BENDIGO'S new Lifeline centre has been up and running for two months now and volunteers and workers say they have been thriving in the new space.
The new centre was opened by Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters back in December following a $100,000 strong communities grant.
The grant allowed the service to move to an updated and larger space.
At the opening in December, Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee executive officer Lisa Renato said the new centre couldn't have come soon enough - with the volume of calls skyrocketing over the last year, stretching mental health systems across the country to breaking point.
Ms Renato said over the Christmas period, calls to the service had doubled.
"Over the two weeks from Christmas Eve to January 4, we took almost twice as many calls as ever," she said.
"Often Boxing Day, News Years Eve, New Years Day, we do see calls rise.
"People need that additional support and we had volunteers monitoring calls through that period."
The centre has been running for two months, and volunteers are relishing the new building.
"We have found our volunteers are enjoying what they are doing," Ms Renato said.
"It's a fit for purpose space, it's clean and it's new."
Ms Renato said the centre was allowing them to train nearly double the amount of employees in the coming semester.
"We are going to have twice the amount of volunteers on the phone and answering more calls," she said.
"We can also use our space for training sessions, we can do that on-site, we don't have to wait and hire a space, we can now use our own space."
Lifeline's 13 11 14 crisis support line receives a call every 30 seconds and each year over 1 million Australians reach out to the mental health service.
In Bendigo, the number of callers has doubled over the past year - the central Victorian centre was answering 1800 calls per month in 2021 - an increase of 700 on 2020 numbers.
Ms Renato says there are big things ahead for the centre.
"We have some other exciting announcements coming up in 2022, that just wouldn't be possible without this amazing space," she said.
"We are very grateful".
If you or someone you know is experiencing family and domestic violence, help is available, contact:
If you are looking for a mental health service, visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au
If life is in danger, phone Triple Zero (000).
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