Telecoms providers join Samaritans to launch new helpline number

25 Mar 2014

Anyone in Ireland who is struggling to cope with issues in their lives can now receive help via a new free-to-call number, 116 123, the result of a partnership between Samaritans and the telecommunications industry.

The six largest telecoms providers in the country – BT Ireland, eircom Group, O2, Three, UPC and Vodafone Ireland – have committed to a two-year funding programme for the number.

The number is open round the clock and every single day of the year.

Catherine Brogan, executive director of Samaritans Ireland, said seeing the industry come together to help vulnerable people in this way is a positive step.

“We hope that knowing the call is free of charge will encourage more people who need us to contact Samaritans, in particular some of the most vulnerable groups in society,” Brogan added.

Kathleen Lynch, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for mental health, also attended the launch of the new number.

“In this day and age, we all know someone who is finding it difficult to cope and we know that it’s important that people speak about the issues that are getting them down,” she said.

“The fact that the Samaritans answer over 380,000 calls per year is indicative of the importance of this service. Few services operate around the clock like Samaritans, which makes it vital in the area of suicide prevention.”

Talking on phone image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic