By Amanda Peppard, Griefline Online Community Coordinator and former Volunteer Telephone Counsellor
Griefline is privileged to care for some of the most courageous members of our community…those in the deepest distress yet brave enough to proactively seek out ways to heal and find hope. It’s this courage that inspires the Griefline team to forge ahead with an unbridled commitment to helping people find life after loss. We strive to educate, validate, and normalise the experience of grief & loss while offering empathy and compassion through our traditional and newly implemented support platforms. Its essential work being done at the preventative end of the mental health continuum and all despite minimal federal funding and zero funding from state governments across the country.
Thanks to a handful of visionary partners we continue to pursue our work. We take bold steps with these partners in the pursuit of shared goals. Like Rotary 9800 who’s G’day Project is designed to reduce loneliness by making people feel more connected to their community. We teamed up with them and the Murrumbeena Community Bank to launch our Griefline Online Moderated Forums. The results are gratifying. The online forums have quickly gained traction with over 140 subscribed Community Members now engaging on the forums, discussing a range of topics that for some are too challenging to express without the comfort of a keyboard. Topics such as overwhelming despair, how guilt takes hold, never-ending loneliness, loss of purpose when a pet dies, and debilitating grief after a relationship breakdown.
The same valued partnerships were also the driving force behind our new-look Grief and Loss Resource Hub which answers the call for 24/7 education, support and hope for those grappling with grief, loss and loneliness. Already the Resource Hub has become the 2nd most visited page on the Griefline website, representing over 25% of total page views. Visitors stay for an average of 3 minutes to inform themselves on topics ranging from experiences of grief, major transitions in life, understanding trauma and how to support someone else through their grief. Some will take away new coping tools for better sleep, achieving mindfulness, dealing with financial loss, tapping into post COVID resources or 47 ways to cope with grief. Others will be inspired to make meaning in their lives with stories showcasing how new hobbies can lead to (many) new friends and ground-breaking ways to reconnect with nature and animals.
And when the Murrumbeena Community Bank expressed a desire to double-down on loneliness and isolation in the community, Griefline’s response was swift. The result is the Care-to-Call Project, a pilot Outbound Call Program launching in March 2021 in conjunction with Monash University and facilitated by its Masters of Social Work students. It’s a life-affirming project designed to support Victorian community members who may be at risk of the myriad of mental and physical health problems that can be brought on by loneliness. People who are referred to the service can look forward to a friendly call from a Griefline volunteer, offering support, validation, coping strategies and opportunities to re-connect with the community, events and services.
Griefline may be taking big leaps to broaden our scope of support and make it more accessible, but we will always remain focused on our core service offering – free telephone counselling for adults experiencing grief and loss. Just as we have for over 32 years. To that end, in February 2021, 58 men and women graduated from our new online training course to join our existing pool of Griefline volunteer counsellors. It’s an exciting first for Griefline – a village of volunteers now representing every state in mainland Australia. By the end of March, they’ll be joined by more graduates, with a goal to onboarding 150 new volunteers by the year’s end, each one dedicated to helping Australians find life after loss.
“Courage is fear walking” said Susan David, Psychologist. It’s a favourite quote here at Griefline, but our journey can only continue with the help of inclusive governments, brave-hearted partners, generous benefactors, kind donors and selfless volunteers. We welcome those who have a commitment to human connectedness, compassion and courage to reach out and take the next big step with us.
For more information please contact Griefline Chief Marketing Officer, Louisa Smith [email protected]