Lifeline’s helping hand for people living alone

MORE than half of the calls going to Lifeline are from people who live alone, new research has revealed.

New analysis by Lifeline Australia shows that 55% of calls to its 131114 crisis line come from people who live alone, and the charity's chief executive Pete Shmigel said it highlighted the need for more connection in modern Australia.

He also said it revealed "just how far feelings of isolation and despair extended in the community".

"It's heartbreaking to think of the immense loneliness experienced by so many of our neighbours, but heart-warming that so many are turning to the compassionate support offered by Lifeline's 4000 trained crisis supporters," Mr Shmigel said.

A recent change to the way Lifeline records caller data has helped to paint a stronger picture of where community need is greatest.

"The living arrangements, ages and indigenous status of callers are now recorded when this information is offered," Mr Shmigel said.

"For instance, from January to March, about 40% of calls came from people aged 45-65 years and 4.2% from people who self-identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander."

The number of suicides in Australia has reached a 10-year-plus high - there are eight suicides every day, or one every three hours.

Mr Shmigel said Lifeline will continue to evolve in order to tackle the country's national suicide emergency.

"We plan to collect further information, such as whether someone has called after a hospital admission due to a suicide attempt, and then use this to better adapt our services and outreach to do the most good," he said.

For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 131114 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.


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