Back from the brink
WERE it not for a kind voice at the end of the phoneline, Sally* has no doubt she would be dead.
Many times over.
"Lifeline have saved my life on three or four occasions when I've thought of killing myself," said Sally, who was diagnosed with depression in 1991 and with post-traumatic stress disorder this year for something that occurred 33 years ago.
"I have suicidal tendencies, and I've been calling Lifeline all this time.
"They're people who listen to what you have to say and they keep on listening, even if you're ranting and raving.
"You can tell them anything and they won't judge you."
Last week, the State Government decided against providing an additional $2.8 million in annual funding to support Lifeline's telephone counselling.
And Sally is disgusted.
"I feel sad that the government doesn't feel this service is worth spending money on," she said. "It's been invaluable to me, and I'm sure for many other people."
Of the 200,000 calls for help Lifeline handles across NSW, 10,000 are from residents between Yamba, Macksville and Dorrigo.
Yet Lifeline North Coast relies entirely on donations and its charity shop to raise the funds needed for its telephone counselling.
Telephone counselling that every year save the countless lives of people who feel they have no-one else to turn to.
Sally also sees a psychologist and psychiatrist, as well as her general practitioner, but she says she still relies on Lifeline to get her through many situations.
"Living with depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome is confusion, it's constantly feeling you're not worthwhile, it's trying to get through the day without crying, needing things to rely on, like my dog, who keeps me alive," Sally said.
"Even now, people tell me to snap out of it, but you can't just snap out of it, there is a huge gap between sadness and depression.
"At Lifeline, there is always someone at the end of the line, who will appease you, will calm you down."
If you need help, call Lifeline 24 hours on 13 11 14 or the Kids HelpLine on 1800 55 1800.
If you would like to make a donation to Lifeline North Coast call 6651 4093.
*Not her real name