Samaritans of Boston was established in 1974 as the first stand-alone Samaritans branch formed in the U.S. following the principles of befriending first established by the UK Samaritans in 1953. There are Samaritans offices in other regions of Massachusetts, the U.S. and the world. Samaritans branches share a common mission and philosophy, but operate independently of each other. In 2005, we joined forces with Samaritans Suburban West to become one organization, Samaritans, Inc.
Today, Samaritans provides life-saving suicide prevention services throughout the Commonwealth, focusing on the communities of Greater Boston, MetroWest and out to the Western border with New York. Samaritans is a United Way of Massachusetts Bay affiliate and also a certified member of Contact USA. We are a founding member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Greater Boston Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention. Samaritans is a non-denominational agency and provides services to any individual, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, race, disabilities, sexual orientation or religion.
Samaritans has been providing compassionate suicide prevention programs for 40 years. We have provided caring, non-judgmental support on over 2.5 million calls from our community’s most vulnerable individuals. We have trained over 4,500 volunteers with befriending skills that benefit them, not only in their service on our 24/7 Crisis Services, but also in their ongoing relationships and within their communities. We have provided workshops and trainings on suicide prevention to more than 100,000 individuals in human service organizations, churches and community groups. And we have supported over 10,000 individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Samaritans’ mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in our community, 24 hours a day; to educate the public about suicide prevention; and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide. We accomplish this through services that emphasize confidential, nonjudgmental, and compassionate listening. This mission statement was approved by Samaritans Board of Directors in 2003 and reaffirmed in their most recent strategy document “Vision for the Future”, published in 2010.