• Cyril McAree

Loneliness And Isolation A Growing Issue As Covid-19 Impacts On Social Networks – Samaritans Ireland

Loneliness or isolation is a growing issue for both young and older people across the country, according to Samaritans Ireland. Four out of 10 callers to the service reference loneliness or isolation in calls to the charity.  The Charity revealed this statistic on the day they announced a new partnership with Calor Ireland.





Samaritans Ireland handles around half a million calls in a year from people across the island of Ireland, answering more than 1,000 calls on any given day.  Every 49 seconds, someone contacts Samaritans in Ireland.  The Samaritans free helpline is 116 123.

Covid-19 has magnified many of the issues for callers, such as isolation and loneliness, anxiety and mental health, family and relationship issues, and financial worries. These issues look likely to continue to prevail for some time to come. Coronavirus isn’t necessarily the main feature of most calls, but it’s in the background if not the foreground of quite a lot of calls at the moment.


Samaritans provide emotional support to those who need it most 24/7, 365 days a year across the island of Ireland. Calor Gas, one Ireland’s longest established energy suppliers, is proud to announce a new partnership with Samaritans Ireland. 

Niall Mulligan, Executive Director for Samaritans Ireland, said:

“Covid-19 has placed additional strain on many people, particularly on their mental health and wellbeing. Many of their social outlets, such as workplaces, clubs and community groups have been unable to open, depriving them of the informal support networks they are used to. The outlets that people normally use every day to share their worries have not been available. This has impacted on people’s mental health, and has left a large number of people feeling isolated and alone. Now more than ever, people need a place to turn to for help and support. 

At this time in particular, we’re delighted that Calor Gas has chosen Samaritans Ireland as its first charity partner. Through a network of 2,300 amazing volunteers in 22 branches across the island of Ireland, Samaritans is a lifeline for those who have nowhere else to turn. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing a crucial listening service for vulnerable people. Our partnership with Calor will support us in our efforts to help those who need it most, ensuring our message of ‘Talk to Us’ is highlighted for local communities across the length and breadth of Ireland.”

Through the new partnership with Calor, Samaritans can answer over 4,000 additional calls for help. The support could save people’s lives and change countless others for the better. Through employee engagement, Samaritans can provide training to Calor employees to be active listeners.  Calor will also promote the Samaritans Ireland contact details to customers and on their marketing material. 

Every day, Calor works closely with heating installers and other small businesses across Ireland to help them meet the needs of their customers. Self-employed tradesmen are a particularly vulnerable group in terms of mental health.  This sad statistic resonated strongly with the Calor team, knowing the pressure that many small-business owners face, now more than ever.

Calor CEO Duncan Osborne explains the reason why they have chosen to support Samaritans Ireland:

“Samaritans are Calor Ireland’s first charity partner.  Calor is an all - island business, rooted in communities and our staff across the island chose Samaritans as being the charity that we wanted to support.  We understand the pressures that people are under, particularly during Covid-19, and we felt that Samaritans volunteers make a real difference to many people’s lives. 

“Our sponsorship will not only include a financial commitment but also marketing support and volunteer hours.  We want to help grow awareness of the work which Samaritans do and to support that work.”

Covid-19 has posed many challenges for Samaritans Ireland.  Like many volunteer-led charities, Samaritans had to work hard to minimise disruption to its vital helpline so that volunteers could continue to support those struggling to cope. Samaritans branches work together to ensure there is a 24/7 telephone response available for people who ring the 24-hour 116 123 free helpline.  Help is also available online from jo@samaritans.org (NI) or jo@samaritans.ie (ROI),or visit www.samaritans.ie for more options.  You can also download Samaritans’ self-help app, where you can keep track of how you are feeling and get recommendations for things you can do to feel better and stay safe in a crisis. 

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