Health Haven

The state’s first Lifeline Connect Centre opened in Clare this week, providing a ‘walk-in’ mental health support service to residents from throughout the region.

The centre is located at 1 Blanche Street in Clare, just off the northern end of the main street.

Lifeline Connect counsellor Lorna Woodward said the service was available to anyone, with no referral needed.

“People can just walk in and counselling doesn’t have to be by referral, there are no barriers,” she said.

Lifeline Broken Hill Country to Coast chief executive officer Scott Hammond said the new centre in Clare was based on a successful model already established in Broken Hill and aimed to ‘fill the gaps’ in support services.

He said the Connect Centre would work alongside existing mental health support services, and had been developed in response to community demand.

“In 2017 we decided to go around South Australia when the State Government was doing its statewide suicide prevention consultation as part of its planning,” Mr Hammond said.

“We tagged along and were listening to what the community was saying about gaps in mental health services.

“One of the things we heard was there was a lack of training for dealing with mental health issues, and so we partnered with Country SA PHN and rolled out some training sessions for the community.

“But what we also heard was there was no one place people could go to get psychosocial support services, which is a non-clinical service delivery and that is the gap we are aiming to fill.

“This is an entry-level to be able to hopefully provide support before someone develops a mental illness, before it gets to a point of being chronic.

“Sometimes people just need connection and through this facility people can also just come down and have a cup of coffee and a chat if they want in a safe space that’s confidential.”

Employment Directions youth development officer Chloe Gogoll has been involved in the consultation process in developing the Lifeline Connect centre in Clare.

She said it was an exciting step forward and could see great benefit in the centre being a central location to bring services together.

“I’m a voice for the young people in our community as youth development officer so I thought it was important I be involved so youth can access this space and feel comfortable coming here,” Ms Gogoll said.

“This type of service is in such high demand, it’s awesome that there’s now a space for people if they’re in crisis mode or don’t know what to do or where to go for help.

“We’ve got some great services and charities – the Kade Macdonald Foundation, Clare Valley Christian Outreach, Uniting Care Wesley and our local schools to name a few – everyone has a common goal but to be able to work together for that outcome is going to be so beneficial for the district.”

Lifeline Connect at 1 Blanche Street in Clare will initially be open from Monday to Thursday, 9am-5pm.

Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line remains accessible at all times on 13 11 14.