This article was originally published on insurancebusinessmag.com.
nib foundation, the charitable arm of nib New Zealand, has donated $150,000 to Lifeline Aotearoa. According to Lifeline, the grant will help increase its service capacity in supporting the growing mental health needs of Kiwis emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the institution of a nationwide lockdown, Lifeline reported a 25% increase in calls and texts from people in distress, it said in a news release. On May 04 alone, Lifeline received 493 calls – which it says is the highest volume of enquiries in any single day in the helpline’s almost 55-year history. A high volume of text enquiries continue to come in, with up to 1,500 texts being received on the busiest days.
The grant from nib was a welcome boost in funding, allowing the helpline to continue operating 24/7, LifeLine said. It currently has 190 trained volunteers and 56 helpline counsellors who operate as frontline helpline staff. Around 100 volunteers are trained each year, making up 40% of Lifeline’s workforce.
“The impact of the pandemic will be felt long after the initial health crisis is over. It is vital we ensure Lifeline can support as many Kiwis as possible,” said Renee Mathews, Lifeline’s clinical manager.
“We rely solely on donations and grants, so the support provided by nib and nib foundation will go a long way in helping us help New Zealanders through this. The nib grant will assist us to increase phone counsellor hours, provide additional training, expand supervision to call centre staff to support them to maintain their own mental health, and help to ensure we have the right capabilities in place to operate effectively.”