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Q&A: Matt Gray from Samaritans

2 minute read

The UK Domain

Samaritans provides around the clock emotional support for anyone that needs it, whatever they’re going through. The unique charity’s 20,000 volunteers provide emotional support over the phone, by text message, email or face-to-face in one of the 201 branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The service is non-judgemental, confidential and completely free.

As part of Nominet’s focus on delivering public benefit initiatives that help transform lives through the internet and digital technology, from 9th December 2019 until 17th January 2020 we’ll be donating £1 to Samaritans for every new, paid for .UK domain registered. Use our handy search tool below to find your new domain today.

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Before launching, we caught up with Matt Gray, Corporate Account Manager at Samaritans, to get his thoughts on how they’re expanding their service to continue to help the people getting in touch 365 days a year.

How has the way people contact Samaritans been changing?

I think at Samaritans we’re primarily known for our helpline – 116 123 – however, we’re seeing an increase in people contacting us in different ways.

The way people communicate is changing. In 2018 our amazing volunteers sent 675,000 texts – 17 per cent more than the year before – and more than 330,000 calls for help by email – 15 per cent more than the year before[1].

But we need to keep evolving to continue to meet demand. That’s why we’re developing an online chat service available in 2020, so that people can communicate with us in a way that works for them.  

How does Samaritans support young people?

Young people contact us for a variety of reasons – from loneliness to relationship problems and debt.

Our research has shown that younger people are one of the groups that can find it more difficult to use Samaritans’ helpline, and may prefer to access self-help materials online.[2]

But navigating the world of online self-help can be difficult, and it’s crucial that resources are trustworthy and effective. Therefore it’s vital that we evolve to meet the needs of young people who are likely to be looking for support online.

What does the new online chat service mean for Samaritans?

The new online chat service will enable Samaritans to continue to be there for people who desperately need our help.

It means we can be available for people via a real-time, one-to-one, written word service delivered directly via any browser to their device or desktop.

Thanks to Nominet and the funds raised through new domain registrations, Samaritans will be able to take our online chat from one-off pilots to a consistent service.

Matt Gray, Corporate Account Manager at Samaritans: 

Find out more about how we’re supporting Samaritans.

[1] Samaritans Impact Report 2017-18 https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/our-organisation/annual-reports-and-accounts/

[2] Samaritans’ Young People & Suicide Report https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/young-people-suicide/

A collection of articles written collaboratively by members of the UK Domain Team.

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