SAMARITANS in Barnsley have seen an increase in people using the emotional support service - with almost 16,000 calls for help made last year.

Financial worries was one of the main concerns heard by the Pitt Street branch's 72 volunteers.

Norma Horsley-Brown, branch director of Barnsley Samaritans, said there are lots of different reasons why people call for help.

"It may be depression, addiction, financial worries, illness, bereavement, you name it we get it."

Norma said volunteers had seen an increase in calls about financial worries, particularly with the sweeping benefit and welfare reforms coming in.

"Without our dedicated volunteers we wouldn't be here for people struggling to cope.

"The worst case scenario is that people might take their own lives.

"It's clear from the call figures we're releasing, that 60 years after Samaritans was founded, people need us as much as they ever did."

Norma said in 'an ideal world' she would like the Barnsley service to operate around the clock.

"The more volunteers we have got, the longer we can stay open. In an ideal world, if I could have a wish, it would be to open 24/7."