Fa­ther ready to lend a sym­pa­thetic ear

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Christmas -

RE­TIRED St Kieran’s Tuart Hill priest Fa­ther Michael Gatt will ex­tend his Christ­mas Helpline to run all year long.

The ‘Gat­tline’, as it has be­come known, is a free, confidential coun­selling and re­fer­ral ser­vice, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that Fa­ther Gatt started in 1991.

Fa­ther Gatt said al­though he was re­tired, he still wanted to run the helpline to pro­vide as­sis­tance to those who were lonely and iso­lated in the com­mu­nity.

“The month of De­cem­ber has al­ways been the fo­cus of the helpline, be­cause this can be a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time for those with­out fam­ily or sup­port,” Fa­ther Gatt said.

“I also re­alise that many peo­ple are also look­ing for some­one to talk to all year round.

“The num­ber of call­ers over the Christ­mas pe­riod has grown steadily over the years. I think this is be­cause we are liv­ing in a so­ci­ety that is ex­pand­ing, but sup­port for the in­di­vid­u­als within it is not.”

Fa­ther Gatt said he had dealt with many dif­fi­cult is­sues over the years, rang­ing from lone­li­ness to do­mes­tic violence to sui­ci­dal thoughts.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing 110 calls over the Christ­mas pe­riod last year, Fa­ther Gatt is preparing for a busy time.

“Peo­ple need to know that there is al­ways some­one to turn to in times of dif­fi­culty, cri­sis or de­spair,” Fa­ther Gatt said.

The helpline is avail­able 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 9440 5379.

If you or some­one you know needs ur­gent sup­port, call Life­line on 13 11 14.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d447007

Fa­ther Gatt says ev­ery­one needs some­one to turn to in tough times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.