Lifeline Australia is aiming to raise $5 million through their campaign ‘You’ve Got 30 Seconds To Save A Life’ to fill the funding gap caused by cancellation of key fundraising events, storefront closures and an increasing demand for services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In March, Lifeline answered almost 90,000 calls for help, an increase of 25% over the same time last year – equating to one call every 30 seconds. As the service braces for continued increases, Lifeline is calling for donations from those who can, to help save lives.
Lifeline Canberra is expected to receive funds from the national emergency appeal (they do not receive funding from Lifeline Australia, except for the latest funding appeal). The local organisation will also receive $250,000, which includes $100,000 announced on 20 March, from the ACT Government to help meet call-demand. Lifeline Canberra Crisis Supporters answered 3,185 calls in the month of April (around 106 calls per day on average).
“This funding is vital as we continue to support the Canberra community,” Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said.
“It takes incredible courage, in a time of crisis, for individuals to pick up the phone and ask for help. Lifeline works tirelessly to get to every caller. With our crisis support teams already doubling down following the summer and bushfire seasons, this funding will go a long way to training and accrediting more crisis supporters.”
With 2020 being such a tough year of disasters, Lifeline Canberra have opened a second phone room within their centre allowing them to increase their capacity to answer callers.
According to Mandy Larsson OAM, director of service delivery at Lifeline Canberra, the crisis lines are in high demand at the moment, which they expect to continue for at least another 18 months post-COVID-19.
Statistics show that there was a 23% increase in calls taken during Easter 2020 compared to Easter 2019. Good Friday was the busiest day on record for Lifeline nationally with 3,028 calls in one day. This is an increase of over 50% per day compared with an average day in the phone room during 2019.
“We have found while not all calls are COVID-19 focussed, the majority have COVID-19 as an issue, especially relating to anxiety surrounding the impact of what is happening in individual’s lives,” Ms Larsson said.
“Many of those struggling with mental health illnesses prior to COVID-19 are battling to see their professional supports and finding each day a challenge.
“We are also receiving many calls from individuals who are in desperate family situations where tensions are high, and the financial stress is becoming overwhelming,” she said.
If you are struggling, if you need support, or if you just need someone to talk to, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. To donate to the national Lifeline campaign, visit fundraise.lifeline.org.au/emergency-appeal or donate to Lifeline Canberra via lifelinecanberra.org.au/donate/
Mental health and wellbeing tips
To help Australians who may be feeling worried, anxious or overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Lifeline has compiled the following mental health and wellbeing tips:
- Manage your exposure to media coverage as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing good quality and accurate information.
- Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach. Do your best to remain calm and be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to positively manage the outbreak. Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe good hygiene habits.
- Show compassion and kindness to one another. Strengthen the sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other.
- Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends (even if not in person), staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support by contacting Lifeline or further professional support as required.