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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 00:46 GMT
Samaritans offers online support
Frank Skinner (Samaritans)
Comic Frank Skinner supports Samaritans' campaign
The charity Samaritans is launching an e-mail service on Wednesday to help people suffering from emotional distress.


We have found that it can be easier for people to express distressing feelings by writing them down

Simon Armson, Samaritans
The organisation, which runs a free 24-hour phone helpline, is trying to reach out to the younger internet generation.

Suicide is a primary cause of death in men in their 20s and early 30s.

"E-mail is a particularly suitable service for people under the age of 35," spokeswoman Sarah Nelson told BBC News Online.

"The biggest killer of young men under the age of 35 is themselves."

Emotional health

The service is designed to appeal to those who find it hard to talk directly about their feelings or worry about people overhearing them talking.

Samaritans website
The service is aimed at the under-35s
All e-mails are confidential and aim to be answered in less than 24 hours.

They are routed to one of over 80 Samaritans branches in the UK and the Republic of Ireland which now offer the facility.

Simon Armson, chief executive of Samaritans, said e-mail provides a completely safe way for people to express themselves and gain the emotional support that can help them to find a way through.

"We have found that it can be easier for people to express distressing feelings by writing them down than by speaking about them," he said.

"Groups at a particularly high risk of suicide, such as young people, often find it especially hard to talk about difficult feelings."

Helpline numbers

Samaritans recently launched a drive to challenge stigma around emotional health.

It has rebranded its image in an attempt to appeal to anyone suffering emotional troubles as well as those at active risk of suicide.

Across the UK, Samaritans can be contacted by telephone on 08457 90 90 90 (1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland) for the price of a local call.

Samaritans can also be reached by letter at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA or by e-mail to jo@samaritans.org.

There is a single national minicom number 08457 90 91 92 (1850 60 90 91 in the Republic of Ireland) for the deaf or hard of hearing.

See also:

09 Oct 00 | Scotland
19 May 00 | Health
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