Suicide helpline received 5.7mn calls in 2016

Suicide helpline received 5.7mn calls in 2016
A record number of calls were made to Britain’s largest suicide helpline last year, according to new official figures.

New data published by the Samaritans shows an unprecedented 5.7 million calls being made to the charity’s helpline in 2016 – an increase of almost 300,000.

The surge followed the launch of a free confidential line at the end of 2015. The previous helpline cost callers two pence-per-minute.

More than 6,000 deaths were attributed to suicide in Britain in 2015.

“Suicide is complex but it’s also an inequality issue and a number of factors, including deprivation, can put you at increased risk,” said the organization’s chief executive Ruth Sutherland.

“Suicide is not inevitable, it’s preventable and everyone has a role to play, from politicians, parents and health workers to employers, businesses and the media,” she added.

“Even two pence a minute was enough to deter some callers, which is why we were determined to make all calls to Samaritans free. These figures show our volunteers are making the difference by being there for increasing numbers of people, but we’re just one part of the equation."

The figures were released to coincide with Volunteer’s Week, which runs until June 7.