Samaritans

Companies

Description

Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, often through its telephone helpline. Its name derives from the biblical Parable of the Good Samaritan although the organisation itself is not religious.

Its international network exists under the name Befrienders Worldwide, which is part of the Volunteer Emotional Support Helplines (VESH) with Lifeline International and the International Federation of Telephone Emergency Services (IFOTES).

Confidentiality

Samaritans have a strict code of caller confidentiality, even after the death of a caller. Unless the caller gives consent to pass on information, confidentiality will be broken only in rare circumstances, such as when Samaritans receives bomb or terrorism warnings, to call an ambulance because a caller appears to be incapable of making rational decisions, when the caller is threatening volunteers or deliberately preventing the service being delivered to other callers, or when there is a safeguarding concern.

In November 2011, the Board of Trustees agreed a motion breaking with confidentiality in Ireland, "To provide confidential support to children but report to the Health Service Executive any contacts (from either adults or children) where it appears a child is experiencing specific situations such as those that can cause them serious harm from themselves or others."

In 2011, Facebook collaborated with Samaritans to offer help to people in distress. This led to 'cold case' calling, which some believed was an infringement on people's privacy. An Irish journalist wrote of her experience of receiving such a communication.

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