a British charity that offers help to people who are worried, depressed, or in danger of killing themselves, by providing a phone number that they can ring in order to talk to somebody. Culture The Samaritans was started in 1953 by Chad Varah. The members of staff work without payment. They now also offer help via email and face-to-face in their branches. An international organization, Befrienders Worldwide, was formed in 1974.