Help and support just a call away

Father Michael Gatt is expanding his Christmas Helpline to offer support to people all year round. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d447007
Father Michael Gatt is expanding his Christmas Helpline to offer support to people all year round. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d447007

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.

“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 said he was preparing for a busy month.

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

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

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