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Fundraiser for vital Lifeline service

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It is 17 months since her husband Peter died by suicide; 12 since her 19-year-old daughter Chelsey also took her life.

Gillieston Heights woman Vicki Mendyk tried to see several counsellors to help her deal with the grief and loss, before she came across Lifeline’s face-to-face counselling service.

“The Lifeline counsellor gave me the support I required; showing me great compassion and understanding,” Mrs Mendyk said.

More than 250 people attended a high tea in Morpeth this month, raising $15,000 for the service.

It is provided for free at Rutherford Neighbourhood Centre each Friday.

Mrs Mendyk thanked her husband’s former employer, JMG Maintenance from Muswellbrook, which paid for the high tea catering, and added Specsavers Kotara had generously pledged to donate 10 cents of every pair of glasses sold over a 12-month period to Lifeline.

“I was so happy and grateful that so many people came to support me and Lifeline,” she said.

Speaking at the event, Lifeline’s executive director in the Hunter, Rob Sams, believed the funding was vital in helping the charity to keep providing the service for free.

He praised Mrs Mendyk for creating an opportunity for people to speak freely about suicide and thanked those who attended for their generosity.

Lifeline has provided 3,000 face-to-face counselling sessions in the Hunter over the past 12 months.

Mr Sams said community funding was needed to continue to expand the service.

“Lifeline’s face-to-face counselling is for anyone who is not coping, whether it be a personal or relationship issue, as well as people who have thoughts of suicide,” he said.

“Our highly-trained counsellors help those in crisis but also prevent people from reaching a crisis point.

“Many people can’t afford a private psychologist or to wait for a public system appointment.
“This service is an example of how Lifeline works with the community, in the community.”

Suicide is the leading cause of death for all Australians aged between 15 and 44.

Eight people die by suicide every day.

Phone Lifeline on 4940 2000 to book a counselling session or visit lifelinehunter.org.au/find-help/ for more information.

If this raises an issue for you, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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