Lifeline take on more than a million requests for help

FOR the first time in its 52-year history, Lifeline received more than a million requests for help in 2015, including the busiest ever four-month period for the 13 11 14 telephone line.

The organisation answered more than 71,000 calls per month since September 2015, as demand for its 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services rose to new levels, Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said.

"It's heart-wrenching that there are so many in our community in crisis and needing support, but it is heart-warming that they can rely on the compassionate and effective help offered by Lifeline's more than 4000 telephone and online crisis supporters, most of whom are volunteers," he said.

At the Lifeline Northern Rivers centre, manager Niall Mulligan said the local volunteers did "an amazing job" during the busy 2015 period.

"We answered 16,500 of those calls (the 71,000 calls answered nationally), which is a huge achievement for a regional area," he said.

"Our volunteers punched above our weight.

"Our volunteers are hard-working and very consistent, which means they turn up rain, hail or shine.

"The number of calls is rising year on year, our capacity to respond is rising year on year (however) at the moment we still have a shortfall."

Mr Mulligan said five years ago the Northern Rivers centre was only answering 6,000 calls per years, compared to last year's figure of 16,500 calls answered.

He said that rise in figures was "an acknowledgement of the Northern Rivers community", and the great attitude to volunteering in the region.

Mr Mulligan said they had just started a training stage for new crisis workers, but were "always looking for retail volunteers," he said.

"Without our retail volunteers we wouldn't have the means to train our crisis workers."

For more information about Lifeline, head to lifeline.org.au

For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp



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