THE SERIOUS cumulative trauma of a horror bushfire season, relentless drought and now COVID-19 has not been lost on Lifeline Australia.
The free, 24-hour crisis support service has plans to open a permanent office in Armidale and face-to-face counselling in Glen Innes, Walcha, Inverell and Tenterfield.
The region has been identified as a hot spot in need of help after a spate of tragic and traumatic events, Lifeline executive director Rob Sams said.
"We know this has been a really difficult time for people so we have been working with the Primary Health Network to establish face-to-face counselling services in the region to complement our 13 11 14 service," he said.
"I know there are less services available in rural and region areas and we are worried about the cumulative trauma of drought, bushfires and COVID-19.
"We talk to farmers who used to have a catch up at the pub and COVID has put an end to that, it's about supporting people through these constant changes."
Lifeline has operated out of the neighbourhood centre in Armidale, but it will now open its first permanent office and opportunity shop in Rusden Street come mid-August.
The shop is hoped to help raise funds for the life-saving, free counselling services it will offer in the same space.
Across Australia, Lifeline received an average of 2500 calls each day in December last year, now there are consistently more than 3000 calls a day since March.
Lifeline plans to have a peer working within the New England communities to direct people who need help to the service and find out what the needs are in each town.
Every 30 seconds, a person in Australia reaches out to Lifeline for help.
The charity provides Australians in emotional distress with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
The story Lifeline expands in response to spate of traumatic events in region first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.