Lifeline via text: Suicide prevention pilot reaches young people who won't call for help

The anonymity of text removes any judgment and reduces inhibition with texters more likely to be frank and direct about their state of mind.


A new text helpline is reaching young people at risk of suicide at an unprecedented rate, with four times more texting a counsellor compared to calling. Suicide is the leading cause of death of people aged 18 to 24.

The anonymity of text removes any judgment and reduces inhibition with texters more likely to be frank and direct about their state of mind.

Suicide is the leading cause of death of young people aged 18 to 24, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, yet this group accounts for only 7 per cent of the million contacts to Lifeline's crisis and suicide prevention telephone hotline and other services.

In 29 per cent of the text conversations, some lasting an hour, suicide was actively considered.

More people from the lesbian, gay, trans and intersex community were also texting. Research by La Trobe University found 71 per cent did not use traditional counselling because they anticipated discrimination.

"They wouldn't be comfortable saying these things out loud," another said.

Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald

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20 November 2019, Wednesday News

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