Father ready to lend a sympathetic ear
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.
Father Gatt says everyone needs someone to turn to in tough times.