Lifeline Classic 2021: Good Vibes Saves Lives

David Thomas is the CEO of Lifeline Northern Beaches. Here he talks to Form1 about the power of community, and the impact of Covid-19, on mental health.

On Saturday, December 18, 2021, the Man Anchor team, powered by Form1, will compete in Lifeline Classic – a much-loved, annual surfing event that raises money for Lifeline Northern Beaches.

“The Lifeline Classic is about celebrating our community’s love of the waves, and the role surfing plays in our collective happiness and mental health. Good vibes really do save lives and with this event we can save lives in our own backyard,” says Lifeline Northern Beaches CEO, David Thomas.

Like many businesses, and charities, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on Lifeline forcing them to cancel book fairs and temporarily close their retail stores which is a multi-million dollar business they heavily rely on for funds.

“Lifeline Classic is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. This year it’s critical because it’s the main source of revenue we have going right now,” explains David.

Lifeline Northern Beaches was established almost 50 years ago to serve the area stretching from Kirribilli to Palm Beach and the primary purpose is to provide quality telephone and in-person support to relieve the distress caused by crisis situations.

“Our aim is to connect these at-risk people, and their families, with the right resources to help them through,” says David.

Lifeline Northern Beaches is part of the Lifeline network which leads the way in providing crisis support and suicide prevention services to Australians in need, 24/7. One of the best things about Lifeline is that it has a national reach, and a local approach.

Connection is key

Over the past 18 months, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, calls to Lifeline Northern Beaches have almost doubled from what was once their biggest day in history.

“A big day for us, pre-Covid, was about 2000 calls a day,” explains David. “Now, every week we are breaking records.

“It took us 50 years to get to 2000 calls, and in 18 months we’ve almost doubled that. In October 2021 we had 3651 calls in one day. We have also had a lot of first-time callers.”

Interestingly, the suicide rate has not gone up, with lockdown, but counselling and calls have gone up incredibly.

“For 80% of the calls we are getting Covid is a significant stress and there is a ripple effect it’s having. That’s not related to people who have the virus but people who are affected by the pandemic.”

The good news is more people are reaching out and asking for help and, according to David, connection is key.

“For most of this year, we’ve all been on Zoom and spending more time at home. We all know someone who lives by themselves and they’re often the ones who get forgotten. Call them up, take them out for a surf or go for a walk if you can.”

Lifeline supports people going through a wide range of difficulties, from anger, anxiety and depression, to family, relationship and financial problems. While demand for support services is higher than ever, services are free or low-cost, which means donations are vital.

As for the Lifeline Classic all funds raised directly support the mental health of the Northern Beaches and by taking part or donating to the event, you’re saving lives in your own backyard.

Lifeline’s vision is an Australia free of suicide. Let’s help them get there.

For more information on this year’s Lifeline Classic and the Man Anchor team, powered by Form1, click here.

Man Anchor powered by Form1

In the last year Lifeline NB has:

• Answered more than 66,000 crisis calls
• Answered more than 81,000 Lifeline Texts
• Increased counselling services by 150%
• Held more than 2,500 face-to-face sessions

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