Help Lifeline 'make spirits bright' this Christmas
A new campaign from Lifeline is calling on Australians to support those in the community doing it tough this festive season, with people often feeling isolated, stressed or anxious at this time of year.
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said the national charity’s Christmas campaign, Making Spirits Bright, tells the touching story of Rachael, a 24-year-old woman whose call to Lifeline in December 2009 helped her find a reason to stay alive.
“We hope that, by sharing Rachael’s experience of positive recovery from suicidal behaviour, we can reassure others going through dark times that there is immediate and caring help available 24/7,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Rachael’s story shows that Christmas is not a period of celebration, family and joy for all Australians; many in our community do not have support networks, or do not feel comfortable seeking help from those around them. For these people, our more than 4000 telephone volunteers in towns and communities across the country are there to help.”
Rachael – now a budding artist, writer and mental health advocate – hopes her support of Making Spirits Bright will make sure others get the same caring and non-judgemental support she did.
“Before I called Lifeline, I was imprisoned in my own thoughts of self-destructiveness,” Rachael said. “Suicide felt like the only option for my life at that time. Part of me, however, desperately craved freedom and I made the call.
“I clearly remember feeling that my life had purpose and there was a reason to stay alive after calling Lifeline. I was so sick of the routines in the mental health system. But, Lifeline is so accessible, unintimidating and immediate. They listen and care without judgement.”
With Lifeline only resourced to answer 85 per cent of the one million calls expected to its 13 11 14 crisis line in FY16, Mr Shmigel said that stopping suicides in Australia will require a whole-of-community approach.
“Whether it’s through donating to Lifeline, looking out for one another or raising awareness of the crisis support and suicide prevention services available, we can all take steps towards creating a more connected, caring and resilient community,” Mr Shmigel said. “Often, a compassionate ear can be the best way to support someone going through a difficult period, and this is particularly important during the festive season.”
To make a tax-deductable donation to Lifeline Australia’s Making Spirits Bright campaign, visit link.