13YARN has recorded an unprecedented number of calls in the lead-up to the Voice referendum.
13YARN is the national 24/7 crisis support line for First Nations people for racism, abuse and trauma support.
It’s led by First Nations people, and funded by the Federal Government with support from Lifeline.
New data seen by TDA shows demand for 13YARN’s services has spiked ahead of Saturday’s referendum.
What is 13YARN?
13YARN is a free and confidential 24/7 crisis support line that launched last year. Callers are connected with a First Nations person for support and advice about ongoing care options.
Supporting First Nations people at risk of suicide is a key part of 13YARN’s services. It’s estimated suicide makes up 40% of all deaths among First Nations children, with the First Nations suicide rate double that of non-Indigenous Australians.
Increased calls to 13YARN
While total calls have increased in the lead-up to the referendum, 13YARN says calls specifically relating to racism, abuse and trauma doubled in the four weeks to 17 September (compared to the same time last year).
This follows an overall trend of increased calls relating to racism, abuse and trauma this year, which have surged compared to last year’s data.
Marjorie Anderson, National Manager of 13YARN, told TDA many First Nations people have stopped going online to “stay away from media reports”.
“Media concentration on Aboriginal issues due to the referendum is overwhelming and the rise in racism on social media is having an impact on the Aboriginal community.”
On 14 October, every eligible Australian will vote on whether to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.
Early voting is already available at some polling places across Australia.