Today, Lifeline welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $1.5 Million in funding for ’13 HELP’ – a new dedicated Lifeline phoneline for people in bushfire affected communities.
Since December last year, Lifeline has recorded a 10% increase in calls to its 13 11 14 service, with call volume spiking at over 14% on some days.
Lifeline Australia Chairman, Mr John Brogden, said many of the calls have come from people living in bushfire affected areas or from those who have survived previous bushfire events.
“We know there are many people struggling and we know there are differing levels of community distress. As always, it’s important that we can be there for every person who needs us, when they need us. We believe a dedicated phoneline offers the unique skill set we have at Lifeline to respond effectively to natural disaster,” said Mr Brogden.
“From the calls that have come in, and from our teams on the ground, it’s clear to us that people need simple and clear information about what is available to them in their local community when they need it,” he continued.
“Lifeline is in a unique position to be able to respond with crisis support and deliver timely access to information about services that are directly related to an individual’s community,” said Mr Brogden.
“We know that the loss and grief caused by the bushfires will have an impact on the mental wellbeing of many communities and people, both now and well into the future. We welcome this funding from the Federal Government, which will enable us to deliver this additional support for up to 12 months,” he continued.
Lifeline looks forward to working closely with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency to ensure consistency of messaging and accuracy of information across all areas of bushfire services.
“Our thoughts are very much with every person who has been impacted by these fires and to those who have lost loved ones or their homes. At times such as these it’s important we look out for each other. If you recognise someone struggling, please start the conversation and if needed, get them the support they need either through a GP or by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14,” Mr Brogden said.
Information about accessing the 13 HELP dedicated phoneline will be shared with affected communities in the near future through targeted local media and the utilisation of geotargeted advertising. In the meantime, Lifeline encourages anyone effected by the fires to please call 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.
To donate to Lifeline, please visit www.lifelineh2h.org.au/donate