Authors: Lifeline Australia
Event: 2004 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: ACT
Award level: Winner
Award category: Exceptional Contribution to Mental Health Services in Australia or New Zealand
Abstract: Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis counselling service is staffed by trained volunteers and has provided Australians with a listening ear for the last 40 years. Located in 60 locations throughout rural and regional Australia, Lifeline’s 4,500 counsellors provide the equivalent of 52 years of non stop compassion every year. Lifeline is the only generalist counselling service available for 24 hours a day every day of the year and is the backstop for helping professions and mental health services who are not available after hours. Help is available at any time, anywhere, for the cost of a local call. Lifeline is now operative in 15 countries and 250 communities across the world and represents a unique Australian primary mental health care promotion, prevention and intervention tool. Lifeline was establishment in 1963 by the late Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker. In keeping with Sir Alan’s original vision, Lifeline centres overcome time and distance by providing compassion and care to all Australians. The purpose of Lifeline is to strengthen the capacity of communities and individuals to make life-affirming choices which alleviate distress and promote well-being. In 2002, over 80,000 calls to Lifeline were known to be about mental health. This was about 27% of counselling calls received. Lifeline’s commitment to mental health focuses on the 24-hour counselling service 13 11 14 continuing to play a pivotal role responding to the needs of our callers. Lifeline operates in 42 communities throughout Australia as self governing member centres. These Centres recruit and train volunteers from the local community to provide a 24 hour telephone counselling service in addition to providing information, referral and associated services in their area. Lifeline relies on financial support from the community. Lifeline shops around the country raise 80% of operational costs each year by selling donated clothing, furniture and books. Telstra has been Lifeline’s major sponsor since 1993 and provides Lifeline’s telephone infrastructure. There are 10,000 Lifeline volunteers Australia wide. In addition, 2,500 volunteers are trained annually to staff the 24 hour telephone counselling line.