News : Lifeline Closes Only Local NT Call Centre
Darwin, Australia, Sept 1, 2016 -- After 10 years of operation in Darwin, suicide counselling hotline Lifeline officially closed its only local call centre this week.
The NT News revealed earlier this month the not-for-profit organisation was unable to remain open due to an NT Government funding shortfall of $150,000.
The Winnellie call centre — which employs two paid staff and several volunteers — has been in operation and open to the public since it took over from Crisis Line in 1996. Prior to that, Crisis Line served the Darwin community for 35 years.
Lifeline has transitioned its 13 11 14 telephone counselling service to Lifeline national network.
A letter sent from Lifeline’s board of directors to its employees, volunteers and members this month advised of the closure due to "funding reductions last financial year (resulting) in our organisation being significantly understaffed and under pressure".
The NT Government previously funded the Top End organisation under a three-year $330,000 per annum agreement. It was reduced to $200,000 last financial year despite the organisation requesting $490,000 in its funding submission.
Long time Territorian Danielle Lee hit out at the closure saying it would impact Territorians significantly, particularly as the NT had double the nation’s rate of suicide.
"I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. I’ve been in a position where I have had to phone Lifeline ... they have saved me from a very very dark place," she said. "We can’t just have a national hotline - we need people on the ground here."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Lifeline Australia:
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Published: Monday, September 5, 2016