iiNet announces free calls to crisis and mental health support services

iiNet's home and net phone subscribers will be able to call service lines such as, Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline Australia, Suicide Callback Service, SANE Helpline, Kids Helpline, The Samaritans and Crisis Care

IT companies are continuing to lend support to charities, with internet service provider (ISP) iiNet announcing it will provide free telephone calls for customers calling crisis and mental health support services.

The ISP’s home and net phone subscribers, including Westnet, Netspace and AAPT, will be able to call service lines including Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline Australia, Suicide Callback Service, SANE Helpline, Kids Helpline, The Samaritans and Crisis Care, free of charge.

iiNet’s chief executive, Michael Malone, said he believed access to services such as Lifeline should be available to everyone in need.

“The appeal for free calls was posted on Twitter by one of our followers, and now it's a reality for our home phone customers,” Malone said in a statement. “Lifeline Australia is supportive of the iiNet initiative and encourages all Australians to contact Lifeline if they are experiencing difficulty in their lives.”

According to Lifeline chief executive, Angus Clelland, Lifeline answers approximately 450,000 calls every year from Australians in an emotional crisis.

“For many people, the removal of any burden of cost can mean the difference between seeking help or not,” he said.

The announcement follows the return of a team of iiNet employees, including Malone, on 30 October after a five day climbing expedition of Mount Kilimanjaro, which raised approximately $100,000 for Lifeline Australia. The funds will contribute to the telephone counsellor training program.

As reported by <i>Computerworld Australia</i>, NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley will himself fund a $2 million project (equaling his first year’s salary as NBN Co CEO), run by NBN Co and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) to deliver remote rehabilitation therapy to stroke patients using Nintendo’s Wii gaming device over the network.

The therapy will see participants take part in ten one-hour sessions at home over a two-week period. During this time a therapist based in Sydney will supervise patients using video images and sensor data relayed over the NBN to analyse the patient’s movements and provide feedback.

Last month 420 industry members took part in the 10-year anniversary of the Starlight Foundation’s IT Fund for Kids, with the event’s auction raising more than $200,000.

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