More people will be able to benefit from Lifeline’s local, face-to-face counselling service thanks to a new partnership with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in the Hunter Valley.
Face-to-face counselling is an additional service to Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support line.
Lifeline’s Regional General Manager, Julie Wicks, said the support from ARTC is vital for it to be able to continue its free face-to-face counselling program. Ms Wicks said the pandemic had brought increased demand for support from Lifeline within the Hunter and across Australia.
She said confidential, one-hour sessions are delivered by Lifeline trained counsellors and are an important service to help people move beyond crisis and to also prevent people from reaching that crisis point.
“Counselling can help people struggling with emotional, social or behavioural difficulties and those needing to find solutions to improve their mental health and well-being,” Ms Wicks said.
“Private counselling and psychology can be expensive for people and there are long wait lists for public counselling, so Lifeline’s service fills a much-needed gap for the community,” she said.
Ms Wicks said the partnership with ARTC extends beyond its generous funding support. ARTC staff will volunteer at Lifeline’s upcoming local book fair on April 10 and 11 at the Newcastle Showground Exhibition Centre.
“This partnership embodies our approach to work with community for communities to be suicide safe – through connection, compassion and hope,” Ms Wicks said.
Wayne Johnson, ARTC Group Executive Hunter Valley Network, said the partnership was an effective and tangible way to extend support to people in the local community in their time of need.
Mr Johnson said ARTC’s value of “No Harm” underpins everything ARTC does.
“The health and safety of our team, both physical and mental, is ARTC’s number one priority, and we take that very seriously,” Mr Johnson said.
“Good mental health is vital, and we have invested in it internally by offering staff an Employee Assistance Program, and upskilling mental health support providers within our team,” he said.
“This partnership with Lifeline helps us to play our part in achieving wellbeing in the community.”
Lifeline’s free face-to-face counselling is offered Monday to Friday at Islington and at outreach locations in Singleton, Raymond Terrace and Cessnock. To make an appointment call 1300 152 854.
Lifeline’s crisis support line 13 11 14 operates 24-hours a day.
ARTC plays a vital role in the transport supply chain and the economic development of Australia. It manages and maintains an 8500km, cost efficient, reliable, and safe rail network across five Australian states.