Samaritans: “We are your safe space”

Lucy Donoughue
By Lucy Donoughue,
updated on Mar 24, 2021

Samaritans: “We are your safe space”

Samaritan’s Lucia Capobianco joins Happiful’s podcast to talk about the work Samaritans do, how to get help if you’re having suicidal thoughts, and ways to open up a conversation if you think someone is struggling

There’s been an increase in conversations about suicide in the media over the past few weeks, and as Happiful continually sets out to challenge stigma around mental health and to provide a supportive community - we wanted to offer information about the support available if you, or for someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

We’re delighted that Lucia Capobianco from Samaritans offered to speak on Happiful’s podcast about what Samaritans does, what will happen when you call or email and the help available for people who are worried about a loved ones’ mental health.

TW: This article focuses in some depth on the subject of suicide, so please be advised if you think this might be triggering for you.

You can call Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123 or email [email protected]

Who can contact Samaritans?

  • Sometimes there’s a perception that you can only contact Samaritans when you’re at crisis point, that’s simply not true. Samaritans are there for everyone and anyone, at any time.

  • Our vision is to live in a world where fewer people die by suicide and to do that we want to get to people earlier. We know that talking and listening helps, so we encourage people to contact us before they get to crisis point.

What can someone do if they’re having suicidal thoughts?

  • The important thing to say is that all of us will experience suicidal thoughts differently. It’s a frightening time and we don’t always recognise when we’re in it, and what is going on.

  • It’s important for people to know that reaching out and asking for help is a good thing. When you’re in a very low place, it’s not always the first thing you think about doing. You may feel like you’re a burden and that could be driving suicidal thoughts.

  • I would say please have a look at the Samaritans website, there’s lots of resources on there that can help you and guide you on how to take care of yourself when you’re in that space.

  • My advice, always, would be to reach out and say “I’m not ok, I need to talk.” Samaritans phone line (116 123) is always there, if you prefer not to speak to anyone - that’s quite common - you can email [email protected]



  • When you’re in that position, I don’t think anyone can push you to reach out. It has to be your decision to do it. You have to be ready to talk. What I would say is that the Samaritans is your safe space - we won’t judge you, we simply want to create a place for you to pour all those feelings and thoughts into.

  • You may be worried about talking to family and friends if you’re having suicidal thoughts. Samaritans is remote - phone call or email - you can’t see the person you’re talking to. It’s confidential in the sense that it’s a private space, and you have no relationship with the person you’re speaking to, except for that moment in time.

  • I don’t think you can ever underestimate the energy and courage it takes to make that first step but you’ll be talking to someone who is completely unconnected to your life, so it’s possibly easier than a conversation with people you do know, and you can really surface how you feel and what you’re thinking.

  • Samaritans will talk to you about how you’ve come to that place, what’s happened, what your thoughts and feelings are, what you think you might do and what you’d like to do. Our hope is that by having that really open conversation with you, and enabling you to say “life is really hard, I’m struggling and I’m not sure I want to be here”, that we can explore with you why you say that, what you’d like to change and what your options are.

By having that time and space to put those dark thoughts and feelings out there, they then realise that they have options open to them

  • Often what we see is that people come full circle. By having that time and space to put those dark thoughts and feelings out there, they then realise that they have options open to them and they start to come out of that darkness.

What can we do if we’re worried about someone else?

  • Firstly, it’s important to say that if you’re worried about someone, you can’t make it worse by asking them how they are, if they’re ok.

  • Samaritans have a simple model for talking to someone you’re worried about. It’s called SHUSH on our website - it’s showing you care, have patience, use open questions, show you’re listening, have the courage to take the first step.

  • It’s really important to remain calm when you’re having those conversations, watch your body language and how you respond. That can make all the difference.


Samaritans are here 365 a year, 24 days a year. We’re a safe space and we have time for you. Please don’t wait until you feel you’re at crisis point, please do talk, we know it helps, we know it works.

Listen to the full episode of Samaritans - Talking About Suicide

You can call Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 or email [email protected]
Find out more at Samaritans.org
Read more about the SHUSH model of speaking with people

To find the right therapist for you visit Counselling Directory

Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

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