Australians struggling with their mental health are reaching out to Lifeline in record numbers.
Lifeline chairman John Brogden says its 13 11 14 crisis line has received more calls than ever in its 57-year history – with 3326 calls made by Australians in crisis as recently as Tuesday.
Mr Brogden says on World Suicide Prevention Day and RUOK? Day, Lifeline's crisis help line acts like a barometer to the mental well-being of the nation.
"We must remind the community that people are really struggling with bushfire recovery and the challenge of COVID-19,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
"There has never been a more important time to reach out to those who you think may be struggling and let them know you care. Your actions can save a life."
More than 10,000 volunteers work with Lifeline to ensure Australians are kept safe.
"This year, we have asked a lot from our volunteers, we are very grateful to all who have worked additional shifts and continually put up their hand to ensure we can be here to support every Australian who needs us," Mr Brogden said.
While most people know Lifeline as the 13 11 14 suicide prevention crisis line, the organisation is made up of a network of 40 centres operating in 60 communities across the nation which also offers on the ground services to help communities become suicide safe through training, counselling and suicide prevention support groups.
Globally last year, there were 800,000 lives lost to suicide – one every 40 seconds.
In Australia's last reporting period (2018), there were 3046 lives lost to suicide.
"With every life lost, there are 135 people – families, friends, colleagues, fellow students, who are left devastated. There are many more who struggle with their own mental well-being," Mr Brogden said.
Lifeline expects its 4500 crisis supporters will talk or chat to more than one million people through its phone and webchat services this year.
The phone service alone receives up to 90,000 calls a month – that's a person reaching out every 30 seconds.
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