Newly announced patrons help tackle loneliness in older kiwis

19 Feb, 2018
Newly announced patrons help tackle loneliness in older kiwis

Sir Bob Harvey and Professor Max Abbott (CNZM) have been appointed as co-patrons of the Silver Line Charitable Trust New Zealand.

Silver Line was formed to help reduce loneliness among older New Zealanders. It offers people over the age of 55 a chat line and a befriending service – and was launched with the assistance of The Silver Line, which has proven extremely successful in the UK.

Thanks to help from Lifeline Aotearoa and 2 Degrees Mobile, Silver Line has already conducted a partial trial in Auckland, with remarkable results. The striking outcome of the trial was the frequency of older people mentioning mental health issues.

Professor Abbott, Dean of the Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences and former President of the World Federation for Mental Health, was impressed with the outcome. “The fact that normally reserved New Zealanders were prepared to talk openly and at length on Silver Line is so encouraging,” he says. “It shows that Silver Line has an important place in New Zealand’s future.”

Sir Harvey says loneliness is a modern scourge. “It causes mental and physical illness which Silver Line can help reverse – it is an innovative and cost-effective way of reducing loneliness among older people.”

“Silver Line now has to find sustainable sources of funding,” says Sir Harvey. “Max and I are very much looking forward to leading that quest.”