Lifeline has launched its free text support service – HELP (4357) as part of its suicide prevention strategy to increase access to support for people in distress.
The service opened at 10am on Wednesday 21st March and will be open to anyone who wants to talk about what is worrying them.
HELP (4357) is easy to remember and reflects the intent to be there 24/7 when people need help.
To use the service, a message is sent to HELP (4357) and one of Lifeline’s qualified counsellors or well-trained volunteers will respond. The service will be free of charge.
In response to the many requests we have had and to give people a choice about how they wish to engage with us, Lifeline has invested in the development of additional support channels and staff. Texting is a daily form of communication for many people and an accessible way to reach out for help.
We expect the service will be used by a different group of people to those who connect by phone call and potentially reflect younger people’s preference to communicate via technology. The text service will also remove barriers to getting help for people who find it really difficult to pick up the phone and call.
Glenda Schnell, Lifeline’s Executive Director says, “Lifeline has been a call away for people in distress for over 50 years and we’re so pleased to be able to add to this service and respond to the growing need to communicate via technology”.
Currently, Lifeline receives over 10,000 calls a month to its free helpline and an average of 6 calls a day from people at high risk of suicide. With no government funding, Spark Foundation has been a major sponsor of this work and fundamental in making this project happen.
GM Corporate Relations for Spark, Andrew Pirie, says, “this service is a wonderful example of how technology can be a powerful tool for good, offering a way for people in distress to access help right when they need it. Spark is proud to do our bit to support Lifeline in their vital work.”