ABC Radio Central Victoria
We all feel lonely at times, and often, the feeling can become too much.
Friends for Good is here to help.
The Australian-based, volunteer-driven, not-for-profit is joining the fight against loneliness and helping people through a completely free service.
In South Australia, their largest service they have to offer is ‘Friendline’, a non-crisis call or messaging service for anyone to reach out and have a friendly chat with one of their wonderful volunteers. There are currently more than 50 volunteers working to combat loneliness, and that number is constantly on the rise as they are actively recruiting.
“We are also currently working in South Australia to write a wellbeing program,” shares Friends for Good State Manager Merinda Edwards.
“We have been promoted and are presently working alongside Wellbeing SA, COTA and Relationships Australia as a free, easily accessible, additional service provider for their clients!”
People can either choose to call up the ‘FriendLine’ service, or if they feel more comfortable, they are able to talk to someone online through their online chat feature.
Friends for Good have seen a huge increase in demand for their services ever since the pandemic, with lockdowns and social distancing meaning that people grew more and more lonely.
“The organisation actually started with the purpose of helping the elderly, but during the pandemic, we have expanded to help people of all ages.”
Friend for Good has recently published research on ‘Social Prescribing’, which is a practice whereby general practitioners (GPs) and other primary care workers link clients to community support services and social activities as part of their treatment plan.
The study, which surveyed over one thousand Australians, found that 91% of patients who followed non-medial forms of treatment prescribed by their doctor found them helpful.
In addition to this, 83% of respondents reported that they would be comfortable or very comfortable with a health professional ‘prescribing’ social activities; and 85% of respondents felt that social prescribing would positively or very positively impact them.
It’s great to see a charity dedicated to battling loneliness, as it’s a problem that so many of us face yet is so often neglected in terms of mental health services.