Lifeline Christmas message: give 'the gift of hope' this festive season
Lifeline is encouraging Australians to ‘give the gift of hope’ to those in their darkest hours this Christmas, as the national charity prepares to receive about 40,000 requests for help over the next two weeks.
Lifeline Australia CEO Bob Gilkes said that a small donation will help the organisation make it so no Australian in crisis or thinking about suicide has to be alone.
“While many people look forward to celebrating this time of year, it can be a stressful period for many due to relationship difficulties, financial pressures and excessive alcohol consumption,” Mr Gilkes said.
“So, we’re asking people to be mindful of stress and loneliness in the community this Christmas – not just on Christmas Day, but in the days and weeks that follow. For people in crisis or thinking about suicide, the best gift you can give is to ensure they get the care and connection they need to get through tough times.
“You can fund a call with one of our Crisis Supporters for $26 and make a lifesaving difference to someone over the Christmas or New Year’s period. With Australians due to spend $11 billion on Christmas presents in 2017, this is one gift that can truly have a profound impact on friends, loved ones and whole communities.”
This Christmas, Lifeline Australia is sharing the story of 24-year-old Trent, who attempted suicide five years ago after a freak head injury left him with a long road back to physical and mental health. While Trent survived that attempt, his thoughts of suicide returned earlier in 2017 after going through a separation with his fiancé.
“I was scared to die. I really didn’t want to die. I was afraid to hurt myself,” Trent said, recounting the moments that led him to call Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis line.
“The call to Lifeline was everything. It was non-prejudice, it was understanding. It was not pretending that you knew the answers. The guy on the phone listened and acknowledged everything that I felt… he gave me hope.”
Mr Gilkes said Trent’s story of positive recovery was a powerful example of the difference a compassionate and non-judgemental conversation can make.
“It only takes a moment to check in with a friend or loved one, to listen and let them know you are there for them,” Mr Gilkes said.
"If you're concerned someone you know is thinking about suicide, it's important to ask the question: 'are you thinking about suicide?'. By asking directly and unambiguously, it shows you care and are willing to talk about it. It might even safe a life.”
INTERVIEWS: To request an interview with either Lifeline CEO Bob Gilkes or Trent, please contact [email protected] or 0408 407 376.