Lifeline has busiest day ever with 3326 calls as COVID takes mental health toll

(L-R) Lifeline North Coast volunteers David Ellis, Tegan McVey and Ian South at an Out Of The Shadows event last year.

 

LIFELINE has had its busiest day ever with a record 3326 calls on Tuesday 8 September – a 30 percent increase from the same day last year.

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The data comes as no surprise to Lifeline North Coast CEO Miko Smith, who said the increase follows on from the devastating summer of bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had some extraordinary levels of phone calls the last few months due to COVID. It’s been a pretty heavy time for the Australian community,” said Mr Smith.

An average of 90,000 calls each month between March and June has made 2020 Lifeline’s busiest year yet over its 57-year history.

Calls are received from 42 volunteer-run centres across the country, including Lifeline North Coast in Coffs Harbour, which is staffed by up to 65 crisis supporters each month.

In the past 12 months, Lifeline North Coast has received over 12,000 calls for help and provided mental health training to more than 300 members of the local community.

“It shows the commitment of the local area in providing support for those who need it,” said Mr Smith.

For young people who lost their jobs due to COVID, Mr Smith said Lifeline could provide opportunities.

“I want to reach out to you and say we can help you re-enter the workforce, retrain or build confidence. Come along and volunteer so we can help you move forward.”

Eight Australians take their own life a day, highlighting the importance of Lifeline’s service to the community.

“We need to talk about suicide as a community and to not hide away from it,” said Mr Smith.

You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or support Lifeline North Coast at northcoast.lifeline.org.au.

 

By Miles PROUST

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