HOTLINES:

Bangkok:
(02) 713-6793 (THAI)
12 noon - 22:00 hrs, 7 days/week
(02) 713-6791 (ENGLISH)
24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Chiang Mai:
(053) 225-977/8 (THAI)
19.00 - 22.00 hrs
(Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat)

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Samaritans Thailand

What is it?

An international Non-Governmental Organization founded in the UK in 1953, by Reverend Chad Varah. Presently, with more that 350 centres spread in 40 countries, the head office, under the name of "Befrienders International" (BI), is located in London. With the aim of increasing awareness of suicide as a social problem and reducing the incidence of suicide, volunteers from various walks of like will take turn to provide unconditionally free emotional support on the telephone. "Samaritans" is non-political and non-sectarian and the trained volunteers will not seek to impose their own convictions on anyone. Collaborated by a group of 40 expatriates and Thais, Samaritans of Thailand was established in 1978.

History

The question of why there were a few suicides a day in London in the post WWII period bothered Chad persistently. Likewise, upon learning that a girl of 12 killed herself due to misunderstanding about her menstruation and having no one to turn to, Chad, equipped with his background training in psychology, embarked on the idea of providing free counseling services to those in crisis. As words spreadn on, more and more people came to see him and contacts were received both by phone and in writing. In due time, he found that these people only needed a friend who would listen. Thus began the first "Samaritan" service at St. Stephen Walbrook Church in London.

Eventually, with the growing numbers of visitors, offers came in from the public who volunteered to help with administrative work. As time went by, Chad found that these helpers were able to unwittingly alleviate the misery of his visitors, having listened to them while they were waiting to see Chad himself. Consequently, he developed the concept of providing listening services by volunteers who need not only be psychologists or psychiatrists.