Record numbers reach out to Lifeline for help this month

September 1, 2021 BY

Demand for Lifeline's services has grown 20 per cent since 2019 and it continues to ramp up.

People are reaching out for help in record numbers, with Lifeline Australia recording the four busiest days in its 57-year history this month.

According to data released by the national charity last week, the service received a daily high of 3,500 calls on Friday last week.

Lifeline Australia chair John Brogden said the record-smashing demand for Australia’s largest suicide prevention line was a reminder that Australians were experiencing both a physical and mental health pandemic.

“The good news is that people who need support are reaching out and they’re getting it,” Mr Brogden said.

“While Friday was our busiest day on record, it wasn’t a one off. It’s been a difficult few year for everyone in the community, but this also means that Australians know help is there when they need it.

“In the same period two years ago we were averaging under 2,500 calls – our new record is almost 40 per cent higher.

“We’ve seen demand grow 20 per cent since 2019 and it continues to ramp up.

“Five of Lifeline’s 10 busiest days on record have occurred just this month.”

He said Lifeline volunteers had been working harder than ever since 2019 to support people at risk, and needed support to continue operating at this pace.

“We need the community to support volunteers who are working harder than ever,” Mr Brogden said.

“These are challenging times, it is okay not to be feeling okay.

“Connecting with others 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.”

Lifeline’s second-, third- and fourth-busiest days took place on August 16 (3,436 calls), August 5 (3,425 calls) and August 2 (3,345 calls) respectively, and its seventh- and 11th busiest days were also recorded this month.

The number of calls in received through August so far exceeds 2019 demand by 30 per cent.

The record-setting week comes shortly after the AFL and Western Bulldogs joined forces with Lifeline to raise mental health awareness in the community and support Lifeline’s volunteers at the coalface.

The “We’re All Mental Health Supporters” campaign was launched in the lead-up to the Round 23 match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide, played at Marvel Stadium on Friday last week.

Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Colin Seery said the campaign highlighted that no matter what team you supported, or who you played for, everyone was united when it came to tackling mental health.

“We are appealing to fans, supporters and beyond through the We’re All Mental Health Supporters campaign to show their support and help fund a Lifeline crisis supporter to be there for those who need it most.

“Through the partnership, we’ve also created a Supporter’s Care Kit available to players, coaches and anyone who’s in need of help or guidance on managing those difficult conversations about mental distress.”

To get in touch with Lifeline, phone them to speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), or chat online at Lifeline’s website (7pm-midnight, seven nights a week).

Thank you for supporting local journalism!