Who We Are
Samaritans USA (SAMS USA) is the coalition of the eight community-based Samaritans suicide prevention centers in the United States whose mission is: 1) to provide immediate and ongoing emotional support to those who are in crisis or have lost a loved one to suicide; 2) to teach lay and professional caregivers and service providers the most effective methods to prevent suicide; 3) to educate caregivers, service providers, academics, those in government, industry and the general public about the public health problem posed by suicide and the best means to prevent it.
The major means of implementing that mission is through Samaritans volunteer-staffed suicide prevention hotlines which provide emotional support to those who are distressed, in crisis or suicidal through a non-judgmental, active listening approach we call "befriending" with the goal of alleviating the person's despair, isolation and suicidal feelings.
A member of the world's oldest and largest suicide prevention network, with 400 centers in 42 countries, SAMS USA Center's hotline volunteers (who donate an estimated 100,000 hours on an annual basis) respond to approximately 250,000 calls a year from those in crisis; our paid and volunteer staff train thousands of frontline caregivers in the keys to suicide prevention and Samaritans' non-judgmental principles; and our Safe Place suicide survivor support programs provide solace to hundreds of individuals annually who have lost a loved one to suicide.
The national organization, SAMS USA, is 25 years old and acts as a collective association that allows the various branches to share information and materials, program and staff development, advertising and marketing techniques, hotline policies and procedures, etc. Leadership and staffing of the national organization has rotated over the years and currently resides with The Samaritans of New York. The Samaritans of Boston provides the same role to the international network, Befrienders Worldwide. The Samaritans branches have approximately 30 paid staff and a combined hotline staff that ranges between 400 and 500 volunteers on an annual basis.
Samaritans centers provide programs and services that are adapted and tailored to their respective community's needs. Samaritans in Boston operates a Samariteens hotline for adolescents, hosts major awareness events for the business and corporate sectors and is a founding member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention. Samaritans in Providence is part of a community health network and works closely with the state's colleges and universities. In New York City, Samaritans is the key provider of suicide prevention education for the public school system.
Some Samaritans branches are part of the (800) 273-TALK network, some are also AAS or CONTACT USA certified, some are contracted by their local city or state government to provide programs and services and some through legislative mandate. No matter what their organizational structure or funding, every Samaritans center plays a significant role in providing its community with suicide prevention services, works collaboratively to implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention as well as advocating for and providing leadership on their local and/or statewide suicide prevention planning councils.