Lifeline Australia Chairman, John Brogden, today welcomed the Federal Government’s record investment in mental health and suicide prevention in the 2021-2022 Federal Budget.
“The last two years have been extremely stressful times for all Australians, is facing both a once-in-a-century pandemic and a series of natural disasters. With the ongoing mental health impacts of the pandemic likely to continue for years to come, it’s pleasing that the Government has shown an increased commitment to suicide prevention in last night’s Federal Budget and particularly in support of digital support services such as those offered by Lifeline,” Mr Brogden
Lifeline’s 13 11 14 national suicide prevention and crisis support line has been receiving record numbers of calls over the past year. Lifeline receives a call from an Australian seeking help on average every 30 seconds.
“In Lifeline’s 58-year history of providing crisis support and suicide prevention services for all Australians, we have never experienced demand for our services like that seen during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are still receiving over 3,000 calls per day nationally so the Government’s commitment will help us to continue to deal with the record demand we have and continue to face,” Mr Brogden said.
In addition, the Government has recognised the ongoing impacts of the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019 by announcing additional funding to manage the increased demand for crisis services. This will assist Lifeline’s 13 HELP Bushfire helpline.
Since launch on 14 February 2020, 13 HELP has fielded over 100,000 calls from Australians seeking support in response to bushfire related trauma. Based on call volume forecasts, overlaid with evidence of disaster-related recovery time courses, Lifeline predicts maintained service usage levels for at least another 12-month period. The steady call demand experienced month on month will continue with a total of 106,000 calls forecast for 13 HELP during the Financial Year 2022.
“Lifeline’s dedicated bushfire response helpline has been fundamental in meeting the needs of Australians still experiencing distress associated with the 2019/2020 bushfires and we are glad that we will be able to continue this important service for the next 12 months,” Mr Brogden continued.
Mr Brogden also said: “It is particularly pleasing to see the Government focusing on improving outcomes for the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We welcome the Government’s funding of $16.6 million to Lifeline and Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia to establish and evaluate a culturally appropriate 24/7 crisis line governed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Lifeline also welcomed the increased investment for the critically important provision of Aftercare.