Timeline 2018-03-16T15:56:27+00:00


Established in 1974 as the first stand-alone Samaritans’ branch in the U.S., Samaritans has evolved from a small organization, providing suicide intervention through one Helpline to having handled over 2.6 million calls, chats, and texts from at-risk individuals. 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
The Samaritans of Boston began 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 referring to SafePlace Meeting Tonight sign
Samaritans begins to offer services to those impacted by suicide through SafePlace support groups.

5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention

Group of people in green shirts stand at the start of the 5K Run/Walk in 2003
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

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
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
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

Celebrating 40 years of compassion; Samaritans; You are not alone logo
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

Teenage girl texting on phone
With suicide ranking as the second leading cause nationally for teenagers and college students, Samaritans recognized the need to expand our 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

Awareness Campaign & Program Expansion
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 trained at 368 workshops to recognize warning signs and provide support to someone who is suicidal
visits to our peer-led support groups for survivors of suicide loss
The Giving Common
Charity Navigator logo
Better Business Bureau logo
United Way

Samaritans, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.