Challenge set for workplace teams to help Lifeline help others

Challenge set for workplace teams to help Lifeline help others

Lifeline Hunter has launched its Challenge Yourself for Mental Health campaign to raise funds for its local suicide prevention services.

Local businesses are being asked to encourage their teams to challenge themselves and each other during October, Mental Health Month, to help Lifeline crisis supporters help local people overcome their mental health challenges.

Gym club Genesis Health and Fitness has arranged for teams at its Hunter clubs at Cooks Hill, Mayfield, Warners Bay, Maitland, Rutherford, Cessnock, as well as in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Tormina to take on challenges to better themselves.

Cooks Hill team members are reducing their mobile phone use by locking their phones away for two hours. Cooks Hill Club Manager, Rashida is reading for 30 minutes before bed each night. Regional Manager, Steve is making sure he takes his lunch break every day.

The Cooks Hill club is also encouraging its members to join them. The first 15 members to take up the challenge will get a goodie bag from Australian Sports Nutrition in Newcastle.

Lifeline Community Manager, Pat Calabria said teams or individuals are able to set their own challenges to better their mental health.

Pat said by taking up something new, changing a habit or work practice or being healthier, people can also make sure a Lifeline crisis supporter is there to answer someone’s call to its 13 11 14 service.

“Lifeline continues to support a record number of people to navigate their mental health challenges, including challenges brought on by floods and the COVID 19 pandemic,” Pat said.

“This is an opportunity to challenge yourself to achieve better physical or mental health and help others overcome their mental health challenges.”

Lifeline Hunter is facing its own challenges in responding to record demand for its services.

“Many people don’t realise that local Lifeline centres rely on community donations and fundraising to keep its services running,” Pat said.

“It costs us $3,500 to train and support each crisis supporter. Each call to Lifeline costs around $39.”

“We don’t want people to suffer in silence; we’re here to listen without judgement and to offer hope to every person who needs us.”

Andrew Carters has just finished his crisis supporter training. The 41-year-old father of two is now doing a four hour shift every fortnight at Lifeline’s Newcastle call centre.

Andrew said being a crisis supporter will give him more practical experience in his chosen field, but he wants to give back to the community in a practical way. He said the calls can be challenging but very enriching.

“By listening and acknowledging people’s pain or challenges you can help them to move through their current crisis,” Andrew said.

“It is amazing how we can help them to become calmer and start to talk through strategies to help them move forward.”

If this story causes issues for you, call Lifeline 24 hours on 13 11 14.


IMAGE | Pat Calabria and Andrew Carters

Lifeline Hunter Central Coast

Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world. Its vision is an Australia free of suicide. Twice as many Australians die by suicide each year than people killed on our roads.

Lifeline Hunter Central Coast began in 1966 when Reverend John Chegwidden was awakened by a distressed telephone call from a man wanting to know if there was a Lifeline service operating in the region. Over its 50 year history it has expanded its services beyond traditional telephone 24/7 crisis support to also provide suicide prevention services including training and face to face counselling. It also operates nine charity shops in the Hunter. Lifeline Hunter Central Coast estimates its staff and volunteers save more than 5,000 local lives annually. It relies on local community support for 85% of its funding.

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