The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4


1 of 3 posts that focus on my meeting with Eve Barratt

I have arranged to meet Eve Barratt who is the Lifeline manager for South East Australia.  Whilst it is my intention to discuss my meeting with Eve, I believe it would be a missed opportunity if I did not tell you a little bit about this wonderful charity that focuses on suicide prevention.  I will then write an additional post that will focus on my experiences of spending a day with Eve.

Lifeline is a national charity that focuses on suicide prevention and was founded in 1963.  The charity believes that most suicides are preventable and works on the principle that everyone in the community has a role to play in suicide prevention. They are committed to serving the whole community.  Hence, their services are multi-faceted  as they attempt to respond to the needs of individuals, families and communities that they support.

The following services are provided by 1,000 staff and 11,000 volunteers, over 60 locations nationwide:

National Services

•          24 Hour Telephone Crisis Line (similar to Samaritans in the UK);

•          Service Finder – free directory of local health and community services; and

•          Mental Health Resource Centre

Local Community Services

A range of services are provided through local Lifeline Centres across Australia that meets the needs of local communities and can include

•          Suicide prevention and bereavement services;

•          Face-to-face counselling;

•          Financial counselling;

•          Gambling counselling;

•          Youth services;

•          Disability services;

•          Welfare programs;

•          Rural outreach;

•          Migrant support services;

•          Family and mediation services;

•          Counselling services for children;

•          School based education programmes;

•          Information education and support groups;

•          Aged care visitation;

•          Indigenous support (e.g. Aborigines); and

•          Support the provision of a Listener service (i.e. work with local prisons to provide a peer support listening service for prisoners who are feeling suicidal).

The main purpose of my meeting with Eve Barratt is to talk about the ‘Listener’ service that she has developed and helped to implement in Mount Gambier prison.  Whilst Lifeline has adopted the same name as a similar service that is provided by The Samaritans’ in the UK. There are some fundamental differences, which I will discuss in my next post.

If you would like to know about Lifeline please click on the following link below.