Local suicide prevention charity, Lifeline Hunter Central Coast has been able to continue vital services to support and give hope to people in crisis thanks to several local businesses.
Lifeline has reintroduced face-to-face counselling services in Lake Macquarie thanks to a grant from Belmont 16s through the Lake Macquarie Clubs Grants scheme.
Belmont 16s CEO, Scott Williams joined Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser at the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre, where the sessions will be offered, to meet Lifeline’s Counsellor, as well as Regional Manager, Rob Sams.
Rob explained how confidential, face-to-face, counselling can help local people with any personal or relationship issue as well as those who have thought about or who are bereaved by suicide.
“The support from businesses such as Belmont 16s means we can make the sessions highly affordable so that anyone in crisis does not have to be alone,” Rob said.
Meanwhile, the Port of Newcastle and Pettigrew Family Funerals helped to make the 2017 biennial Brass Blokes Award possible. The award recognises local unsung heroes who have been through big challenges yet find the courage to give back to their community. The award and associated fundraising event is designed to inspire others and give them hope.
The winner was 74-year-old Charles Webster from Hamilton who has survived child abuse and being shot in the head, rendering him a quadriplegic, to establish the Chuck Duck Charity to help disadvantaged young people.
Support for the event also came from another Hunter organisation, Newcastle Jets, via its CEO Lawrie McKinna. Lawrie joined ABCTV “Man Up” series’ Gus Worland, and 2017 Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year John Cleary on a panel to discuss the importance of resilience and share some of the stories of brass blokes they have encountered. 2NURFM presenter Todd Sargeant was emcee.
Rob said whilst the recently released 2016 national suicide data shows a slight reduction in suicide rates, eight lives are lost to suicide in Australia every day. About 100,000 Australians experience suicide ideation each year. Three out of four suicides in Australia are by men and suicide remains the leading cause of death for all Australians aged between 15 and 44. The rates for males and females aged 20-24 are at their highest in more than a decade, at 23.3 per 100,000 and 7.7 per 100,000 respectively.
Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast relies on business and community support for more than 55 per cent of its funding.
IMAGE | Port of Newcastle CEO Geoff Crowe, 2017 Brass Bloke Charles Webster and inaugural Brass Bloke Graeme Irwin.
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.