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Helpline Privacy Policy

CALM Helpline Privacy Policy

Terms of Service

When you send a message to CALM Helpline to start a webchat conversation, you receive some automated reply messages with a link to our Confidentiality Policy & Terms of Service and this Privacy Policy.

Our Confidentiality Policy & Terms of Service explain our service and set out the ground-rules for using it. Before using or accessing the service we provide, please read both the Confidentiality Policy & Terms of Service and this Privacy Policy. The Terms govern your access and use of the Service.

Changes to Terms

The Terms may be changed from time to time. The most up-to-date Terms will always be the ones that are posted here.  Changes to the Terms of Service will be effective immediately upon our posting them here on our website.

On each separate occasion that you first send a message to CALM Helpline to initiate a webchat conversation, you will receive some automated reply messages with a link to our current Terms, so you may review them before continuing to use our Service. By using our Service after receiving those automated messages, you agree to the practices outlined in the current Terms, including the collection and processing of your personal data, including special category data.

In order to protect your confidentiality, we can not initiate direct contact with you. We are therefore unable to notify you directly of any changes to the Terms. Your use of the Service after any such changes have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Terms.

This Privacy Policy will inform you if, when and to whom we disclose your information; it will explain your Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) rights relating to this information and what choices you have in how we use that information. So before using the Service, please read the following.

Collection of Personal Data

CALM helpline services are anonymous and confidential. CALM helpline respects the privacy of callers. For this reason caller display is disabled on helpline channels and telephone numbers are not seen or recorded by the helpline staff. CALM helpline has no access to IP addresses of users of webchat. CALM helpline does not routinely collect or process any personal data of users of the helpline. Names, addresses, date of birth, contact details are not required or asked for to use the service. Your privacy is of paramount importance to us.

Personal data may be collected in the event of a complaint being made. It will only be used for the specific purpose of responding to the complaint.

What personal and special category data we collect

All of the messages that you send us are stored securely. We do not routinely collect any other personally identifying data from you.

When you are in conversation with us you may be upset or in a difficult situation. You may choose to tell us things that are deeply personal to you, that you may never have told another person. This could mean that you may tell us things which involve the following topics:


ethnic origin;

political opinions;

religious or philosophical beliefs;

trade union membership;


sex life;

or sexual orientation.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and you can choose to talk with us about anything you would like or need to. However, under the GDPR, the types of information listed above are classed as special category data. We treat anything you tell us with the utmost confidentiality in accordance with our privacy policy, but we do need your consent to process it.

By that, we mean send it through our website in chat messages and keep a secure record of the chat, so that we know what information and support we gave you. Without your consent, we cannot start a chat with you.

Reporting of Numerical Data

CALM does need to provide evidence to its funders and fundraisers how their donations are used, so the helpline does need to provide a business narrative and statistical analysis of the helpline service. For reporting purposes we do record where given the age band, gender, location by region, general circumstance (topics of the call/chat) of the caller and outcomes of the call/chat. This is only statistical data in a numerical format and is stored in a secure database held on a secure UK based server. There are no personally identifying details i.e. name or phone number contained in any records. Any public communication used by CALM to demonstrate impact and outcomes of our helpline is generalised and therefore completely anonymous and not traceable back to any caller. Many steps are therefore taken to anonymise any data given to the helpline.

Quality Assurance

A number of calls may be randomly recorded for the purposes of quality control and training, which is in our legitimate business interest. These are deleted within a month of recording and are only heard by CALM helpline staff. Similarly a number of webchats may be randomly selected for the purposes of quality control and training. They are deleted within one month and are only read by CALM helpline staff. If a chatter uses the webchat code on repeat visits then they are aware that their chat transcripts will be collated in the system and the helpline staff can view past chats logs in real-time during subsequent chats with the person using the code. The intention for this is that the chatter would not need to recount past events on each visit.

Consent for Collection and Transfer of Personal Information for Protection of Vital Interests

Personal data information will only be requested if a user of the CALM helpline presents being at being in imminent risk of death or reports the same situation affecting a third party, or with information pertaining to terrorism. More information regarding this can be found in the CALM Helpline Confidentiality Policy.

In this instance personal data such as (but not limited to) first and second name, address, location at the time and telephone number, can only be obtained by the helpline with the consent of the person using the helpline. After this consent is received information will be gathered to pass on to emergency services so that the individual subject of the cause for concern can be reached and assisted. This data is only passed on to the emergency services. They record it according to their policies and procedures, beyond the control of CALM.

Storage and Retention

In order to protect the vital interests of helpline users the personal/ identifiable information provided to CALM helpline by the individual in this imminent risk situation is recorded by CALM helpline on paper with date and emergency services log numbers, and stored securely in the helpline base. It is kept for seven years, it is stored to allow reference should this be required in due course because of police investigation following a death or to recognise repeated calls for assistance. Please also see detail under Quality Assurance regarding recording of calls and storage of webchats. To mitigate risk of harm, helpline will store chats for longer than webchats are stored, potentially for 7 years, in line with government requirements for storage of company records. This is to be sure we have an accurate record of conversations that may be called into question at any time, up to and including as evidence in court.

You should also protect yourself

Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personal and Sensitive Data.

Accessing the webchat on the website will not save your conversations to your device, However, you might want to delete our conversations from your phone when accessing our webchat through WhatsApp or Social Media Channels. You might even want to clear us from your browser history, view our website in ‘Private Browsing’ mode or make sure we are not saved in your contact list. 

‘Private browsing’

Most browsers have a ‘private’ or ‘incognito’ browsing option. This means when you’re on our site, you won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s a useful first step to take.

Chrome: Click on the ‘Menu’ button (it has three horizontal lines) – ‘New Incognito Window’

Safari: Click on the ‘File’ button – ‘New Private Window’

Internet Explorer: Click on ‘Safety’ – ‘Tools’ – ‘In Private Browsing’

Firefox: Click on the ‘Menu’ button (it has three horizontal lines) – ‘New Private Window’

Delete your browser ‘History’

When you’re not in ‘private’ mode, your browser will automatically keep a record (or ‘History’) of all the pages go on. You can remove Samaritans’ pages from your history.

First, open your ‘History’:

Chrome: Click on the ‘History’ option on the menu bar.

Safari: Click on the ‘History’ option on the menu bar.

Internet Explorer: Press the Ctrl key and H at the same time.

Firefox: Press the Ctrl key and H at the same time.

Secondly, select all entries that say “” and press delete or backspace on the keyboard. (Or select ‘All in last hour’ on Safari.)

Lastly, if you found us on Google or another search engine, delete your search results from your History too.

Your Rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) you have a number of rights with regards to your personal data which is only obtained in the situation outlined above. You have the right to request from us access to and rectification or erasure of your personal data, the right to restrict processing, object to processing as well as in certain circumstances the right to data portability.

Withdrawal of Consent

If you have provided consent for the processing of your data you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time which will not affect the lawfulness of the processing before your consent was withdrawn.

Making a Helpline Complaint

If you wish to make a formal complaint about the helpline you can contact or write to CALM, 5 Wootton Street, London, SE1 8TG. In order to respond to a complaint, it is necessary to know the name and contact details of the user. In these circumstances, personal data collected will be managed in line with CALM’s privacy statement.

Making a Data Protection Complaint

You have the right to lodge a complaint to the Information Commissioners’ Office if you believe that we have not complied with the requirements of the GDPR or DPA 18 with regard to your personal data.

Data Protection Officer

If you have any concerns as to how your data is processed you can contact: Data Protection Officer, at

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