Lifeline is encouraging people to reach out to someone they haven’t connected with for a while – make a phone call, send a text or better yet, arrange to meet face-to-face.
Lifeline Operations Manager Helena de Fontenay says the last couple of years have been tough for people wanting to stay connected. This was reflected in a 20% jump in calls to Lifeline helplines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to an average of 10,000 calls per month.
“Loneliness and isolation account for the biggest reason people make calls to Lifeline. Everyone needs to feel connected, but reconnecting is still tricky due to COVID-19. We’re still not back to normal,” says Helena.
“Working at Lifeline, you can see how important a phone call or a text is for someone – it can actually save a life!
“In talking with our callers, we often hear how isolated and lonely people can be. The convenience of technology means we don’t often see people in real life. We can reach people more often, and more rapidly, but does that contact mean as much?
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Lifeline is encouraging people to, when they can, book a face-to-face catch up with that person they haven’t seen in a while. Make the effort, make it special, and make lasting memories.
“Call someone to say you’re thinking of them or book in to see them. Check in with friends and family, and neighbours that you haven’t seen for a while or the 10th person on your call list,” says Helena.
“Get out and about to places that feed your soul. Connection doesn’t always have to be about other people. It could also be about connecting with yourself by unplugging from things that aren’t important like social media, and reconnecting with yourself to find a greater sense of balance.”
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is ‘Reconnect – with the people and places that lift you up, hei pikinga waiora.’
Lifeline is inviting people to post photos of places that mean a lot to them and tag its Facebook or Instagram pages.
“We also want to take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on our amazing Lifeline team who have stayed connected, and been there for New Zealanders – every single day of the year,” adds Helena.
Lifeline employs more than 70 staff along with a team of 100 volunteers in Auckland and Christchurch who show up to care for everyone that calls – rain, hail, shine and lockdowns.
Whenever you need connection – Lifeline is there.
To help ensure we are always there, donations to Lifeline can be made here. Lifeline is not Government funded and all donations go towards funding the Lifeline call centres in Auckland and Christchurch.
Wear your support for Lifeline this year
This Mental Health Awareness Week, Words To Heal You is selling a limited-edition hoodie and donating $20 from each sale to Lifeline.
Designed and made by Brooklyn Engelken, the founder of Words To Heal You hopes to raise $5000 to help Lifeline answer calls and save lives. Featuring the words “The World Is Better With You In It” on the back, the hoodie has the Lifeline phone number 0800 543 354 on the front. Find out more.