Celebrating 60 Years of Lifeline


It was an absolute pleasure to participate in celebrations of Lifeline on its 60th birthday celebrations (https://60years.lifeline.org.au/) this week.

The wonderful thing about Lifeline is that they save lives but don’t brag about ‘saving lives’. The last thing one ever needs in the work of mental health, suicide, psychosocial health, safety and helping persons is the arrogance of heroes, champions, zero, secrets, codes, salvation ideology, ‘hazards’ and ego-centric ‘safety talk’.

And Lifeline doesn’t need any of the spin that accompanies the noise of safety, its simple: they listen, without judgment and are present for others. Lifeline is about hope, respecting persons and community being. There is much Safety could learn from Lifeline about an ethical approach to persons.

Lifeline was started 60 years ago by a friend of my Dad, The Rev Alan Walker. My Dad and Alan often shared a podium together and had a shared sense of vision and mission. Alan simply saw a need and had the vision to meet that need.

Vision is about seeing personhood and understanding the trajectory of what is enacted. If you want to know what vision isn’t, just look at the zero vision of safety. The nonsense language of zero is anti-vision, anti-learning and anti-person.

In Lifeline, they know all about crisis, life and death and again, they don’t brag about the everyday value of presence, listening, helping, understanding and care. If you want to know what safety is about, go and visit a Lifeline centre and see what they do. Lifeline know about risk and certainly don’t waste any time on petty risk.

I was invited to join in the celebrations of Lifeline by Rob Sams. Some of you may know Rob from when he wrote in the pages of this blog (https://safetyrisk.net/are-you-a-safety-crusader-or-a-safety-leader/). Rob is now doing an amazing job in leadership in Lifeline. And he takes all that he learned in SPoR with him in the way he leads and helps people tackle risk.

Every time a phone call or a text comes in to Lifeline people are at risk. In Lifeline they know what is Real Risk (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/real-risk/).

Meanwhile in Safety, a Spanish Inquisition for a minor injury and 3 tonnes of paperwork to follow, is the Safety norm, the culture of risk aversion and zero.

Well done Lifeline, for 60 years of doing what matters – persons first, listening, care, community and humility.

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