Samaritans offices share a common suicide prevention mission and philosophy, but operate independently. Samaritans of Boston, established in 1974, follows the principles of befriending established by the United Kingdom Samaritans in 1953.

For over 40 years, we have provided life-saving suicide prevention services and nonjudgmental support throughout  Massachusetts. Samaritans evolved from one small Helpline to having answered over 2.6 million calls, chats and text messages. We have trained more than 5,250 volunteers in befriending skills; provided suicide prevention workshops to 135,000 individuals; and lent aid and support to 13,000 individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Milestones in Samaritans History



Samaritans founder Monica Dickens stands in front of the original building and sign.
The Samaritans of Boston begins operations from Arlington Street Church with 1 phone line, 22 volunteers, and an open door.

Student Volunteers

Boston College PULSE - Program for Service Learning logo
The PULSE program for service learning at Boston College begins to provide student volunteers as befrienders.

SafePlace Meetings

Woman stands in lobby reading a green-and-white-sign reading SafePlace Meeting Tonight.
Samaritans begins to offer services to those impacted by suicide through SafePlace support groups.

5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention

participants stand at the start of the Samaritans 5K Run/Walk in 2003. A dog sits in front of the humans.
Samaritans’ 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention is launched in Boston! It has grown to become Samaritans’ largest annual fundraising and community building event.

Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention

Samaritans participates in the creation of the Massachusetts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention and becomes founders of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The logo of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with the phone number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the website listed. A teal and purple ribbon logo is to the right of the text.
Samaritans joins the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline answering calls of help made to the two national numbers within Massachusetts.

Marathon Team

Woman throws arms up in celebration while running the Boston Marathon. She ran for the Samaritans' team in 2018.
Samaritans fields its first marathon team for the Boston Marathon with two runners.

Statewide Helpline

Samaritans launches the statewide Helpline 1-877-870-HOPE (4673), a collaborative effort with other Samaritans locations funded in part by the Suicide Prevention Program at the Department of Public Health.

40 Year Celebration

Logo Text: Celebrating 40 years of compassion; Samaritans; You are not alone. The usual Samaritans logo with a person's arms forming a heart has sun rays emanating from it.
Samaritans celebrates forty years of service and compassion, more than 5,000 volunteers trained, more than 2.5 million calls answered, and tens of thousands grieving individuals supported and educated about suicide prevention.

Texting Service

Samaritans' Helpline has been befriending people by text since 2015.
With suicide ranking as the second leading cause nationally for teenagers and college students, Samaritans recognizes the need to expand the primary phone Helpline service to include text services. No other Massachusetts-based organization has implemented texting as a method for those seeking help for issues related to suicide.

Awareness Campaign & Program Expansion

the text reads "I needed someone to hear Me." Samaritans listened.
Billboards and signs on public transportation help spread the word about Samaritans’ programs and services — we are grateful to MassDOT and the MBTA for their commitment to our mission! Meanwhile, our Community Education and Outreach department doubles their staff, and is able to train nearly twice as many community members in suicide prevention!

10,000 Texts

Samaritans answers 10,000th text conversation!

Each year, your donation helps support:

calls, texts, and chats from people needing someone to listen
people reached at suicide prevention workshops and community awareness events
visits to our peer-led support groups for survivors of suicide loss

Cover Image: Tom Fitzsimmons