9 September 2016

Lifeline’s cry for help leads to surge in crisis calls 

In the last four months, calls made to Lifeline Aotearoa about suicide and self-harm have increased by 37 per cent.   

More staggering is that since last month’s launch of a “Help Keep Lifeline Alive Campaign” there has been a 48 per cent increase in calls to Lifeline relating to suicide and self-harm alone. 

In June this year, Lifeline announced it only has enough money to run its 24 hour help lines for one more year.   In August, Lifeline launched a national media campaign as part of its fight for survival. 

“During the last 12 months, we have noticed a 40 per cent increase in demand for our Lifeline and suicide crisis helplines as more and more kiwis reach out for help and support.   But since we went public in June about the future viability of Lifeline’s helplines, the phones have barely stopped ringing,” says Lifeline CEO Jo Denvir. 

Calls to Lifeline’s suicide crisis line ‘Tautoko’ relating to suicide and self-harm have also increased by 60 per cent in the past four months.  Calls relating to other issues such as access to housing, social isolation and loneliness, employment concerns and relationship issues have also increased by nearly 20 per cent in the past month. 

“What these figures tell us is that not only is need higher than ever, but that services like Lifeline are a critical part of the suite of public health responses any modern society needs for its citizens when they face a personal crisis.  

“We are one of the country’s most recognised and trusted organisations providing immediate support to the emotional and mental wellbeing of every caller who reaches out to us for help. Kiwis are choosing our service to seek support and advice and that choice must remain available to them. It’s unthinkable that we may be forced to turn off our 24/7 phone lines next June,” says Ms Denvir. 

Anyone who would like to support Lifeline can go to www.lifeline.org.nz to make a donation. 

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