22 December

In 2016, nearly half of people questioned in a poll for the Samaritans said that they hide their real feelings at Christmas to keep other people happy. If you need someone to talk to this Christmas, please do not hesitate to call the Samaritans free of charge on 116 123.

The Samaritans was founded in 1953 by a clergyman who had to conduct a funeral for a girl who killed herself thinking she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease when, in fact, she was menstruating. The name came from a Daily Mirror headline. At the time, incidentally, suicide was a 'crime' - later one of the many social changes made by the Labour Government of 1964-70.

These days The Samaritans provide emotional support, rather than just being a line of last resort for people with suicidal feelings. Their number is 116 123 from any phone - if you think you are a good listener you can volunteer and they will train you.