Hello. I'm Wondering If People Have Had Bad Experiences With The Samaritans Helpline Or Other Suicide Helpline.

I wanted to start this group because I'm really interested in the experiences of people phoning the samaritans helpline, especially in the UK where I am, but I'm interested in the experiences of anyone calling a "suicide" helpline. I have called Samaritans at times when I'm feeling very low and depressed, and often felt worse as a result. I find them to be almost deliberately obtuse and not understanding what I'm saying, even though I explain it as clearly as possible. They don't seem to listen actively, they don't pick up on the gist of what I'm saying, and there are long silences which make me feel very uncomfortable. For example, today I called them and among other things was explaining that someone had let me down who I was supposed to have an appointment with. I explained that I had been unsure if the person was coming or not as they hadn't confirmed, though they had wanted to see me, so I had texted them to ask them if they were coming. They had replied after the appointment time had passed saying they were in a church meeting. I said to the Samaritan this had made me very angry, and she responded with a very surprised, "Really? Why did that make you angry?" Her response not only seemed rather judgemental, but showed she really wasn't following what I had been saying, my general mood or what seems to me to be something quite straightfoward... I was angry because I'd been left not knowing if this person was coming or not, which impinged on my day, and he hadn't bothered to contact me before the meeting time to say he couldn't come. Not rocket science. Anyway, her reaction was the opposite of empathy. I have many bad experiences like this with samaritans, this is just one of hundreds, some much worse. I sometimes think they are being deliberately unhelpful. There will no doubt be those of you who think I shouldn't complain as they are a voluntary helpline, but I don't agree with that, they are supposed to be there to help people who are feeling very low, and I ring them only as a last resort, however 80 percent of the time I feel even worse after. The twenty percent of good experiences have kept me going back in the hope I will have a good one. I'd be interested in genuine experiences people have had particuarly of sams in UK, as I've not phoned any other, but also other suicide helpline experiences, good or bad. Many thanks.
An Ep User An EP User
1 Response Jan 20, 2013

I am in total agreement with what you have said. I have been calling samaritans for 10 years in the uk and i have found them to be very robotic in their responses for the most part. Only about 1 in 10 have responded in any kind of spontaneous way most just go through a routine of by the numbers and linear procedure. This is very frustrating and most do not know how to talk about loneiness and isolation. If you would like to talk further about this or any other subject please message me. Thanks

Hi wanderer. I realise you sent this message 2 years ago, but I have only just seen it, sorry. I would be happy to talk to you in messages if you like, but please be aware I may take a while to reply. thanks so much to responding to my post.