CHARITY bosses have urged more Darlington men to make use of their services when times are tough, after a survey showed men were often reluctant to ask for help.

Last September, the Samaritans launched its We’re in Your Corner campaign aimed at raising awareness of the increasing number of males suffering depression and contemplating suicide.

About 3,000 men aged 35 to 55 take their own lives each year and the campaign highlighted that a lot of men find it difficult to admit they have a problem.

One year on and a survey carried out by the charity shows the number of men ringing helplines shows that many are still struggling to cope.

Liz McAllister, director of the charity’s Darlington and District branch, explained that there is a barrier for men that prevent them from seeking help.

She said: “Males have always been expected to be the typical tough and powerful role model of society.

“It is therefore difficult for some men out there to ring us and admit that in fact everything is not OK.”

She explains that while unemployment and financial difficulties play a part in the distress of those ringing the helpline there are other factors.

These include marriage or relationship break ups and more than a quarter of callers in a recent survey indicated feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Mrs McAllister added: “Even people with higher income, in areas like the west end of Darlington, have rang for our help.

“It can be difficult for them to tell people and admit they need aid as they can feel they are losing their professional status.

“They give pretence of coping when many of them cannot.”

Samaritans’ chief executive Catherine Johnstone added: “A year on from the launch of the campaign, this survey again highlights the role of men’s feeling of loneliness and lack of social support in their increased risk of suicide.

“We have to stop putting on pressure on men to live up to societal views of what it is to be a ‘real man’.”

The Samaritans is urging men to ring up to speak to someone, not just in Darlington but in all areas of the UK.

For more information, visit or call 08457-90-90-90.