#TalkToUs: New Samaritans research reveals one in three avoid sharing problems

A national charity are calling for people to speak out after new research revealed that nearly a third of the UK say they don’t like to burden others with their problems.

The figures, published today to launch Samaritans’ awareness raising #TalkToUs campaign, also reveal that more than one in five (21.4%) people sometimes feel overwhelmed by their troubles, but one in nine (11.4%) feel they don’t have anyone to share them with.

Other barriers to opening up about what’s bothering us include feeling embarrassed (14.4%), feeling weak (10.2%), feeling judged (8.3%) and being seen as ‘weird’ (6.4%).

Samaritans’ Chair, experienced volunteer Jenni McCartney, explained that talking can really help people to see a way through their problems.

“There’s nothing weak or weird about talking about what’s getting to you. Recognising your need to talk is a strength,” she said.

“Everyone’s different and what one person might cope with can easily overwhelm another.”

“Our volunteers can support you, whatever you’re going through – work stress, money troubles, family difficulties, sexuality issues, or a big life event.

“Samaritans volunteers are here round the clock every day of the year to listen in confidence about whatever you need to share.”

For those of us who do feel able to share, the person we are most likely to go to is a partner (34.4%), then a friend (20.1%).  

Just under one in seven of us (13.1%) will sadly just bottle it up, and nearly one in ten of us (9.2%) will avoid people and spend time alone.

Over and above big life events such as a bereavement, redundancy or divorce, the survey also asked people to list the day to day things that have been bothering them the most in the last 12 months.

The top five in order are relationships (48.6%), work (46.6%), home life (36.1%), physical health (36.1%) and family arguments (32.3%).

Also ranking highly were finances (26.3%), income (25.6%), mental health (23.8%) and debt (20%).

Deputy CEO of Samaritans, Fiona Malcolm, hoped the #TalkToUs campaign will reach people who may not realise its services are there for everyone.

“If you are struggling to cope, the benefits of sharing your concerns can be absolutely huge,” he said.  

“People who have contacted Samaritans tell us that feeling listened to, understood and cared for has helped them feel better and less alone.  

“Even if their problem couldn’t be resolved by the end of their exchange with us, simply the process of sharing was sometimes enough to start the process of healing, leading to taking positive action or seeking other forms of help.”    

Throughout the month of July, Samaritans volunteers up and down the country will be staging events to raise awareness of the services they provide in their local communities.

To find out about #TalkToUs events in your local area, please go to

Image courtesy of Carolyn Tiry, with thanks.

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