mails which come from people in our area, and get in touch.
"It seems to be younger people who feel more comfortable about communicating by e-mail rather than speaking on the telephone. Many prefer to communicate in that way.
"Many young men, aged 20 to 30 contact us because they are feeling suicidal, and are under pressure at work, or having to sit exams. These are the people more likely to use e-mail too."
After being with the charity for the past seven years, Mrs Key's new role means she has taken on the extra responsibility to run the office, as well as answer calls from people in crisis.
She now co-ordinates 100 volunteers, oversees fundraising to get the £120 it costs for the office to be open every day, and organises school talks and prison work, with a team of volunteers.
The office is open from 10am to 10pm every day, and phone calls are taken on a 24-hour basis.
Last year nearly 28,000 calls were taken from people needing advice, and Mrs Key said: "It is an enormously daunting task to become the director, but I was honoured to be asked and I think people have a great deal of respect for the work the Samaritans do."
To contact the Samaritans, call 01473 211133 or e-mail email@example.com.