A phone rings at a Lifeline call centre in Sydney. Image via ABC. By Eliza Laschon.
Crisis support service Lifeline recorded more than one million calls for help in 2015, the highest number in its 52-year history.
The 24-hour telephone support line also recorded its busiest four months on record from September to December.
Lifeline Australia chief executive officer Pete Shmigel attributed the record to both an increase in awareness and acceptance of mental health issues, as well as the pressures of a technology-driven society.
“On the one hand Australians are more aware of mental health issues than they ever have been before,” he said.
“With every article that’s published on the internet, people get a little bit more confident perhaps and a little competent about talking about their mental health concerns.
“On the other hand I suggest that it’s also because of the society that we’re living in.”
Online technology ‘can increase isolation’
Mr Shmigel said factors other than mental health issues such as depression and anxiety were at play.
“Australians spend upwards of 10 and 12 hours a day on average online nowadays,” he said.
“They have three digital devices and sometimes that technology, as great as it is, can also enhance our feelings of loneliness, our feelings of isolation.
“That sense of, ‘am I the only unhappy person on Facebook?'”