Calls to Lifeline Gippsland continue to be answered by local volunteers thanks to the support of Latrobe City Council.
Following last year’s electrical fire at Lifeline Gippsland’s office in Morwell, which resulted in damage to the crisis support centre, Council has provided Lifeline access to a temporary venue to house the organisation’s call centre.
About 30 members of the crisis support staff have relocated to a room within the Latrobe City Council Service Centre and Library in Traralgon where they will answer calls from the 13 11 14 crisis support line. In the past financial year, Lifeline Gippsland volunteers answered 20,997 calls supporting vulnerable Australians.
Mayor of Latrobe City, Councillor Kellie O’Callaghan said it was important for Council to support the Lifeline team who play a pivotal role in supporting the community.
“When Council became aware of Lifeline being displaced from their premises we reached out with the offer of an alternate space. Latrobe City Council’s Property Team worked closely with Lifeline Gippsland to set up the training room to ensure the volunteers had a comfortable and safe space to receive calls,” said the Mayor.
“Lifeline provides mental health support for Australians and help up to 3,335 people per day. They are a crucial service that changes the lives of many people.
“Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. The Gippsland region has higher rates of suicide than average, so it is vital that Lifeline has a space to operate from.
“We warmly welcome Lifeline Gippsland to our library training space and encourage community members to volunteer or donate to Lifeline if they can.”
Lifeline Gippsland’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Possingham thanked Council for the use of the facility.
“As soon as Latrobe City Council heard about the fire in our Morwell office, they reached out to identify ways they could help,” said Ms Possingham.
“Responding to the 13 11 14 crisis phone line is crucial to our vision of an Australia free of suicide, where no one has to face their darkest moment alone, so our highest priority was getting the phone room back in operation to enable our volunteers to continue this service.
“We are grateful to Latrobe City for helping to ensure our crucial service can continue.”
Crisis support staff are available to answer calls and messages at any time of the day. Members of the public are unable to visit Lifeline directly but can call crisis support 24/7 on 13 11 14.