Business supports Lifeline with health, humour and hindsight
Around 160 Hunter business leaders got behind Lifeline Hunter Central Coast’s life-saving local services at a recent corporate fundraising luncheon entitled Health, Humour & Hindsight.
The sell-out luncheon at the Newcastle Maritime Museum heard from Newcastle businessman, Founder of the McCloy Group, and former Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jeff McCloy. Jeff gave his first public speech, since stepping down as Lord Mayor in 2014. With assistance from emcee Brett Lavaring, from enigma, he entertained and drew applause from the crowd on a number of occasions with anecdotes from his time in office through to his forthright views on the future of the region. Despite several invitations, he declined to confirm or deny speculation about whether he will run again for the position of Lord Mayor.
The luncheon also included a panel discussion hosted by ANZ on the business of healthcare locally, particularly GPs. ANZ Head of Health for Regional Business Banking, Cindy Arthur shared key findings from the recently released ANZ – Melbourne Institute Health Sector Report. The report shines a light on the changing role and low morale of GPs, compounded by issues such as workplace flexibility, changing size and structures of medical practices, an ageing population and increase in chronic disease.
Cindy said GPs play a crucial role in the community. She said that primary care is the most cost-effective way to manage and coordinate healthcare for patients and can also result in better patient outcomes.
“It’s important that we recognise the challenges and seek to support GPs, especially in regional areas like the Hunter where we know attracting and retaining doctors is a persistent and complex issue,” Cindy said.
The two other panellists, well known and long standing GP, Dr Milton Sales and Lifeline Hunter Central Coast CEO, Gillian Summers both spoke of the crucial roles GPs can play in improving the mental health of a community. They agreed that men, in particular, were not good at going to the doctor or speaking about their feelings. Men account for three quarters of all suicides.
“Men are crap at talking about their feelings,” Gillian said.
“Men think they have to be strong, so we look to GPs to help them start talking about their mental wellbeing, not just the pain in their shoulder or whatever they have gone to the doctor for.
“We get referrals from Hunter GPs to Lifeline’s affordable, face-to-face counselling service, where we can confidentially, over a number of sessions, help people to address their issues. Referrals can also be made to our Life Matters Program which has more intensive support for people at high risk of suicide.”
ANZ Executive Regional Manager for Newcastle and the Hunter, Paul Cragg, announced that ANZ has asked Lifeline to provide training for around 20 of the bank’s local managers in suicide awareness and prevention. He encouraged other business leaders to invest in the mental well-being of staff and the broader community.
The luncheon raised about $20,000 which was matched by a donation of $20,000 by Paul on behalf of ANZ. Speed painter and 2011 Australian Entertainer of the Year Brad Blaze entertained the audience with his speed painting of three pictures, which were then auctioned for the cause aswell.
Funds from the event will go to support Lifeline Hunter Central Coast’s suicide prevention services for local people.
IMAGE |Founder of the McCloy Group, Jeff McCloy; CEO of Lifeline Hunter Central Coast, Gillian Summers; and ANZ Executive Regional Manager for Newcastle and the Hunter, Paul Cragg, at the business luncheon.
Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world. Its vision is an Australia free of suicide. Twice as many Australians die by suicide each year than people killed on our roads.
Lifeline Hunter Central Coast began in 1966 when Reverend John Chegwidden was awakened by a distressed telephone call from a man wanting to know if there was a Lifeline service operating in the region. Over its 50 year history it has expanded its services beyond traditional telephone 24/7 crisis support to also provide suicide prevention services including training and face to face counselling. It also operates nine charity shops in the Hunter. Lifeline Hunter Central Coast estimates its staff and volunteers save more than 5,000 local lives annually. It relies on local community support for 85% of its funding.