Lifeline WA – Our History
Lifeline WA’s origins began with a radio show; the Nightline program on Radio 6PR, hosted by Baptist Minister Graham Mabury.
For 33 years, Graham Mabury was a light in the darkness for hundreds of thousands of radio listeners in Perth providing companionship and compassion, entertainment and encouragement for people from all walks of life.
In 1986, Graham established the Living Stone Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that provided off-air counselling support for callers to the Nightline program, as well as material aid in the form of winter blankets and Christmas food hampers and toys to those hurting or in need in the community.
In the mid-1990s, the Foundation merged with the operations of Life In Focus, an emergency relief group operated by the Churches of Christ.
In 1994, the Foundation was accredited by Lifeline Australia to operate as a Lifeline Centre in WA (the 41st centre to begin operation in Australia).
From humble beginnings with just a couple of off-air counsellors in the 6PR building, Lifeline WA has since evolved into a 24-hour counselling and support service which reaches out to thousands of people in need.
A community that is free of suicide
To prevent suicide, support people in crisis and reduce the stigmas which can be a barrier to seeking help
Lifeline Australia was founded by Dr Rev. Sir Alan Walker in 1962 when he took a call from a distressed man who later took his own life. Determined not to let isolation and lack of support be the cause of more deaths, Sir Alan launched a 24-hour crisis support line, staffed by trained volunteers ready to help people at their moment of crisis.
Created under the auspices of the Central Methodist Mission, the new organisation aimed to extend a ‘lifeline to people in extreme crisis, in particular suicidal crisis. The first Lifeline Centre commenced operation from its premises in Sydney at 5 pm on Saturday, March 6, 1963.
Lifeline’s services now operate from 60 locations nationally, with a presence in every State and Territory within Australia. This service (13 11 14) now answers around 1,800 calls each day in Australia, with around 50 calls from people at high risk of suicide.
Lifeline is part of an international network, and through its affiliation with Lifeline International has Centres in nineteen countries. Lifeline is also a member of the Volunteer Emotional Support Helplines (VESH) network. This network of Volunteer Helplines provides services in 61 countries around the world.
The Lifeline Journey
- Lifeline Australia was founded by Dr Rev Sir Alan Walker to provide 24-hour telephone counselling and crisis ministry.
- First Lifeline Centre was opened in Sydney, NSW.
- Graham Mabury established The Living Stone Foundation in WA to provide assistance and crisis support.
- “Nightline” off-air telephone support commenced on local radio station, 6PR.
- The Living Stone Foundation was incorporated.
- The Living Stone Foundation Inc joined the national Lifeline telephone crisis support network and commenced trading as Lifeline WA from Perth.
- Lone Fathers family support service joined Lifeline WA.
- Resource warehouses and shops become a part of Lifeline WA’s services.
- Lifeline Australia established the 13 11 14 telephone crisis support service.
- Newland Hutchison began as Chief Executive Officer (1994 – 2001).
- Tim Atkinson began as Chief Executive Officer (2001 – 2007).
- Lifeline Treasures op shop started trading in Kelmscott.
- Lifeline Peel telephone counselling sub-centre commenced operation.
- Lifeline telephone counselling sub-centres opened at St John of God Hospital Murdoch and Subiaco.
- 13 11 14 became a nationally networked service.
- Amanda Wheeler began as Chief Executive Officer (2008 – 2012).
- Lifeline WA launched a new 5 year Strategic Plan focusing on suicide prevention, crisis support and emotional wellbeing.
- Lifeline WA hosted the inaugural Black Diamond Ball.
- Lifeline WA received a one-off $250,000 grant from the State Government to help improve service delivery.
- Lifeline Peel was decommissioned in line with the new national strategy to build the capacity and capability of telephone crisis support services.
- Lifeline Australia introduced a new telephony system for 13 11 14.
- Lifeline Australia launched Online Crisis Support Chat; Lifeline WA launched its Online Crisis Chat service from Perth in conjunction with iiNet.
- Lifeline WA relocated to new premises, with a purpose-built internal fit-out.
- Fiona Kalaf began as Chief Executive Officer.
- Lifeline marked the 50th anniversary of delivering services to Australians in their times of need.
- Lifeline WA, in conjunction with Raw Hire, commissioned ground-breaking research through Edith Cowan University’s The Sellenger Centre into the mental health and emotional wellbeing of FIFO and DIDO workers.
- Lifeline WA announced a partnership with the Australian Institute of Management WA to develop a suite of education courses entitled the Mental Wealth Series.
- Lifeline WA, in conjunction with the Department for Corrective Services, developed and delivered an in-prisons suicide prevention refresher course.
- Lifeline WA launched a new initiative, Bean Talkin’, a mobile coffee van that raises awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing through a non-confronting and easy-to-access medium.
- Lifeline WA launched Lights for Lifeline, a new fundraising initiative with a strong message: to shine a light on suicide prevention, mental health issues and the need for more crisis support services.
- Lifeline WA, in partnership with the Federal Government, introduced a Financial Counselling service.
- Vince Gareffa’s Mondo Community Warriors, in support of Lifeline WA, hosted its 20th brunch event, bringing the total raised over two decades to more than $2 million. The telephone crisis support room was named after Vince and Anne Gareffa in gratitude.
- Lorna MacGregor started as Lifeline CEO.
- Celebrated 30 years of providing continuous support to Western Australians in crisis.
- Unveiled the newly refurbished Dr Ros Worthington OAM Training Room.
- Specialised streams of DV-alert were launched to address the complex needs of high risk populations.
- Established a partnership with the Statewide Telehealth Service so people in regional communities can access our counselling services.
- Launched the Western Australian Suicide Prevention Network.
- Reece Waldock appointed Chair of Lifeline WA.
- Lifeline WA partnered with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy to improve Fly-In-Fly-Out workers’ mental health.
- Sasha Pendal appointed as Chair of Lifeline WA.
- In partnership with the Western Australian Primary Health Alliance, DBTeen: Mental wellbeing skills groups for young people and families was launched.
- Launched the Community Visitors Scheme, a program funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
- Launched the Judicial Wellness Program.
- Launched Eclipse, a group for survivors of suicide.
- The 13-HELP service, specifically designed for those affected by the terrible impacts of the bushfires was launched.
- Lifeline WA opened a newly refurbish and purpose-built Training Centre in partnership with Lotterywest.