Every day countless Australians struggle with personal crisis and suicidal thoughts. For these people, Lifeline offers an immediate, caring and compassionate response to calls for help. For over 50 years we have been helping people bounce back from crisis and empowering them to find hope.
A simple conversation can truly help someone bounce back from their darkest point. On 10th September, as we mark World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), Lifeline encourages the community to talk openly and honestly about the national suicide emergency, and commit to being part of a more hopeful and connected future together. Care and compassion can go a long way. It can save a life.
Now I am winning more and more of those daily battles
Lifeline helped Dennis through some of his darkest moments. Today, he gives back by volunteering on the phones.
“I remember one time I was suicidal when I called. I spoke to a gentleman and he helped me stop being at risk of hurting myself. For someone to just say, ‘it’s ok mate, we’ll just have a chat’ – it takes such a weight off your shoulders.”
Watch Dennis' Story.
There’s nothing like helping someone else when they reach out
Dean Berry knows better than most the power of being there for someone when they’re at their most vulnerable – giving them hope when hope seems impossible.
He is one of Lifeline’s 3500 Crisis Supporters working to tackle Australia’s national suicide emergency. These volunteers will receive more than a million requests for help this year from everyday Aussies struggling with issues such as isolation, living pressures and mental illness.
For the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends, neighbours and colleagues who find themselves struggling to cope and call Lifeline, Dean believes positivity and empathy make a world of difference.
“They are needing to say what they want to say and not be judged," he said.
"People are letting us into their lives at a very vulnerable stage of their life and we can get very close and personal connections."
Dean came to Lifeline South East SA looking for a new challenge after a farming accident left him with a physical disability. Since then, he has become a shining example of Lifeline’s skilled and incredibly kind-hearted volunteers who make a difference to the lives of people in need.
Dean was recently awarded Lifeline’s Volunteer of the Year award for 2016. He fought back tears as he thanked his wife, Joy, for her unwavering support and encouragement as he selflessly helps Australians doing it tough.
“There’s nothing like helping someone else when they reach out. I really appreciate the work that we do at Lifeline, as well as the support that we get from the Centre,” he said.
The award is recognition of Dean’s 10 years of service, during which time he has changed the lives of thousands of Australians for the better.
According to Lifeline South East SA CEO, Eve Barratt, Dean has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the organisation’s vision of an Australia free of suicide.
“His strong sense of empathy and social justice has made him a wonderful Telephone Crisis Supporter and In-Shift Support Supervisor, with his caring and non-judgemental support having saved many lives across the country,” Ms Barratt said.
Dean is incredibly proud of the positive contribution that he’s made to the lives of callers in empowering them to find hope.
“I’m not a doctor and I’m not a policeman but I know that I’ve saved lives, and that’s really important,” he said.
It is only through the selfless efforts of people like Dean that Lifeline can help Australians bounce back from crisis and find hope.
A simple conversation can truly help someone bounce back
Two days. That’s how long we would need in order to take a minute of silence for each of the 2864 Australians that died by suicide in 2014. But silence doesn’t seem right for an issue that is so often kept silent because ‘it’s too dark’, ‘too complex’ or ‘something that happens in other people’s lives’.
So, today, in marking World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), Lifeline encourages the community to talk openly and honestly about the national suicide emergency, and commit to being part of a more hopeful and connected future together.
We understand that it is through people and communities that we can make the biggest difference in suicide prevention; through community training, local service delivery, technological innovation, raising awareness and creating a culture where people feel OK to reach out for help.
In 2016, Lifeline will receive more than a million requests for help. Our 3500 skilled and incredibly kind-hearted Crisis Supporters know better than most the importance of listening with love and care.
As Lifeline’s WSPD campaign highlights, a simple conversation can truly help someone ‘bounce back’ from their darkest point. Today, I want to encourage Australians, strongly and genuinely, to do what Lifeline has been doing for more than 50 years: making it so people don’t have to suffer in silence. Good old-fashioned care and compassion can go a long way. It can save a life.
Out of the Shadows
Lifeline’s Out of the Shadows - national suicide prevention walks are held each year to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day. Join us as we walk to raise awareness, remember those lost to suicide and unite in a commitment to prevent further deaths by suicide. Get involved by joining a walk or organising a walk in your local community.