Today, John Brogden, Lifeline Australia Chairman, has announced Australia’s leading suicide prevention service provider will continue to answer calls throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Lifeline Australia Chairman, John Brogden said:
“Today we want to reassure Australians that no matter what happens with COVID-19, if the government calls for a lock down in any or all of Australia, Lifeline is prepared and we are committed to being available to any person who needs us through the 13 11 14 phoneline, text and online services.”
“This summer Lifeline received a sustained 10-15% increase in calls as a result of the bushfires. Now with COVID-19 and the resulting enforced closures, financial stress, social isolation and concern about health, our calls are only expected to increase.”
“This week alone 23% of our callers to Lifeline discussed novel coronavirus.”
Lifeline is putting into place new measures to ensure the 13 11 14 phone line and text service will remain open if Australia is forced into lock down.
Mr Brogden also called on Australians to look out for each other.
“The current social isolation policy means many of the important opportunities for people to connect with each other and do things they enjoy are being stopped. For someone who is already struggling, this can be a huge blow.
“We are asking people to look out for those who may struggle through isolation, especially if they live on their own. If you can’t knock on their door, be imaginative in how you can connect- give someone a call, write them an email, put a note under their door, sing under their window. By reaching out to someone who may be struggling and letting them know you care, you can send a really powerful message of hope.”
“If mandatory isolation is imposed, we know there will be many Australians who will struggle with isolation and heightened anxiety. It will be more important than ever that Lifeline can be here for any Australian who is feeling overwhelmed and needs someone to talk to. We want to reassure every Australian that we will still be here for you, at any time you need us on 13 11 14.” Mr Brogden continued.
Lifeline is now receiving up to 3000 calls a day – that’s a call from an Australian in crisis every 30 seconds.
“This summer, our communities have faced some extraordinary challenges, drought, flood, bushfires and now COVID-19, all on top of the usual stress people experience. What this summer has shown is that when feeling overwhelmed, Australians turn to Lifeline for support and we are committed to being here for them. We want people to know that through COVID-19 and social isolation, Lifeline is here for you. Call us on 13 11 14 at any time.” Said Mr Brogden.
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.