Lifeline will take lead role in tele-web reform
Lifeline Australia welcomes the key aspects of the Federal Government’s mental health reforms, including acknowledgement of Australia’s suicide crisis, and looks forward to working with the Government in the important detail of implementing changes toward Australians’ mental well-being.
“As the organisation that will field about one million enquiries from everyday Australians this year, compared to 700,000 only four years ago, Lifeline’s 11,000 volunteers well understand the sense of isolation that many people experience,” Pete Shmigel, Lifeline Australia CEO, said.
“Lifeline fields more enquiries than all other tele-web services combined and look forward to being a key part of the new approach to tele-web.
“Lifeline Australia supports the Federal Government in its efforts to create a mental health system that better connects individuals to care and support, including at localised levels, and is more closely tailored to their needs, including through improved tele-web support.
“Since being founded in 1963, we have been pioneers in using technology to give help. Our telephone and internet-based crisis support services, which develop some 120 safe plans per day for those feeling suicidal, are an important part of this individualised connectedness, care and compassion, as well as a key suicide prevention method.
“However, moves toward simplifying access shouldn’t inadvertently do the reverse. They must be done carefully in order not to complicate matters for people in crisis who need immediate help. We don’t want to unintentionally create barriers for people in truly dangerous situations.
“To support the Government in implementation, Lifeline will take a leadership position and will convene a national roundtable with all tele-web helpline providers about how we can better meet the needs of help-seekers.
“Lifeline Australia welcomes the Federal Government’s recognition of the need to address the emergency-like situation of an unprecedented number of Australians who are dying by suicide, including specific increases among women. In the context of the upcoming fifth National Mental Health Plan, which is currently being developed, we urge the Government to commit to a national target of stopping suicide.”
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.