LakeMac Today attended the launch of the valuable new Lifeline counselling service in the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre.
As from today, people living in Belmont and surrounding areas of Lake Macquarie again have local access to affordable counselling from Lifeline, thanks to the support of Belmont 16’s and the Lake Macquarie Club Grants. Visiting dignitaries at the event were Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, CEO of Belmont 16’s Mr Scott Williams, Lifeline Hunter Central Coast Regional Manager Mr Rob Sams and Lifeline Counsellor Catherine Gibbins.
Speaking at the launch today, Belmont 16’s CEO Scott Williams said his club had 30,000 members. “With a community footprint of our size, statistically speaking, there would be a percentage of our membership who could really benefit from this service at one point or another. Lifeline is run by local people for local people. From this aspect it ticks all the boxes to justify our donation.”
Mr Williams said the Club saw Lifeline’s service as a vital one that will benefit many people in the local community. He said funding for Lifeline was part of $377,000 in funding delivered through the Lake Macquarie Club Grants Scheme by 18 local clubs.
Face to face counselling sessions from experts in their field will now be available every Monday from 9.30am in the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre. Lifeline Hunter Central Coast regional manager, Rob Sams, said Lifeline had to suspend its local counselling service in 2015 but new funding from Belmont 16s through Lake Macquarie Club Grants means the service can resume.
Mr Sams said Lifeline’s service provides professional, confidential, low cost, counselling on all manner of personal and relationship issues. He said many people can’t afford a private psychologist or to wait for a public system appointment.
“Our counselling fills a much-needed gap and it is for everyone,” Mr Sams said.
“Our trained counsellors help those in crisis but also help prevent people from reaching a crisis point,” he said.
One hour counselling sessions are subsidised to cost $40 ($20 for concession card holders).
Mr Sams is looking to obtain other funding to further expand the service locally. Counselling is one of the services Lifeline provides to local people to help save local lives and support those bereaved by suicide. Other services include the 13 11 14 crisis support line, training, support groups and other community suicide prevention programs.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for all Australians aged between 15 and 44. Twice as many people are lost to suicide as die on our roads. Many more people attempt to take their own life each year.
To book a counselling session phone Lifeline on 4940 2000. More information about Lifeline’s counselling is also available from http://www.lifelinehunter.org.au/find-help/