Lifeline is this week asking the public for donations so it can answer all calls to its suicide prevention helpline. The Herald spoke to some of those involved with the 50-year-old institution and why they are backing its campaign.

After two tragic deaths in her family, Victoria Kendall wanted to find some good in the world.

Her first thought was to volunteer for Lifeline, the New Zealand institution which has taken calls from people in distress for 50 years.

A human resources manager by day, Kendall does three three-hour shifts at Lifeline's Auckland office a month. She also mentors some of the 100 volunteers that the organisation takes on each year.

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It was her way of making something positive out of her dad's death, she said.

David Kendall took his own life in December 2016 after a series of disasters.

There was a workplace incident, which Victoria said amounted to bullying. Then her father lost his home and all his possessions when the yacht he lived in sank, and his insurance company refused to pay up. After moving to Australia, he broke up with his second wife.

His death was doubly tragic for Victoria. David's own father had taken his own life at the same age – 59 years old.

Victoria Kendall holds a photo of herself with her late father on holiday in Queensland in 2012. Kendall, a Lifeline counsellor, has lost both her father and her grandfather to suicide. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Victoria Kendall holds a photo of herself with her late father on holiday in Queensland in 2012. Kendall, a Lifeline counsellor, has lost both her father and her grandfather to suicide. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"It's quite scary when you see history repeat itself like that in two generations," she said.

"Losing dad was the worst thing I've had to go through. I had this horrible feeling of who's it going to come for next?"

Looking through photographs of her father on holiday in Queensland, Kendall said his death was a waste.

"It really does sit with me. There might have been more days like this to come.

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"There would have been another trip with me over there and us exploring and finding cassowarys in the wild. And it's a shame that a bad patch means that will never happen."

She has not yet worked out how to deal with her father's death. But she has one piece of advice.

"Be okay to lean on the people around you and talk to them and be upset with them.

"I'm often the person who is looking out for my friends, so to accept that you're in a different position and let other people do that for you, I think that sense of connection with others was really important.

"That's what got me through, that there was still good in the world."

Lifeline does not get Government funding for its helpline, and it depends on donations year to year. That can make for an uncertain, sometimes frustrating working environment, Rendall said.

Victoria Kendall holds a photo of herself with her late father on holiday in Queensland in 2012. Kendall, a Lifeline counsellor, has lost both her father and her grandfather to suicide. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Victoria Kendall holds a photo of herself with her late father on holiday in Queensland in 2012. Kendall, a Lifeline counsellor, has lost both her father and her grandfather to suicide. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"They can only ever plan a year out because you don't know how much funding they're going to get."

Kendall said she had taken calls from people who can't afford professional help, who are on long waiting lists, or who live in remote spots which are far from healthcare.

"One of the things that really strikes me is you talk to so many people who want help or want support to get themselves better.

"And you think - where are these sorts of people going to go if this service doesn't exist?"

Lifeline has a commercial contract to promote The 72 Club campaign with the Herald's parent company NZME

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254.
• For others, visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/helplines/