The organisation that is always there to support local people urgently needs community help to continue its lifesaving work.
Lifeline in the Hunter has launched its inaugural Challenge Yourself for Mental Health campaign.
It is asking people to test themselves this October, during Mental Health Month, to raise funds for its suicide prevention services.
Senior business development manager Pat Calabria said residents could set their own task.
It might involve learning something new (a language or hobby), getting healthier (giving up or cutting back on coffee, sugar or alcohol) or fitter (setting yourself a run, ride, walk or swim), digital detox (cutting back on screen time or social media) or simply better self-care (reading some books or taking up yoga).
Mr Calabria said Lifeline was supporting many people to navigate the mental health challenges of living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is an opportunity to challenge yourself to achieve better health or mental wellbeing while helping others to overcome their mental health challenges,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, with our retail shops closed during lockdowns, we’re facing our own challenges in responding to a 25% increase in demand for our services.
“Many people don’t realise that while Lifeline receives some wonderful government and grant funding, local Lifeline centres rely on their shops, community donations and fundraising to keep all of its services running.”
Lifeline is employing another 48 telephone crisis supporters in the Hunter from next month.
Although they are volunteers, it costs Lifeline about $3,500 to train and support each one.
“We don’t want people to suffer in silence,” Mr Calabria said.
“We want to be there to listen, to offer hope and support to each and every person who needs us.”
Nationally, Lifeline takes a call from someone every 30 seconds and it expects to respond to more than one million calls for help this year.
As well as its 13 11 14 service, locally Lifeline provides free counselling sessions as well as bereavement support groups and other community programs.
“Nine Australians die every day by suicide and more than 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt each year,” Mr Calabria said.
“Sadly, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.”
All funds raised from the latest campaign will go to Lifeline Hunter Central Coast services.
To sign up for the challenge, visit www.challenge-yourself-for-mental-health-2021.raisely.com or get links from the Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast Facebook page.
Mr Calabria said people who don’t wish to challenge themselves but would like to donate can do so via its website – www.lifelinehunter.org.au
If this story causes issues for you, call Lifeline 24 hours on 13 11 14.
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