Lifeline Northern Rivers is calling for 20 new volunteers to join the team to answer lifesaving calls from the Lismore call centre. Pictured is team member, Sue.
Lifeline Northern Rivers is calling for 20 new volunteers to join the team to answer lifesaving calls from the Lismore call centre. Pictured is team member, Sue.

Be someone’s Lifeline in this time of crisis

THE latest ABS statistics for deaths-by-suicide in Australia makes for tragic reading.

A staggering 3046 Australians took their own lives in 2018 - equating to more than eight per day and one every three hours.

All states and territories had a decrease in numbers of suicide deaths, except for New South Wales. which had an increase from 880 in 2017 to 899 in 2018.

In normal times Lifeline volunteers answer more than 2000 calls every day, however a COVID-related increase in call demand has seen those numbers jump by about 25 per cent.

Lifeline Lismore centre manager Niall Mulligan said his team of crisis support volunteers were doing a great job - and would answer more than 20,000 calls this year alone.

But with next year's target increased to 22,000 calls, he is calling for an extra 20 volunteers to join the team of 65 crisis support volunteers and help to potentially save someone's life.

"Uncertainty leads to anxiety and anxiety in the community leads more calls to Lifeline and our expectation is the need for our services will increase," he said..

"We are working hard to answer every one of those extra calls, but we need your help to do that.

"Lifeline volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary work. They come from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds, but they share one thing, a passion to save lives and make our community a better place."

COVID-19 prompts first Lifeline appeal in its 57 years

Current physical distancing requirements in response to the pandemic has forced the majority of Lifeline training to now take place online.

This training includes a combination of online eLearning and classroom sessions in Zoom which will allow for a substantial amount of mentoring and small group work.

This leads to a closely supervised and supported workplace training program.

Mr Mulligan said once training was completed, volunteers would then transition into the Lismore call centre, where there would be a safe working environment with physical distancing adhearded to.

To receive a training information pack, email nrlifeline@lifeline.org.au or call 6622 4133

The Crisis Support Worker Training course will run from Tuesday, August 4.

The First information night is Tuesday July 7 and the closing date for applications is Monday July 20.

If you need any support contact Lifeline at 131114.