GriefLine is set to expand its helpline to support the ageing Chinese community, thanks to funding by the Kingston Charitable Fund, a charitable fund account of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
The new program builds on the organisation’s extensive experience supporting migrants, refugees and international students from Greek and Italian, Afghan and Iranian, and Somali backgrounds.
“Our research shows that the older Chinese community are increasingly socially isolated and that they face enormous loss and grief associated with migration and ageing,” Catherine Cini said.
“While there are various services available to Chinese people, there is little that particularly focuses on mental health and wellbeing,” she added.
The new program will enable GriefLine to train Cantonese and Mandarin speaking volunteers to deliver free listening and support for 20 hours a week. It will also include two public seminars a year; the establishment of Born in One Country, Dying in Another therapeutic community group; and access to group education workshop.
Funding will also support a volunteer recruitment and training program to increase volunteers with a Chinese background.
The 2011 Census reported that migrants born in China are the third largest overseas born population in Australia. The elderly Chinese population is projected to be in the top five group of overseas born Australians by 2022.
The City of Kingston has a higher population of older people than the Greater Melbourne area with almost 10% aged 70-84. Cantonese is in the top Languages Other than English (LOTE) spoken at home.