Lifeline calls double after suicide walk

GALLERY/VIDEO: Crowds gather for SPAN walk

CALLS to Lifeline have more than doubled since the Suicide Awareness Walk started.

The 24/7 support service answers 700,000 calls each year, 20,000 of which are in Bendigo.

Chief executive Jane Hayden said that figure had increased significantly in the past three years.

“The number of people calling Lifeline from this district has doubled,” she said.

“That’s a great indication of the stigma being reduced and people seeking help.

“I think the suicide prevention awareness initiative is a powerful example of local communities facing up to the issues of suicide in their community and coming together to take action.

“The outcomes speak for themselves.”

Lifeline volunteers in Bendigo work one three-hour shift each week, providing support for people struggling with a range of issues.

Bendigo Lifeline chief executive Leo Schultz said the growing number of calls to Lifeline was positive.

“We interpret that as a good thing,” he said.

“It’s not that the community is becoming unhealthier or depressed, it’s about people getting the message that they should reach out and talk to someone.

“A call to Lifeline is a good starting point for people to get help in times of crisis.

“There is help available.”

The local Lifeline will start recruiting volunteers soon.

Anyone interested should call 5443 1330.

Lifeline is available on 13 11 14 and at www.lifeline.org.au

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