There’s no T-shirt you have to wear, activity you have to do nor item you have to sell. For Lifeline’s new annual fundraising campaign, all you have to do is give.
“Lifeline For Lifeline” was launched on November 1 and is encouraging Australians to donate to the crisis support and suicide prevention service.
Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee chief executive officer Leo Schultz said it was different to other campaigns circulating in that people didn’t have to do anything other than donate.
“This one is taking all that additional stuff out of the campaign and just asking people to donate just because Lifeline’s a good cause,” he said.
“Our cost per call is about $20. So for every $20 that’s someone who is in crisis who we can take a call from and help them in their time of crisis.”
The Bendigo-based office has a volunteer base of about 50, after recently training eight new recruits, but that figure is about 10 short of the optimal number of volunteers needed.
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Mr Schultz said the lack of volunteers and the difficulty in attracting new ones was affecting the centre’s ability to deliver the same service as they had been.
“We have been taking fewer calls than we did a year ago and two years ago,” he said. “And that’s a situation right across Lifeline.”
Mr Schultz said it was impossible to tell why it was harder to find volunteers today than it was in previous years, but volunteering for Lifeline could be an emotionally demanding job.
“We know that for some people it takes them by surprise – all the amount of training and the knowledge of what Lifeline does, it doesn’t really prepare you for what it’s like to talk to people on the phones,” he said.
“No two calls are the same – we can’t prepare people for every eventuality.”
Lifeline’s 24/7 crisis line receives a call from someone in distress every 32 seconds.
Lifeline Australia chairman John Brogden said the fundraising campaign was asking Australians to donate so that no request for help went unanswered.
“We don’t have the resources to answer every call immediately, which is particularly heartbreaking when you consider the enormous strength and courage it takes for someone to reach out when they’re struggling,” he said.
“So, this campaign is about making sure people in crisis or thinking about suicide never have to be alone.”
Mr Schultz encouraged anyone in need to pick up the phone and call Lifeline.
“Don’t feel that you have to struggle through your crisis alone,” he said.
“Reach out, whether that’s to Lifeline or to a friend, a family member, talk to your GP.”
For 24/7 crisis support or suicide prevention services, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au
To donate to the campaign, visit www.lifelineforlifeline.org.au and select “Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee” at the bottom of the form to send your donations to the local centre.