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A lifeline for Lifeline

MEDIA RELEASE

A lifeline for Lifeline

Leading counselling service, Lifeline, has been thrown a lifeline by Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN), which has committed 18 months of operational support while also looking to help solve Lifeline’s long-term funding issues.

Lifeline, which takes around 18,000 calls a month, was in financial crisis, having lost significant government funding over the past year. PSN responded with an offer of help. PSN is one of the largest non-government organisations in the health and social service sector, providing a range of services throughout the upper North Island.

“PSN’s support over the next 18 months is crucial to ensure Lifeline can continue to help New Zealanders get through their tough times,” says Glenda Schnell, Executive Director of Lifeline.

“The Lifeline staff and volunteers are relieved that our services will continue, and are now looking forward to next year,” she added.

Lifeline Auckland was established in the mid 1960s by several churches, including PSN, which has been an active Lifeline supporter since that time. Lifeline is New Zealand’s longest operating telephone help service and is now one of the country’s leading support organisations for New Zealanders in crisis.

Dr Rod Watts, PSN’s Chief Executive, says, ”PSN is making an investment in Lifeline to continue its services and to explore options in the New Year for further development. The financial situation is a big challenge, and we are optimistic about finding a long term solution. We will need support from New Zealanders as a key part of this solution.”

PSN will utilise its organisational capability and capacity to provide Lifeline with operating support and development. “The initial priority,” Dr Watts says, “is to stabilise Lifeline and guarantee callers will continue to receive the excellent services from Lifeline that they have relied upon.”

“People in crisis need to have trust in who they reach out to, and Lifeline is a well-known, trusted, confidential service,” said Dr Watts. “New Zealand continues to have one of the highest suicide rates in OECD countries. Providing a lifeline to those who are losing hope fits very well with PSN’s vision of a better life for everyone.”

Schnell reassures that even after the merge with PSN, callers can still expect to get the same high quality, sensitive and confidential help they’re used to when calling Lifeline.

“People calling the Lifeline number will not notice any difference,” she said. “It will still be the same number – 0800 Lifeline (0800 543 354) – and the same mix of extensively trained clinical experts and volunteers. It will continue as a distinct and unique service.”

Lifeline’s helplines answer up to 18,000 calls per month on a raft of issues including suicidal thoughts, loneliness, family violence, financial concerns, homelessness, bullying, relationship issues, and mental health.

“With the number of calls continuing to rise, it is essential that Lifeline gets the support it needs to keep answering those calls, so we can ensure we support New Zealanders’ mental and emotional wellbeing,” concluded Schnell.

Ends

www.lifeline.org.nz

About Presbyterian Support Northern
Presbyterian Support Northern is a charitable trust with more than 1,000 staff which offers a wide range of social services in the community under three main brands: Enliven supports the elderly and people with disabilities or recovering from injury; Family Works concentrates on support for at risk children and young people with a focus on families; and Shine is a specialist domestic abuse service provider.

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