5 November 2010: Australia’s second largest DSL provider, iiNet, has announced it will provide free telephone calls for customers calling crisis and mental health support services, and encourages other telecommunication companies to follow iiNet’s lead.
Home phone and net phone subscribers across the iiNet family, which also includes Westnet, Netspace and AAPT, will be able to call service lines including Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline Australia, Suicide Callback Service, SANE Helpline, Kids Helpline, The Samaritans and Crisis Care, free of charge.
iiNet’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Malone, said he hoped other telecommunication companies will follow suit so all Australians can have free access to mental health phone services.
“We believe that access to services such as Lifeline should be available to everyone in need. The appeal for free calls was posted on Twitter by one of our followers, and now it’s a reality for our home phone customers,” Mr Malone said. Lifeline Australia is supportive of the iiNet initiative and encourages all Australians to contact Lifeline if they are experiencing difficulty in their lives. “
Lifeline answers over 450,000 calls every year from Australians in an emotional crisis. For many people, the removal of any burden of cost can mean the difference between seeking help or not,” Lifeline’s Acting CEO Angus Clelland said.
“That is why we are so pleased and proud of the very generous support from the people at iiNet. It is gestures like this that shows our community that it is OK to call a service like Lifeline, that there is help out there and that people do care.”
The announcement coincides with the return of a team of iiNet employees and friends, including CEO Michael Malone, from a climbing expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro which raised more than $100,000 for Lifeline Australia.
The team of one-time explorers made it to the summit of the world’s highest standalone mountain on 30 October 2010 after a five-day trek. Their efforts were well rewarded by generous responses to their online fundraising and raised more than $100,000 through the Everyday Hero website.
The much-needed funds will contribute to the telephone counsellor training program to cater for the ever-increasing demand for Lifeline services.
For more information on Lifeline visit www.lifeline.org.au or for 24 hour crisis support call 13 11 14.
For more information on how you can become part of the iiNet family, visit www.iinet.net.au.