An Upper Hunter business group has started a simple initiative to help the mental health of others in the community and to show its support of the community organisation that supports so many.
Upper Hunter Women in Business (UHWIB) members have added a message to their business email signatures to promote Lifeline’s support services.
The message reads: Please do not suffer alone. If you need support phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifelinehunter.org.au.
The initiative is the brainchild of local businesswoman and UHWIB Founder Lavinia Hutchison to coincide with October being Mental Health Month.
Lavinia said some of its members, and many other Upper Hunter people, have faced stress from drought, fires, industry closures and now COVID-19.
She said it is a small thing people can do at no cost, but they could potentially save a relationship, a business, or a life.
“More than ever, we need to encourage people to reach out for help and take care of their mental health and that of their staff and others in the community,” Lavinia said.
“Upper Hunter Women in Business is about helping women to connect, communicate, and collaborate but also support the social and economic development of our community.
“Lifeline and its local volunteers do such an amazing job in always being there for people.
“We hope the email signature also reminds people of the difference Lifeline makes to communities.”
She is encouraging other businesses in the Upper Hunter and broader Hunter region to join the initiative.
Lifeline in the Hunter Senior Business Development Manager, Patrick Calabria thanked and congratulated UHWIB members for thinking about maintaining good mental health in their community.
Pat said calls to Lifeline from around Australia are up 25 per cent since COVID-19 started and this is consistent in the Upper Hunter.
Nationally, Lifeline is currently taking up to a record breaking 3,600 calls a day.
“Whatever personal issue or struggle you are facing, Lifeline is there to listen and to offer hope,” Pat said.
“If you know someone who is struggling please remind them that we’re here to help via our 13 11 14 crisis support phone line, text service and web chat.
“Our counselling service is still operating via video (telehealth) during lockdowns where people see a qualified counsellor over a number of appointments to work through issues,” he concluded.
UHWIB is a network of local businesswomen who support each other to grow each other’s confidence and businesses. It is free to join and has 150 members from Singleton, Scone, Muswellbrook, and surrounding areas.
IMAGE | UHWIB Founder, Lavinia Hutchison supports mental health awareness with new initiative (Photo credit: Winter Bloom Photography)
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.
Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter 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 the years, Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter has expanded its operations from the traditional telephone crisis support service to include a range of services to relieve the stress and pain of the people of Newcastle & Hunter.