Prime Minister announces Australia’s first crisis text service
The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, today announced $2.5m in new funding to enable Lifeline to develop Australia’s first text-based crisis support service.
‘Crisis Text’ will innovatively use modern technology to reach more people in crisis, particularly those aged 15-44 where suicide remains the single biggest cause of death amongst Australians.
The service will complement Lifeline’s 13 11 14 telephone crisis line which receives more than a million requests for help each year.
Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden said the new text service will be integrated with the locally-based efforts of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to tackle the suicide emergency currently faced in Australia.
“The Government’s funding for Lifeline’s Crisis Text initiative provides enormous potential to help us in our quest to stop suicide,” Mr Brogden said.
“With 2864 people taking their own lives in 2014 – the highest level in ten years – we need to find new and better ways to ensure no person in crisis has to be alone. We need to communicate with people using multiple technologies, and Crisis Text makes help available, simply and accessibly, across modern communication.
“Crisis Text will complement regionally-delivered health services and initiatives led by PHNs, providing 24/7 crisis support, outreach and referrals to local services.
“Our counterparts in the UK and the US have led the way in developing text-based crisis services. In learning from their experiences, and adapting them to Australian demographics, we expect Crisis Text to provide immediate benefits, helping to save mates, loved ones and communities the heartbreak of losing someone to suicide.
“We also welcome Malcolm Turnbull’s personal commitment to suicide prevention, particular through regional trials and funding for important services and research. Stopping suicide is about new technology, local delivery and old-fashioned care and compassion – what Lifeline's been doing for more than 50 years.”
Lifeline will begin exploratory activities for the establishment of Crisis Text in FY17.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.