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Lifeline support launched in Victoria to aid Australians in need

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Following its official launch in March this year, Lifeline Narrm has opened its crisis support centre in Victoria, ready to welcome the first of its crisis support volunteers to answer urgent calls of the Victorian community and alleviate pressure on the national Lifeline system.

‘Lifeline Narrm’ named in consultation with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, was created as an urgent response to the lack of on-ground mental healthcare support services, particularly in light of the 9% increase in death by suicide among Victorians from 2021 – 2022 – the highest number in 20 years.

It will service the Merribek to Manningham region to help the 360,000 Victorians who call Lifeline each year – the highest number of calls to Lifeline nationally. Last year, only 138,000 calls were answered in Victoria, putting significant pressure on the national system, which receives over 1 million calls a year.

In the Lifeline Narrm geography of Merri-bek to Manningham alone, three people are reported to die by suicide each week.

Currently, the focus for Lifeline Narrm is to train as many crisis support volunteers as possible to ensure increased support for those struggling with mental health. Lifeline Narrm’s paid and volunteer workforce is being recruited locally to service Melbourne’s inner city and eastern suburbs, with a number of information sessions to roll-out from June in-person and via video conference to ensure maximum attendance.

Chief Executive Officer of Lifeline Narrm, Carrie Leeson said the Lifeline Narrm centre was a momentous step for Victoria in answering more life-changing calls.

“Lifeline receives a call every 30 seconds nationally, many of which are from Victoria, so it’s important that we prioritise on-ground services to help as many people as we can.”

“Our Telephone crisis support volunteers are community angels to all Victorians undergoing struggles in life – no matter how big or small. They receive extensive training delivered by our highly skilled team, who are committed to providing 24/7 support.

“With 8.6 Australians dying by suicide each day, it’s important we continue growing our volunteer base to ensure we can help as many people as possible.”

There are currently 250 active crisis support volunteers in Victoria, however, double the amount is needed to meet the demands of a growing community in need. To become a crisis support volunteer, individuals must register on the website and attend an initial registration session to learn about the training program and commitment to Lifeline.

The training costs usually associated with becoming a Lifeline crisis support volunteer are being waived for the first six months of the centre opening.

“If you have been thinking about volunteering and supporting your local community, we’d love to hear from you. Not only will you be supporting the wellbeing of Australians but it’s also a valuable opportunity to build on your own resilience and personal development. We thank each and every one of our volunteers for their selfless commitment to Victorians,” said Leeson.

Key Statistics:

  • Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support line receives a call every 30 seconds.

  • Every year more than 65,000 Australians attempt suicide.

  • Currently, 8.6 Australians die by suicide each day, with suicide being the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

  • 75% of lives lost to suicide are male.

  • The impact of suicide is significant with more than 135 people, including family members, work colleagues, friends and first responders, affected by each life lost to suicide.

  • LGBTIQ+ community members report having attempted suicide in the past 12 months at a rate 10 times higher than the general Australian population.

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