Volunteer helps to fight loneliness
CLOVERDALE volunteer Julie Young reaches out to lonely people through the Red Cross Telecross support service.
She is part of a dedicated team of people at Red Cross which is calling for help to support thousands of Australians at risk of serious illness or injury.
Ms Young has been calling lonely people for the past eight years, making sure they are alright, after suffering an accident and being in need of the same service herself.
She developed multiple sclerosis when she was 27 and had an accident after coming off her mobility scooter, fracturing a vertebra in her back nine years ago.
The Telecross service helped her cope with recovering from the accident and she found that volunteering and helping other people was good for her mental wellbeing.
Australian Red Cross chief executive officer Judy Slatyer said the organisation had helped more than 20,000 lonely Australians last year.
Research has shown being lonely is as bad for health as cigarettes and obesity.
Loneliness poses a risk of death equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to a major review of 148 studies.
“Mounting research also shows that loneliness and isolation have a big impact on overall health and wellbeing, posing increased risks of heart attacks, depressed immune system, lifethreatening cancers and depression,” Ms Slatyer said.
“Winter is often the hardest time of year for people who are doing it tough and it’s critical that we all think of lending a hand to our friends, neighbours and family members.”
Ms Slatyer urged people to donate to the Red Cross Doing It Tough campaign d455242 before June 30.
“We want to help people get back on their feet after the toughest of times,” she said.
“We must never accept that life can’t be better.
“People of all ages and all walks of life experience loneliness but it’s the poorest who suffer most, including young homeless people and families struggling to make ends meet.”
Visit redcross.org. au/DoingItTough.
Julie Young is a volunteer with Telecross.