Originally established in 1974 by Chad Varah (founder of the Samaritans), then recently launched as an independent charity in 2012, Befrienders Worldwide is a dynamic and expanding global network of 349 emotional support centers in 32 countries, spanning 5 continents. These centers are staffed by more than 25,000 volunteers who provide vital support to an estimated 7 million service users each year.
Befrienders Worldwide centers provide an open space for those in distress to talk and be heard. This is via telephone helplines, SMS messaging, face to face, internet chat, outreach and local partnerships.
We believe in giving a person the opportunity to explore feelings which can cause distress, the importance of being listened to, in confidence, anonymously, and without prejudice. We value that a person has the fundamental decision about their own life.
By embracing new technologies, sharing expertise and experiences, Befrienders Worldwide is committed to the vision of a world in which despair can be relieved and there are fewer deaths by suicide. To achieve this, we aim to: improve access to information about suicide and emotional support services worldwide; provide innovative support and services to the Befrienders Worldwide member centers and sustain and expand the Befrienders Worldwide global network of emotional support centers.