Lifeline gets new TSTT toll-free number; NGO still desperate for financial aid

Lifeline, a 24-hour hotline for persons suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide and violence, have a new toll-free number to dial after TSTT stepped in to help the 40-year old non-governmental organisation. The toll-free number is 800-5588.

The TSTT service came online today and is a boon for Lifeline who, according to its director Lucretia Gabriel, came close to closing its listening service due to financial issues exacerbated by drastic reductions in public and corporate donations.

Photo: If you are thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, call 800-5588.

At present, Lifeline operates with between 30 to 60 volunteers but estimates that it needs 120 volunteers to better serve those in need of the critical listening service. The service receives about 4,000 calls per year with 80 percent coming from suicidal persons.

“We are grateful for this gesture from TSTT to help Lifeline maximise our reach and availability to those who need us the most,” said Gabriel. “We know sometimes it might be difficult to take that step and reach out to someone and just talk. But we want everyone who accesses our service to know that Lifeline is ready to listen.”

TSTT vice-president for marketing, Camille Campbell, said it was the first step in what should be a strong, supportive relationship between the two bodies.

“This toll-free service is the first that we will provide and we are continuing to work with Lifeline to include additional features,” said Campbell, “to help provide a complete communications solution to the organisation that will enable Lifeline’s trained volunteers to serve those in need with greater flexibility and at the optimum convenience for callers.”

Callers can also reach Lifeline via its two other toll-free lines, 231-2824 from Digicel, and 220-3636 from FLOW. People wishing to donate to Lifeline may make deposits to Republic Bank account number 160105131401.

Photo: Lifeline logo.
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10 comments

  1. Still waiting for an appointment… They’re not serious!

  2. We should be mindful as well that mental illness also exists in our youths and young children, so any outreach programme has to also target the youngsters in primary and secondary schools, because they are the ones who grow up with the mental conditions in the workplace.
    Many of the homeless also have mental issues. Any effort to create awareness of this problem, has to be all encompassing. It will be an uphill struggle which can be ameliorated but all hands must be steadfastly on deck.

  3. I think one reason why they are not well funded is because of Trini society’s view on mental illness and the stigma attached to it. People need to get educated and understand that it’s not all about “going off” or “going mad” or “ending up in de madhouse” or drugs or whatever. In many instances the root of it is physical (chemical imbalances), rooted in genetics etc.

    • Maybe more education should be put out there by Ministry of Health or whichever is the relevant body.

    • You know, the skits with Gloria and husband was the perfect format for such an exercise. It is a bit more than an ad, but provides info that everyone can relate to.
      Because, yes, we need to remove the stigma attached to mental illness. But then again, we do not discriminate, as we make equal fun of alcoholics etc. And these issues take a great toll in the workplace (obviously, at home of course), so what about outreach activities in the workplace.
      On a related note, what is the current status of the ex-mayor of Chaguanas?
      I truly hope that she has gotten some assistance, for her and her family’s sake.

  4. Good start! Now, let’s do a fund raiser for them

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