Someone will call Lifeline every 22 seconds over the Christmas and New Year holidays, the agency says, as the crisis hotline prepares for an unprecedented surge in calls.
The holidays is regularly Lifeline’s busiest time of the year, but they’re expecting 2023 to be their busiest yet.
“Normally we see an increase in calls at this time of year, and we’ve got a team preparing for that,” Lifeline spokesperson Chris Siorokos told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“The average this year has been about 3000 calls a day. We’re expecting 3200 calls a day over the Christmas period, and texts of up to 600 or 700 a day.
“So overall that’s increasing about 20% over the holiday period.”
The busiest days are expected to be those immediately after Christmas Day, and then between the 31st of December 2023 and 2nd of January 2024.
Siorokos said there was a number of reasons they were expecting a higher number of calls than previous years, with financial pressures one of the biggest factors.
“The cost of living crisis is having a real impact on people’s lives,” he said.
“They might feel embarrassed or ashamed that they can’t afford presents for their loved one and might not visit family at all.”
Other factors included loneliness, grief, housing stresses, Covid, stress caused by natural disasters and even international conflicts such as Israel and Palestine. However, Siorokos said the most important thing to know was that the agency was prepared for more calls and always available.
“It’s normal for people to feel this way, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about calling a service — there’s no stigma attached,” he said.
“Please call, we are here 24/7.”
Lifeline is available for help by calling 13 11 14.