LIFELINE was chosen as the District Governor’s wife’s project to support his focus for the year – Strengthening Local Communities. Bronwyn wants her project to support and strengthen individuals, families and communities and be available to everyone, whatever their age, anywhere in our District, any time of the day or night.
Without exception! We all experience stress and anxiety and face a variety of crises throughout our lives. This can include family and relationship concerns, abuse, violence, bereavement and grief, financial problems, physical, psychological and mental health issues and significantly, the tyranny of isolation and loneliness.
While our rural families are known for their resilience, the prolonged drought has really put this to the test. This includes both those on the land and in the community at large, where many have been forced out of their employment and businesses. We have seen boarded up shop fronts and have met with those who once enjoyed a thriving business, now relying on charity.
Each of us are supported to varying degrees each day by our family, friends and acquaintances, but there are times when we could find ourselves in traumatic situations where we need immediate support – and it is reassuring to know that LIFELINE provides 24 hour a day telephone crisis support throughout Australia on 131114 – which anyone can access, even in remote areas, and the call will be answered confidentially by qualified, volunteer support personnel who are trained to LISTEN, recognise and respond to crisis situations and provide callers with appropriate support. (video available from LIFELINE website) (N.B. that there are times when help seekers will have to wait to have their calls answered!)
LIFELINE receives over 1 million contacts each year from help seekers, via telephone, the web and face-to-face. A new call is received every 32 seconds, and more than 2,200 calls are answered each day.
This telephone support has now been extended to an Online Crisis Support Chat Service every night – from 7:00 p.m. to midnight. Almost half (40%) of the chat contacts are from rural and remote locations, with 84% of them between the ages of 25 and 44.
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 14 and 44. The most recent data – and these figures are devastating – more than 8 deaths by suicide each day – and for every death it is estimated there are 30 attempts – totally more than 80,000 suicide attempts each year (ABS, Causes of Death, 2015).
LIFELINE answers the desperate calls from those who phone them and leads the way in ALL aspects of suicide prevention, including early intervention, continuing care and bereavement support, self-help resources and mental health information.
In addition to conducting training for volunteer telephone crisis support personnel, they also provide the opportunity for local community members to attend community focused Training and Follow up Support
enabling them to LISTEN, respond and support their friends, family and community members appropriately.
LIFELINE aims to support and strengthen the community by responding to community focused needs and providing a full range of resources, information and support – including specific strategies for drought affected families.
Interestingly, while LIFELINE receives some government funding, both at national and state level, LIFELINE Mid Coast relies on 97% of their services being funded by the LIFELINE shops and the generosity of their community members.
A number of discussions have taken place with the LIFLINE team in Port Macquarie leading up to the choice of this project and the most appropriate focus for support – and as a result, the funds raised will be for two vial aspects:
Scholarships for additional 24-hour telephone crisis support personnel, so that those in crisis will have their calls answered as quickly as possible, and won’t give up.
Provide the opportunity for community members throughout our District – especially in our drought affected areas to attend Community based Training and Follow up Support (think of it as Responsive Training) which will provide them with the skills to really LISTEN, respond and support their friends, family and community members appropriately.