South-west agencies offer assistance

CRISIS calls from people struggling to cope with Christmas and the new year have reinforced the need for better co-ordination of suicide prevention across the south-west.

“We had several interventions prior to Christmas,” Lifeline South-West co-ordinator Meredith Ericson told The Standard yesterday.

“During Christmas and new year a lot of people were very lonely and a few were worried about how they would manage their financial situation.

“This year a priority project will be to have a suicide prevention strategy for the region involving many agencies from Corangamite Shire to the South Australian border.

“Although the south-west suicide rate would be about state average, hundreds more   people are affected.

“A lot of family members suffer and a percentage find it incredibly hard to move on.

“The grief reaction is very powerful. 

“We are hoping to bring this issue out into the public domain more.”

Meanwhile, the St Vincent de Paul Society and other welfare agencies did their bit to bring Christmas cheer for some south-west residents struggling to pay bills.

St Vinnies’ president for the Warrnambool and Hamilton regions, Kevin Wright of Warrnambool, said most demand came from families who had spent their budget on Christmas food and presents.

“Some people don’t seem to be able to find enough for necessities,”  he said.

“People have been very generous in supporting the annual community Christmas appeal and we have had a lot of donated food and toys. 

“We have also noticed young people seeking assistance after moving  into their own shared accommodation, but not realising the financial costs.

“Our organisation often refers people to Bethany financial planning.”

Welfare agencies are preparing for another wave of requests with the approaching return to school for primary and secondary students.

. If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Website: lifeline.org.au

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