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Suicide prevention helplines trends 2020 v 2019

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At On the Line, we’ve looked at our caller data for the past two years across our suicide prevention phone and online counselling helplines and highlighted some trends.


Caller demographics 2020 v 2019

In 2020, our counselling helplines saw an increase in callers from the following age groups:

  • 15 to 20 years (34%)
  • 30 to 39 years (18%)
  • 40 to 49 years (16%)


Callers by state and territory 2020 v 2019

There were no significant changes in the percentage of callers from each state and territory. The Northern Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia had small increases in 2020.


Top 5 reasons for calling the helpline

The top three reasons for calling a counsellor remained the same for 2019 and 2020, with COVID-19 appearing in the top five in 2020.

Top 5 reasons for calling in 2019:

  1. Mental health
  2. Concerned about someone
  3. Grief and loss
  4. Relationship issues
  5. Loneliness and/or social isolation.

Top 5 reasons for calling in 2020:

  1. Mental health
  2. Concerned about someone
  3. Grief and loss
  4. COVID-19
  5. Relationship issues.


Most common mental health issues

In 2019 and 2020, the top three diagnosed mental illnesses remained the same. In 2020, there was also an increase in callers who were diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Top three mental health illnesses:

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Want to speak to a professional counsellor?

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact one of our 24/7 counselling services:

SuicideLine Victoria – 1300 651 251

MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467

If it is an emergency, please dial 000.


For low intensity counselling services, see our Primary Health Network list of services.

If it is an emergency, please dial 000.


Want to talk about partnerships?

On the Line delivers over 20 mental health and counselling services across Australia. We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our services are delivered by professional counsellors who support clients across the mental health continuum: from low intensity to those who are high risk and have complex needs.

To talk to us about counselling services or partnership opportunities, please email us at businessdevelopment@ontheline.org.au.