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Record number of calls placed to Lifeline

AAP logoAAP 13/12/2016

Not everyone has something to celebrate during the festive season, with Lifeline Australia expecting a record year of calls for help.

The national charity's 3500 crisis support volunteers have already received more than 920,000 calls so far this year.

Chief executive Pete Shmigel said the sheer number of people reaching out for help demonstrated the need for a national summit on suicide to come up with a prevention plan.

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the nation's suicide rate is at a 10-year high, climbing above 3000 for the first time in 2015.

"While we can say we save the lives of some 100 Aussies every day, no one wants 3000 lives lost each year to be the new tragic benchmark for suicide in Australia," Mr Shmigel said.

He said despite Lifeline Australia's record answer rate of 86 per cent, the charity is unable to answer every call immediately due to a lack of resources.

"My message to those people is to please stay on the line or try calling again later - you will get through," he said.

"I also encourage the community to look out for colleagues, friends and loved ones who may be doing it tough over the Christmas and New Year's period."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au.

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