Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support line receives a call every 30 seconds.
Last year, it received over 360,000 calls from NSW callers, and of those, 120,000 calls were answered by Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney.
Sadly this statistic is only increasing, placing even more pressure on this national charity that provides all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
The NSW Government will now provide major funding of $8.2 million over five years to bolster support for Lifeline.
The investment will assist with the expansion of its telephone, text service, and online support for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
“This additional funding will ensure that Lifeline are able to provide support to more people, and in particular younger people who need that support,” Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren said.
Announcing the funding, NSW Mental Health Minister Rose Jackson said that mental health and emotional wellbeing remain a key priority for the NSW Government.
“When people are in crisis it can be difficult to seek help. The expansion of Lifeline’s text and web chat service in NSW will help to ensure people have a range of options when they need it most,” Ms Jackson said.
“We know this is particularly important for young people as sometimes making a phone call can be a barrier. We’re using technology they’re familiar with to create easier entry points and better accessibility for vulnerable people.”
Lifeline Australia Chief Executive Officer Colin Seery thanked the NSW Government for the additional investment.
“Demand for our digital services is increasing at a significant rate and this funding will help to ensure people can access the support they need, wherever they are, day or night,” he said.
Pictured cutting the 60th Anniversary cake are Chair of Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney Tina Rendell-Thornton, Sybra Hunt, Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney CEO Veronica Macdonald, Lucy Lei Mingay and Sue-Lei Hunt Mingay
Meanwhile, South West Sydney has shown its support for mental health, suicide prevention and outreach services by helping Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney raise over $115,000 through its White Gala Dinner and a volunteer-driven 60th Anniversary Diamond Ball.
The Diamond Ball was organised by the “the Bradman of community volunteers” June Young OAM and well-respected local businesswoman Sue-Lei Hunt-Mingay – carrying on the legacy of her dad, the indomitable Harry Hunt.
Speaking at the event, Tina Rendell-Thornton, Chair of Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney, said Lifeline was there for people facing their darkest hour.
“Through our suicide prevention and outreach services we actively engage people in places that are comfortable and familiar,” Ms Rendell-Thornton said.
“We provide financial counselling services, outreach activities and support to individuals and community groups, access to suicide prevention awareness training, and ongoing support for people who have attempted suicide in the past.
“Through our training courses we provide education to the community, to businesses and to professionals.”
Suicide has a devastating impact on families, friend, communities and workplaces. Knowing where to go to find support in a crisis can be lifesaving.
The additional funding will help Lifeline continue to support even more people with confidential, non-judgemental care.
Top photograph: State Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren with Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney CEO Veronica Macdonald