Celebrating 50 Years

Our Story

Two people stand next to a Samaritans sign.

The first Samaritans organization was founded in the United Kingdom with the philosophy that compassionate, nonjudgmental listening can prevent suicide.

In the 1970s, Monica Dickens wanted to bring that idea to Boston, Massachusetts. She spent a year gathering support and raising funds. Eventually, she secured a free space in the basement of Arlington Street Church to make her dream a reality.

On April 4, 1974, the first American branch of Samaritans was founded with just 22 volunteers, rotary phones, and an open door.

Finding Hope in Human Connection

From our humble beginnings, we have grown and flourished, touching countless lives along the way. Though our work has changed over the years, one thing remains the same — everything we do is human connection. At the heart of our work lies a simple yet profound belief in the power of empathy and understanding to heal and transform lives. 

Our 50 Year Impact

Since day one, Samaritans has offered a Helpline for people to call when they are feeling lonely, struggling with thoughts of suicide, or worried about a loved one. Fifty years later, our 24/7 Helpline — now part of the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline — and Hey Sam textline for young people offer an essential lifeline to those in distress.

But suicide prevention is more than crisis services. Our grief support programs provide a safe, healing community for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. And, our educational workshops help schools, workplaces, and organizations learn to take care of their own mental health and support others. Together, we can create a world without suicide.

3M

calls, texts, and chats answered

180K

people educated

17K

loss survivors supported

6.5K

volunteers trained

Key Moments in Our History

Celebrate with Us

Friday May 17, 2024

Hilton Boston Park Plaza, 50 Park Plaza, Boston, MA

Join us at our annual Breakfast for Hope to take part in our mission to prevent suicide and support those affected by it.

Our Services

Samaritans provides lifesaving suicide prevention services throughout Massachusetts. Our services are free, confidential, and nonjudgmental.

TALK TO SOMEONE

24/7 Helpline

You can call or text us anytime you feel isolated, desperate, suicidal, or concerned about someone else in your life.

PEER TEXT LINE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Hey Sam

Hey Sam is a peer-to-peer texting service for people up to 24 years old.

FIND SUPPORT

Grief Support Services

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, you can find support through events, meetings, and peer networks.

BOOK A WORKSHOP

Community Education

Learn how to help someone in crisis by hosting a suicide prevention workshop at your school, workplace, or organization.

50th Anniversary Media Coverage

Volunteers in the Samaritans' Crisis Center answering calls in their cubicles.

WBUR: Samaritans in Boston marks 50 years of working to prevent suicide

Chief Clinical Officer Kacy Maitland spoke with Lisa Mullins of All Things Considered about the 50 year impact of Samaritans.

GBH: Samaritans marks 50 years of suicide prevention care

Members of the Samaritans community talk with GBH about why Samaritans is important to them.

State House photo

“Samaritans don’t save lives. They help people save their own lives.”

Monica Dickens, Founder of Samaritans in Boston

Samaritans 50th anniversary logo with tagline finding hope in human connection