Lifeline given a helping hand through its financial crisis

Lifeline receives around 18,000 calls a month from people struggling with issues including suicidal thoughts, family violence and financial problems. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Lifeline receives around 18,000 calls a month from people struggling with issues including suicidal thoughts, family violence and financial problems. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The financially-struggling Lifeline counselling service has been rescued by a social services charity.

Lifeline is merging with Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN), which has committed 18 months of operational support while investigating how to help solve Lifeline's long-term funding issues.

Lifeline receives around 18,000 calls a month from people around New Zealand who are struggling with issues including suicidal thoughts, family violence and financial problems.

It has been suffering a financial crisis after losing significant state funding.

In June, Lifeline Aotearoa announced it had enough money to run for one more year.

It had changed its structure, laid off some staff and reduced its chief executive's hours to part-time, all in a bid to stay afloat.

"PSN's support over the next 18 months is crucial to ensure that Lifeline can continue to help New Zealanders get through their tough times," said Lifeline executive director Glenda Schnell.

"The Lifeline staff and volunteers are relieved that our services will continue and are now looking forward to next year," Schnell said.

Lifeline Auckland was established in the 1960s by several churches, including Presbyterian Support Northern, which has actively supported Lifeline since then.

Presbyterian Support Northern chief executive Rod Watts says the social services charity is investing in Lifeline. Photo / supplied.
Presbyterian Support Northern chief executive Rod Watts says the social services charity is investing in Lifeline. Photo / supplied.

Presbyterian Support Northern chief executive Rod Watts said: "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."

Schnell said that even after the merger with Presbyterian Support Northern, callers would get the same, high-quality, sensitive and confidential help they received at the moment.

"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 make sure to support New Zealanders' mental and emotional wellbeing."

- NZ Herald

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