Lifeline’s decision to open up the new 13 HELP hotline was due to a 15% uptick from late last year when the bushfire crisis intensified.
Lifeline Chairman John Brogden felt a dedicated line was necessary to meet the needs of those directly affected. “From the calls that have come in, and from our teams on the ground, it’s clear to us that people need to talk through their experience, they also need simple and clear information about what is available to them in their local community when they need it," he said.
$1.5 million in funding from the Federal Government along with almost $600,000 from pledges by supporters including Woolworths, Fantastic Furniture and Santos has made the hotline possible.
“The message we want to get to people affected by the fires, no matter what stage of recovery their community is in, is that it is important that you talk about your experience. Lifeline is here for you at whatever time you need us, we are here 24 hours a day, ready to listen” Mr Brogden told 2GB.
More than 11 million hectares of bush, forest and parks across Australia have burned. At least 33 people have been killed - including four firefighters - and millions of animals have perished.
If you have been affected by the Australian bushfires and need support, call Lifeline on 13 43 57.