The Northern Rivers region has had its fair share of challenges over the last few years with the pandemic, climate events, employment, as well as the issue of housing that have left many people in the region reeling.
Lifeline’s new regional general manager Michael Were says that housing is something he has heard a lot about since he has taken over as regional manager for the Northern Rivers, an area that covers north of Grafton to Tweed Heads, and west to Tenterfield, Inverell and Glen Innes.
‘Housing is a big one that I’m hearing about regularly,’ he told The Echo.
Helping people deal with the challenges they are facing in their lives is a big part of what Lifeline does and Lismore is one of 41 locations nationally where trained crisis supporters field calls for help.
‘The Lismore local government area (LGA) has a significantly higher number of mental health challenges than the national average’ says Michael.
Through his role Michael plans to extend Lifelines engagement with local businesses and community groups.
‘We are looking to partner with local businesses to provide corporate training as well as engaging with local community groups such as sporting groups on how to create a better community.
‘Through our Lismore centre, we answer approximately 22,000 of the calls placed each year. Within our region we also have many trained crisis supporters responding via text message, which is a growing support platform for Lifeline,’ he said.
‘With the help of the local community, we’d like to invest in additional services and support to Northern NSW, continued Michael.
If you call 131114 you get first available councillor and calls are received in Lismore from around the country.
‘There are a variety of different reasons people call,’ says Michael. ‘From being in an unsafe place through to felling lonely or isolated. Someone may have had a rough day at work and want to be in a better head space when get home to family.’
‘We exist so that no person in Australia has to face their darkest moments alone. If you find you are feeling overwhelmed, please know that you are not alone. Lifeline is here for you, 24 hours a day,’ Michael urged.