This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
Crisis support hotline Lifeline Australia is right now receiving the highest volume of calls ever experienced in its 58-year history.
But Leola Small, who has been a volunteer for four years, hasn't noticed. Because during a shift at Lifeline the phone is always running off the hook.
The thing she has noticed however, is a difference in the content of those calls.
What happens when you call Lifeline? Post continues after video.
"Usually, people will call about one specific trauma. But now they call about one thing, and then the phone call goes through many different traumas. It's like all of the traumas have come to the surface, and everything hurts at the same time. Which is horrible," she told Mamamia.
As Australia battles the Delta variant, and millions of people are put into and out of snap lockdowns, our fatigued population is struggling.
Last Thursday, Lifeline recorded 3,505 calls - their highest daily number. During the pandemic there's been a 40 per cent increase in the number of people reaching out, and yet despite the influx in calls, statistics show that suicide rates remain stable.
According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, preliminary figures from QLD, NSW and Victoria show there hasn't been any evidence of any increase in 2020 or 2021 relative to previous years.
Leola says that's encouraging. She thinks it's because even though people are struggling more than ever they are reaching out for help, with the pandemic helping to lessen the stigma surrounding mental health.
The 39-year-old, who works a corporate day job, gives up two hours of her weekend every week to the Lifeline phones.
She does it for two reasons; her stepson's best friend's death by suicide at the age of 16, and her own struggles with mental health after surviving a brain aneurysm in her late 20s. As she tells Mamamia, "a near death experience changes you and I really wanted to have more meaning in my life."