2020 has been a year like no other for the people of the South Coast. Catastrophic bushfires followed by the onset of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the lives of so many across the region.
Fortunately, Lifeline South Coast has been there to wrap its arms around the community and support people in desperate need of help.
The 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services that covers the coastal region from Helensburgh to the Victorian border, was a beneficiary of a special round of Greater Bank’s community funding program – #GreaterIllawarra – in April this year, which supported bushfire-affected communities across the Illawarra and South Coast regions.
According to Lifeline South Coast CEO, Renee Green, the $10,000 they received from the program has been critical in supporting the increased demand for their services, which is up by 25% on the same period last year.
Central to this support has been the roll out of suicide awareness training to people across the South Coast region.
“The funding from Greater Bank is enabling us to continue our work in supporting the people of our region, particularly through the roll out of our QPR Program, which stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the thee simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide,” Renee said.
“This program provides everyday people with the skills and confidence to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal, talk to them about suicidal thoughts and connect them with professional care.
“In the coming month we will focus on delivering the program along the South Coast, specifically to bushfire impacted communities. We want to upskill as many people as possible in these communities without cost being a barrier to them getting those skills.”
Across Australia, an average of eight people – six male and two female – are suiciding each day, while research undertaken by Lifeline indicates that up to 10 million people are impacted in some way by suicide.
It is these alarming statistics that continue to drive Renee and the South Coast team to continue their work in the community.
“Our aim is to provide that support when people are at their most vulnerable. We want them to know that there is someone there for them 24/7 and we want to provide connection and hope.
“Anyone who is struggling, be it through the impacts of the bushfires, COVID-19 or any aspects of their life are encouraged to reach out for help and it doesn’t have to be when they reach their darkest moments. We are here to listen to any issue and provide support in a non-judgemental and safe space.”
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more information on the QPR Program or other services offered by Lifeline, go online at lifelinesouthcoast.org.au.