Lifeline call numbers ‘unprecedented’

(Australian Associated Press)

 

Lifeline is taking about one call every 30 seconds from Australians suffering loneliness and anxiety on the back of the coronavirus crisis.

Almost 90,000 calls were received during each month of March, April and May – a record for the 57-year-old mental health support organisation.

“We were overwhelmed with loneliness. And anxiety,” Lifeline chair John Brogden told ABC television on Wednesday.

The imposition of social distancing and self isolation measures had a major impact on mental health, as did fears of job losses.

“While that was the right physical message to get out, it was a pretty devastating mental health message for a lot of people,” Mr Brogen said.

Lifeline says it’s now receiving calls at a rate of about one every 30 seconds.

“We usually take 2,500 calls a day,” Mr Brogden said.

Calls to Lifeline had already been picking up after a devastating summer of bushfires on Australia’s eastern coast, pushing the tally to about 2,900 a day.

But as the COVID-19 crisis began to take hold in autumn, calls went through the roof – as high as 3,200 a day.

“These numbers are unprecedented for us at Lifeline,” Mr Brogden said.

Lifeline has now been given $2 million in extra funding by NRMA Insurance and RACV.

The money will be used to help pay for tele-health counselling sessions, counsellor training and toolkits and resources.

Lifeline 13 11 14

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