Three athletes from the NSW Institute of Sport will help deliver the impactful AIS-Lifeline Community Custodians program, with athletes stepping up to help increase awareness around suicide prevention and encourage anyone who needs support to reach out and ask for help.
Rower Erik Horrie, triathlete Jonathan Goerlach and snowboarder Belle Brockhoff (NSWIS/VIS) are among the 22 Community Custodians for 2020-21. Horrie and Brockhoff took part in the program last year, whilst Goerlach is one of the 15 new athletes named.
The immediate focus for this year’s Custodian cohort will be lending their voices to Lifeline’s first ever National Emergency Appeal which is in direct response to the impact of COVID-19. The campaign ‘You’ve got 30 seconds to save a life’ is aiming to raise $5million to fill the funding gap caused by cancellation of key fundraising events, storefront closures and an increasing demand for services.
Australians are turning to Lifeline in greater numbers than ever before, with the organisation receiving almost 90,000 calls for help in March alone, the most in their 57-year history.
Lifeline Australia CEO Colin Seery said he was ‘delighted the Lifeline Community Custodians are supporting our Emergency Appeal’.
“We know many athletes would be finding this time very difficult after the postponement of the Tokyo Games. So, it is a really selfless act for them to help us ensure that every Australian has the opportunity to connect with Lifeline if they are struggling through COVID-19,” said Seery.
“It is both a testament to their strength of character and Australian spirit, they are a great group of athletes. We are very grateful.”
AIS Director of Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Matti Clements says while the program will be delivered a little differently to originally planned (as a result of COVID-19), the key objectives have not changed.
“We want to remind Australians of the importance of reaching out and staying connected and to give a voice to the struggles that we know many people are facing, especially right now,” said Clements.
“With travel and physical distancing restrictions currently in place, we will be looking at virtual engagement opportunities and utilising athlete’s digital presence to continue to share their personal journeys and assure everyone that if you need support, there is someone who is ready to listen.”
To find out more about the AIS and Lifeline Community Custodians program – visit https://ais.gov.au/custodians
To donate to the Lifeline National Emergency Appeal – visit https://fundraise.lifeline.org.au/emergency-appeal
You can contact Lifeline by phone on: 13 11 14 (24 hours / 7 days) or chat to a Crisis Supporter via text on:
0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight.)