The NSW Police Force has joined with Lifeline Australia in an awareness campaign to focus attention on suicide prevention.
The partnership will see twelve highway patrol vehicles branded with highly-visible stickers to promote Lifeline’s ’13 HELP’ (13 43 57) – a dedicated Lifeline phone number for people in bushfire affected communities.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said citizens have been thrown many curveballs in the last 12 months, from drought to bushfires, floods and now a global pandemic. It is important that they know help is just a phone call away.
“After battling through severe drought, a ‘Black Summer’ of bushfires, February floods and the spread of COVID-19, no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help. We all need someone to talk to sometimes” Mr Elliott said.
“I commend the NSW Police Force for signing up to promote an important awareness campaign. I’m certain the high visibility patrol vehicles will deliver the message so many people seek during these difficult times.”
“So pick up the phone and express your distress, anger, frustration, anxiety or sadness, and you’ll be surprised to know there are many more feeling the same.”
Police remind the community to always contact Triple Zero (000) if you need policing help in an emergency, or for non-urgent police assistance contact 131 444.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said police have seen first-hand the impact these recent hard times have had on the community of NSW.
“As first responders, police know more than most about the devastating effects these bushfires have had on local communities.” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.
“We know that things may feel acutely overwhelming at times. We want to remind people when they are at crisis point that police and Lifeline are just two avenues to getting immediate help,” he said.
Lifeline Chairman, Mr John Brogden, said that since its February launch, the dedicated ’13 HELP’ (13 43 57) phoneline has received over 28,000 calls from bushfire affected communities and people affected by bushfires events who have sought
“We want this campaign to act as a preventative trigger when people may be struggling – and we want people to know that there is help at hand at that critical point,” Mr Brogden said.
“The loss and grief caused by the bushfires will continue to impact on the mental wellbeing of communities and people, both now and well into the future, and Lifeline will be there to help,” he said.
The campaign will also be promoted on variable messaging signage across the road networks.
The community is also able to contact Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone crisis line on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.