1 million contacts & busiest four-month period on record
For the first time in its 52-year history, Lifeline received more than a million requests for help from everyday Australians in 2015, including the busiest ever four-month period for the 13 11 14 telephone line.
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said the organisation is connecting with more help-seeking people than ever – answering more than 71,000 calls a month since September 2015 – as demand for its 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services rises to new levels.
“It’s heart-wrenching that there are so many in our community in crisis and needing support, but it is heart-warming that they can rely on the compassionate and effective help offered by Lifeline’s more than 4000 telephone and online crisis supporters, most of whom are volunteers,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Lifeline offers a life-saving and life-changing alternative. It is always there for those confronting crisis and suicide, but also for those who trust us with their ongoing and often complex problems. There are never any hoops to jump through or barriers to receiving help or judgements made – we provide a confidential and caring service and are only a phone call or online chat away.
“With Lifeline Centres, staff and volunteers based in every State and Territory across the country, we have a strong relationship with the community and therefore receive more calls than all other Australian helplines combined.”
Mr Shmigel also said that the national charity would continue to innovate to better serve the Australian public, whether it be through its use of technology or better integration with other health services.
“We will grow our services to best serve a modern Australia. With our online Crisis Support Chat service continuing to reach higher numbers of 15-44 age group, the highest risk age group of suicide in Australia, we now aim to secure the funds to create a complementary text-based service. There is immense potential for such a service. For example, it could support people by checking in on their wellbeing following a suicide attempt.
“Plus, it’s our desire to be involved in an advanced model of mental healthcare that sees better collaboration between GPs, mental health professionals and other crisis helplines, including the proposed new digital gateway which we believe we can contribute to.”
Key 2015 stats:
• More than one million contact points for crisis support in 2015
• Between Sep-Dec, more than 84,000 calls received and 71,000 calls answered each month
• 977,503 calls to 13 11 14; 831,849 calls answered
• 85 per cent call answer rate – up from 61% in FY12
• A call to 13 11 14 every 32.2 seconds
• An average of more than 2600 calls each day
• 44,470 online chat requests; 41,582 chats answered
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.