LIFELINE Australia will continue to answer calls during the COVID-19 crisis, prepared to operate under any government-imposed restrictions.
The organisation’s chairman John Brogden said as the nation’s leading suicide prevention service provider, Lifeline was committed to being available to any person through its 131 114 phone line, text and online service.
“This summer Lifeline received a sustained 10pc to 15pc increase in calls as a result of the bushfires,” Mr Brogden revealed.
“Now with COVID-19 and the resulting enforced closures, financial stress, social isolation and concern about health, our calls are only expected to increase.
“Last week alone 23pc of our callers to Lifeline discussed novel coronavirus.”
As they put new measures in place to deal with the influx of calls, Mr Brogden 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,” he said.
“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.”
He urged people to be creative about how they can stay in touch with people during this uncertain period.
“If you cannot 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,” he said.
“By reaching out to someone who may be struggling and letting them know you care, you can send a really powerful message of hope.”
Highlighting Lifeline’s critical importance throughout the pandemic, Mr Brodgen said many Australians would 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,” he said.
“We want to reassure every Australian that we will still be here for you, at any time you need us on 131 114.”
Lifeline receives up to 3000 calls a day – 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,” Mr Brogden said.
“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.”