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

13 February 2020


On Monday 17 February Lifeline will launch its new Australia-wide 13 HELP (13 43 57) a dedicated bushfire recovery phoneline to provide support for people affected by bushfires, Lifeline Chairman John Brogden said.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons will join Lifeline Chairman John Brogden at a  luncheon in Sydney to raise funds for Lifeline’s Bushfire response which will include the continuation of the work of crisis support teams on the ground in bushfire affected communities and the provision of the 13 HELP (13 43 57) phoneline.

At the lunch Commissioner Fitzsimmons will be interviewed by renowned journalist Andrew Denton. Bega MP Andrew Constance will also speak.

The 24 hours a day/seven days a week 13 HELP (13 43 57) phoneline has been developed in response to increased demand for Lifeline’s service.  Since December last year, Lifeline has recorded a 10% increase in calls to its 13 11 14 service, with call volume spiking at over 14% on some days. 

John Brogden said the unprecedented increase warranted a tailored response so that the care and service referral provided is specific to the effects of the bushfire and the needs of those impacted.

“From the calls that have come in, and from our teams on the ground, it’s clear to us that people need to talk through their experience, they also need simple and clear information about what is available to them in their local community when they need it.” Said Mr Brogden.

“Our Crisis Supporters are highly skilled at listening and offering support to people who are struggling.  The message we want to get to people affected by the fires, no matter what stage of recovery their community is in, is that it is important that you talk about your experience.  Lifeline is here for you at whatever time you need us, we are here 24 hours a day, ready to listen on our

13 HELP Bushfire Recovery Line, please call 13 43 57.” Continued Mr Brogden.

“This service will run for as long as people need us. The crisis may be over but the enormity of the recovery is only beginning to hit. Many people won’t experience trauma for months, even years to come. We will be there for them 24/7.” Mr Brogden said.

Lifeline’s 13 HELP Bushfire Response Line has been made possible with $1.5 Million in funding from the Federal Government.  To date, Lifeline has received pledges totalling almost $600,000 from supporters such as Woolworths, Santos, Count Plus, Payce Foundation and Fantastic Furniture. Mr Brogden has an ambitious target to raise $1 Million at the luncheon in Sydney on Monday to cover additional costs for the phoneline and to continue to expand Lifeline’s response on the ground. 

“We have four Lifeline centres in areas that have been affected by fires. Tthey are working tirelessly to respond to their local communities. We’ve also moved teams from other centres around the nation into affected areas to provide additional support.  We look forward to extending and

expanding the reach of our teams on the ground with the funds raised on Monday.” Said Mr Brogden.

Lifeline will work closely with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to ensure consistency of messaging and accuracy of information across all areas of Lifeline bushfire service delivery.

To donate to Lifeline, please visit www.lifeline.org.au/donate