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Lifeline welcomes the Federal Government’s National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan

9 June 2020

COVID-19 IMPACT ACTIVATES FIRST NATIONAL EMERGENCY APPEAL IN LIFELINE’S 57 YEAR HISTORY

COVID-19 PANDEMIC SEES AUSTRALIANS REACH OUT TO LIFELINE IN RECORD NUMBERS  

13 11 14 NOW RECEIVING A CALL FOR HELP EVERY 30 SECONDS

This week, Lifeline, Australia’s leading suicide prevention service will launch a national emergency appeal in response to the increased pressure it is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign titled: ‘You’ve Got 30 Seconds To Save A Life’ comes at a time when Australians have been turning to Lifeline in record numbers as they grapple with COVID-19 on the back of the summer’s bushfire devastation. 

In March, Lifeline answered almost 90,000 calls for help, an increase of 25% over the same time last year - equating to one call every 30 seconds. As the service braces for continued increases throughout this time of uncertainty, Lifeline is calling for donations from those who can, to help save lives.

Lifeline Australia Chairman, John Brogden, has welcomed recent Federal and NSW Government funding measures to support mental health organisations including Lifeline, but acknowledges more funding is required to fill the gap caused by COVID-19 and its impact on traditional fundraising.

“Lifeline is here to help all Australians.  We are appealing to all Australians to help Lifeline. 

Help Lifeline help Australians in crisis.

COVID-19 has reduced the fundraising revenue for our Centres across the country.  With the closure of our 250 retail stores and the cancellation of mental health community training programs, book fairs, fundraising dinners and other events.  We need to raise $5 Million to fill the gap left by COVID 19,” he said.

“At the same time we are seeing our revenue drop, the pressure on our services is growing. We are experiencing the highest ever calls in our 57-year history. And the longer the lockdown lasts, the more people will become anxious and lonely.” Mr Brogden continued.

Funds raised through the campaign will support Lifeline’s 40 centres around the nation to continue to provide crisis support through 13 11 14 as well as suicide prevention services direct to the community.

“We have 40 centres, half of which are in rural and remote locations across the nation.  They provide important mental health education, face to face counselling and therapeutic groups for people at-risk, or bereaved, by suicide.  Our centres are directly supporting thousands of people in the community every day.  It is crucial that we keep these services operating,” said Mr Brogden.

“Public donations will help us to be there for everyone who needs us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” He said.

Lifeline’s national fundraising campaign has an ambitious target to raise $5 Million to ensure that no centre has to close its doors. Mr Brogden said, the need for the campaign couldn’t be more urgent.

In the last three weeks, the number of callers who contacted Lifeline and wanted to talk about COVID-19 has jumped from 23% to over 50%.

We expect this to continue to rise as the impact of business closures, social isolation, health concerns and financial stress continue to take a toll on Australians’ mental health.  We must ensure our service is here for Australians through COVID-19 and beyond.”  Said Mr Brogden.

Mr Brogden also sent an important reminder to the community to reach out to those who may be living alone and to those who may find the physical distancing and self-isolation a struggle.

“Every person can make a positive difference.  While social distances measures mean you might not be able to connect with loved ones in person, connection virtually or over the phone is key. If you, or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to connect with Lifeline in the way you feel most comfortable. Either phone us to speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days), Text us on 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight, 7 nights) or chat to us online at www.lifeline.org.au (7pm – midnight, 7 nights).” Mr Brogden said.

To help Australians who may be feeling worried, anxious, or overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Lifeline has compiled the following mental health and wellbeing tips and strategies:

  1. Manage your exposure to media coverage – as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and accurate information.

 

  1. Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach – do your best to remain calm and be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to positively manage the outbreak. Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe good hygiene habits.

 

  1. Show compassion and kindness to one another – these times of fear, isolation (both physical and social) and uncertainty are when it is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.

 

  1. Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends (even if not in person), staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support by contacting Lifeline or further professional support as required.  

 

Lifeline is Australia’s leading suicide prevention service, operating the 13 11 14 telephone line within 40 centres around the nation. The service expects to respond to over one million requests for support this year, creating an average of 120 safety plans to keep a person experiencing suicidal ideation safe every day.

 

To donate to Lifeline, visit: https://fundraise.lifeline.org.au/emergency-appeal