Central Victorian callers dial GriefLine for help

CONCERNS about job security are prompting central Victorian residents to dial for help.

GriefLine, a telephone service providing support to people experiencing loss and grief, recently extended its funding to country areas, including Bendigo.

GriefLine CEO Catherine Cini said the service had responded to at least 3000 calls from country areas in the past three months.

“That’s including a lot from Bendigo,” she said.

GriefLine workers are on hand to listen to people in times of death, natural disasters, financial concerns, family violence, health concerns, family issues, depression, suicide, relationships, isolation, unemployment and pet bereavement.

“Job losses are hugely prevalent at the moment,” Ms Cini said.

“People are worried, ‘Am I next in line?’

“It’s a concern, particularly for men. 

“If women are really struggling and have a family they’ll take on cleaning or something. 

“They’ll do anything. But a man’s identity is really tied up to work.

“People are ringing up about losing their house or fear of losing their house.”

Ms Cini said privacy was a big issue for people living in country areas.

“We ask for people to tell us their postcode or the name of their town and people have said, ‘I’ll give you the name of the closest town because everyone knows everyone here’,” she said.

“It’s such a serious issue.

“They talk about the fact that there’s only one doctor in the town and if they don’t like the doctor it’s too bad.

“People will get a diagnosis and ring us up at 2.30 in the morning because they don’t want to tell anyone.

“They can’t sleep because they’re worried so they’ll ring when everyone’s gone to bed... I knew there was a real need for the service in country areas.”

Ms Cini said GriefLine was not a crisis line so volunteers had more time to talk to people in need.

“We can talk to people for half an hour if need be,” she said.

“We don’t have many suicide calls. We get the aftermath – mum, dad, sister, brother, grandma or whoever – wanting to talk about what it’s meant to them. 

“We listen.”

The service is based in Melbourne, but Ms Cini visited Bendigo recently in an attempt to secure more funding.

“We’ve only really got enough money to last until next June, so we really need to get more money to keep it going,” she said.

“When I was in Bendigo I found there’s not much money anywhere, nothing concrete.

“So even a small business can help out, by giving (say) $500 for the next three years.

“Our biggest cost is the calls themselves.

“Other lines try and get people off in the first 10 minutes.

“So we get all referrals from these lines for us to them talk to people.

“We’re looking at businesses to contribute.

“We have a fundraiser at Christmas at the Melbourne casino, so even if Bendigo businesses could contribute to an auction that would be great.” 

If you need help, phone GriefLine on 

1300 845 745.


PASSIONATE: GriefLine chief executive Catherine Cini. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

PASSIONATE: GriefLine chief executive Catherine Cini. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

1300 845 745.

1300 845 745.

1300 845 745.