Volunteers will man Lifeline crisis phone lines throughout Newcastle and the Hunter during the holidays and the national charity wants community members in crisis to know they can call, no matter what kind of issues they are experiencing.
Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter manager telephone crisis support Annette Cain said the Christmas-New Year period always prompted more stress in the community.
But she emphasised Lifeline were there to support and help people in pain.
“We’re here, we can meet them at their pain, and we can talk about what’s going on in their lives and work on a safe plan with them,” Ms Cain said.
Ms Cain said there was traditionally more calls being made to Lifeline pre and post-Christmas.
“Our call rate is very high throughout the year but what we notice from probably about now, when you start seeing the Christmas stuff in the shops, then that can trigger people,” Ms Cain said.
“The call rate goes up but also the intensity of suicidality will also go up around that time.”
The challenges community members faced around Christmas included financial stress, job loss, family stress and loneliness.
There are 75 volunteers throughout the Newcastle and Hunter area to help with Lifeline telephone crisis support. All are “very well trained in dealing with a person who is in crisis”.
“The one key is that they have a big heart and are willing to be there to hear someone else’s pain, and to meet them at their pain, because that’s what we do, we meet someone at their pain and are there to help and support them through whatever crisis it is they are having,” she said.
“We haven’t got a magic wand to solve their problems … but we can refer them on if we need to financial help or counselling.
“It’s about not being alone and it’s about being heard.”
Lifeline’s telephone crisis support runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can also be used by people who are worried about the safety of others.
If you think someone is in immediate danger call 000.
For crisis support call Lifeline 131 114.