Woman's life-saving tattoo highlights tragic reality as Lifeline sees record 'distress' calls

This week, Australia's leading crisis support line recorded its busiest ever day. Find out why.

The Lifeline phone number can be seen tattooed on a woman's arm. Source: Tiktok
A woman got the Lifeline phone number tattooed on her arm. Source: TikTok/Getty

Australia’s 24/7 crisis support line Lifeline has revealed it experienced its busiest-ever day on Sunday — with 4,371 phone calls, texts and webchats. The figure is 20% higher than average, highlighting that many Australians are living in “distress”.

Lifeline CEO Colin Seery says a number of factors are contributing, including “events overseas, the cost of living, homelessness, and violence against women.”

Lifeline CEO Colin Seery - “The horrific events across Australia over the last couple of weeks, and the systemic problem of violence against women, has put men’s use of violence against women at the forefront of public discussion yet again. All men have a role to play in changing this."

🔢 The story in numbers

On Sunday, April 28, Lifeline received:

  • 3,439 phone calls

  • 932 text and webchat contacts

The annual average is 3,001 calls, 749 texts and webchats – making Sunday 20 higher than the annual average.

Dr Anna Brooks, Lifeline's chief research officer told Yahoo News, the statistics highlight that many across the country are feeling the weight of recent tragedies.

"There have been a lot of big and tragic stories in the media, events at Bondi and we've had a number of domestic and family violence incidents," she told Yahoo.

Dr Brooks says she thinks of the Lifeline statistics as an "insight into how the nation is travelling."

"The reason that it's important is that it's a bit of a barometer, as to, what's affecting the well-being of our fellow citizens," she said.

Women protesting against gendered violence. Source: AAP
Women across the country protested against gendered violence this weekend. Source: AAP

The day that Lifeline recorded its busiest day, women across Australia came together to demand an end to surging violence against women as the country faces what is being described as a national crisis.

Statistics have revealed there was a 30% spike in the rate of Australian women killed by intimate partners last year. It comes as reports suggest 27 women have been killed in incidents of men’s violence in 2024, including domestic violence and the Bondi Junction stabbing.

As of this time last year, 14 women had died and in 2022, 17 women died by the same time.

On top of this, many Australians are facing challenges with the rising cost of living and conflicts in the Middle East remain a source of anxiety.


According to Dr Brooks, Lifeline will continue to provide sources of support in ways that people find them most accessible, either face-to-face, over the phone or via text or web chat.

"Our next steps are to make sure that we continue providing support, but also to make sure that we're telling the story that these events really are having an impact for a large number of people across the country," she said.

An Aussie woman has shared how a tattoo of Lifeline's phone number saved her from the brink of a mental health crisis. Sharing her experience online, the woman explained she'd had the tattoo done three years ago but had never called the number until this year.

“I haven’t called the number ever until tonight and I'm so glad that I did," the young woman shared in a recent video shared on social media.

"If you’re actually really in a bad place and you don’t feel like anybody around you would understand what you’re going through, or even want to listen to what you’re going through, call them.

"I was so afraid and so embarrassed for no reason but it helped. It really did. I hope it can help you too in your hour of need."

Lifeline can be contacted on 13 11 14, or www.lifeline.org.au

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can also contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, find help by calling 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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