A Canberra transport company is taking Lifeline’s messages to ‘lend us your ears’ and ‘here to lighten the load’ on board as it delivers freight around the Canberra and south coast region.
Tony Innaimo Transport managing director Tony Innaimo said using the trucks to help raise awareness about Lifeline was a ‘no-brainer’, and he hopes it will remind people that help is available if they’re struggling to cope.
The message is also aimed at inspiring members of the community to get involved as Lifeline Canberra crisis support volunteers.
“Hopefully people already know the Lifeline number – 13 11 14 – but if they ever need it, it’s in their face when they’re driving around,” Tony says.
“We had new trucks coming, so I thought how good would it be to have them driving around with the Lifeline message on it?”
Lifeline Canberra’s crisis support volunteers are receiving record numbers of calls this year. So far this year they’ve experienced a 130 per cent rise in crisis calls regarding suicide, child safety and domestic violence requiring emergency intervention, while the number of people experiencing immediate safety issues had increased by 8 per cent.
Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson recently told an ACT Parliamentary inquiry the stress on the organisation from a dramatic increase in demand had been compounded by a subsequent increase in the number of people wanting to volunteer as Lifeline’s crisis support helpline.
Carrie told Region Media that seeing the truck driving the Lifeline message will help to normalise the stigma of suicide from an industry that also deals with loneliness and mental health issues.
“We’ve had lots of great feedback on the truck already,” she said. “I know I read every truck when I’m on the road, so hopefully this is no different for people and that they feel a lot of positive energy in the community when they see it while it’s on the move.
“Tony has been helping us with the pallets of books in storage for the bookstore and the bookfair for a number of years, and a lot of that goes unnoticed, so we can’t say a big enough thank you to these guys for spreading the Lifeline message.”
Tony also said their drivers felt an additional sense of pride in spreading the word as some of their interstate drivers may be away for more than a week, including to places such as Melbourne where there have been additional risks with the recent spread of coronavirus.
Another Tony Innaimo Transport truck also carries messaging about the Ricky Stuart Foundation to help achieve its goals in raising awareness for autism.
“The driver who drives that truck also sees it as his or her way of helping the community, and if we can do that in some way by helping to save one life, then that’s unreal,” Tony says.
“Everyone is affected by a mental health issue or suicide at some point in their life, so we want to show just how massive it is by getting the message across on the side of our trucks.
“I think the more we can get the message out there and speak about our mental health, the better we are as a community.”
Lifeline Canberra has been providing support for more than 49 years and will continue to support people in crisis and to save the lives of those experiencing thoughts of suicide via their support helpline on 13 11 14.
Visit Lifeline Canberra for more information about becoming a telephone crisis support volunteer.