n. a British voluntary organization providing a telephone service for the suicidal and despairing. Started in 1953 by the Rev. Chad Varah in the cellars of a London church (St Stephen, Walbrook) with one telephone, it now has over 200 branches throughout the country manned by some 22,000 volunteers. It offers a free, nonprofessional, confidential, and (if required) anonymous service at all hours. Samaritans offer little advice, believing that their clients will be helped to make their own decisions by talking to someone who cares.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.