Shocking new data reveals an increasing number of people are calling the Stroke Foundation's phone support line before calling an ambulance.
The data reveals calls to StrokeLine by people experiencing symptoms increased by 34 per cent from 2022-23.
With StrokeLine currently "overrun with calls", chief executive Lisa Murphy said the foundation is in urgent need of more funding from federal, state and territory governments.
"StrokeLine was designed to be a brief intervention service, but due to strains on the health system, we are providing more complex discharge support. It's clear the service requires urgent investment," Dr Murphy said.
Since 2021, there has been an almost three-fold increase in the number of complex calls to StrokeLine, with the service providing support to more than 2500 people last year.
Dr Murphy said the line was responding to a range of concerns, including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, loss of independence and finances, strained relationships and social isolation.
It is also receiving calls from people seeking connection to support services and help navigating the health system.
"Our programs and services are in greater demand than ever before because the health system is struggling to meet the needs of survivors of stroke as they return to the community post stroke."
In 2023, 75 per cent of Stroke Foundation's income came from donations and bequests, mostly from survivors and their families. Dr Murphy said this had to change.
"The donations we receive to run this service can no longer keep up with increased demand, because the health system is unable to provide the advice and support survivors of stroke need once they are discharged from hospital."
Currently in Australia, someone has a stroke every 19 minutes. Without action, this number is projected to increase to one stroke every 10 minutes by 2050.
"We know time is everything when it comes to stroke, and this is also true of the need for greater funding for Stroke Foundation programs," Dr Murphy said.