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Lifeline Calls Up 25% As Kiwis Face Job And Finance Worries

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Lifeline Calls Up 25% As Kiwis Face Job And Finance Worries

Callers to LifeLine, the 24/7 national telephone and email counselling service, were up 25% in 2008 to 100,000 (2007: 80,372), with the biggest increase coming from New Zealanders worried about job security and unemployment.

LifeLine New Zealand Clinical Manager, Melanie Ingram, says: "There's has been a sharp rise in the number of calls we've taken about employment issues and unemployment in the year, with the biggest call numbers in the financial category focusing on lack of money and the struggle to make ends meet. We've also seen an increase in calls from people living in rural areas, many of them beneficiaries, who are struggling on a weekly basis to make ends meet. Many of these callers are mental health consumers as well. This correlates with more urban centres reporting an increase in calls from mental health consumers wanting support over the holiday period while other services are closed."

Each of the 100,000 calls answered by LifeLine's 700 volunteer counsellors in the year, cost the national organisation about $2.00, reflecting a huge increase in the use of mobile phones via the LifeLine 0800 number.

LifeLine New Zealand and its nine regional centres are, for the first time, holding a national awareness week between 20 to 28 February to raise funds to support the telephone service, which has been available to New Zealanders for 45 years, and the more recently-introduced email counselling service.

The phones are answered 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year; while most people sleep and other agencies are closed, people are increasingly coping with quite extraordinary levels of stress and it's very easy to miss the signs that someone close to us - sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers or friends - is feeling lost. Often all it takes is for someone to take time to listen to a problem: anxiety, loneliness, stress, depression, sexual abuse and personal relationships. LifeLine can help.

LifeLine is staffed mainly by volunteers with a small paid clinical and administration staff. Donations can be made through the LifeLine website, www.lifeline.co.nz or $3.00 donations can by made by texting LIFE to 2447 until the end of April.

LifeLine Centres are in Auckland, Whangarei, Taranaki, Waikato, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Malborough, Christchurch,

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