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12:00am 9th December 2010
(Updated 6:57am 10th December 2010)

Snow and Ice Increase Calls to Samaritans

With winter firmly set all around York, for many people the snow and ice have implications beyond travel, work and shopping. Severe weather restricts many elderly people to their homes and for those living alone bad weather can mean days or even weeks in total isolation. At times like this, Samaritans offers a friendly voice and a regular point of human contact for those unable to get out of their homes.

This was evident during last January's extended cold snap when the number of calls to Samaritans increased significantly during the worst of the winter weather. Those living alone, the disabled and older callers were able to ring for support and they often reported their distress at being isolated and losing their regular daily and weekly routines. These routines provide important contact for many, and visits from health care professionals and other carers offer key support during the winter months.

Paul Moran, spokesperson for York Samaritans said:
"Obviously the bad weather affects us all, but those unable to get out during the icy conditions suffer the most. They rely on a regular trip to the local shop or to the surgery for some human contact and losing this can have a big impact.

People can feel more down during the winter, and bad weather can affect people's mood and outlook too. When it's cold and dark, and days pass without seeing or talking to anyone, the phone line to Samaritans is a valuable outlet for many lonely people."

With the cold spell expected to last for a while yet, the advice is to remember elderly neighbours, and anyone else you think may be vulnerable; check on them during bad weather, especially when icy conditions may restrict them to their homes. Fear of slipping on ice, or falling, is a common concern that Samaritans hear and it's a real worry for some York residents again as we approach the Christmas period which brings its own worries and pressures for the isolated. Samaritans are available 24/7 when people feel distressed by the impact of the current severe weather.

People can contact Samaritans by phone tel: 01904 655 888, email jo@samaritans.org or face-to-face at 89 Nunnery Lane, Bishopthorpe, York, North Yorkshire YO23 1AH.

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