A new confidential phone crisis line for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been launched for Indigenous people and families who need to have a yarn with someone about their wellbeing.
Called “Yarning SafeNStrong,” the 1800 helpline is a statewide social and emotional wellbeing service for Aboriginal Victorians.
The helpline (1800 95 95 63) will operate 7 days a week from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
If anyone calls outside of these hours there will be a recorded message suggesting other 24/7 phone counselling services (Lifeline, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline) and an opportunity for the person to leave a message and have their call returned the following day.
COVID-19 has seen many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without access to their family and other supports, including face to face access to workers from Aboriginal services, leaving many feeling vulnerable and isolated.
Responding to calls from the Aboriginal Community, the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) to launch Yarning SafeNStrong.
“Today, we have not only the highest recorded suicide rates in the country, but across the world,” said VAHS CEO Michael Graham.
“It has taken a global pandemic for governments to fully acknowledge this challenge and to support initiatives such as the need for our own helpline. We are thankful for the resource which is a small but important step towards the level of resourcing needed.”
The Yarning SafeNStrong helpline number is 1800 95 95 63.