DEDICATED: Lifeline Northern Rivers call centre volunteer Alick Mitchell has had many years handling crisis calls. He is pictured here in 2017.
DEDICATED: Lifeline Northern Rivers call centre volunteer Alick Mitchell has had many years handling crisis calls. He is pictured here in 2017. Hamish Broome

Could you be a lifeline to someone in crisis?

THE most recent ABS statistics for deaths by people taking their own life do not make for comfortable reading.

A staggering 3128 Australians took their own lives in 2017, that's more than eight per day and one every three hours.

This represents a significant increase on the 2866 people who took their lives in 2016. The national rate of people taking their own lives has increased to 12.6 per 100,000 Australians, which is the second highest rate in 10 years.

Missing a call to the Northern Rivers crisis line can be a matter of life and death.

That's the message from Lifeline Lismore centre manager Niall Mulligan, who confirmed the organisation is struggling to assist everyone who phones the 13 11 14 crises line.

Lifeline's core belief is that suicide prevention is everybody's business and is committed to playing its part in reducing deaths by suicide - but we need more volunteers to answer calls from Australians in crisis,” Mr Mulligan said.

"Lifeline volunteers, from all over Australia, answer more than 2000 calls every day but at busy periods there are calls that go unanswered.

"We need to answer every call and 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.

Lifeline's Lismore-based volunteers are doing a great job - they will answer more than 20,000 calls in 2019 - but we want to make an even more effective contribution by increasing volunteer numbers every day,” he said.

"Currently there are approximately 65 Crisis Support volunteers working out of the Lismore Lifeline centre and we are looking to add at least 20 more volunteers to that number.

"This additional staffing is required to do better for our community, particularly at those times where the need for extra resourcing is greatest, early mornings, evenings and weekends

"Lifeline offers a life-saving and life-changing alternative - it's always there for those confronting crisis and suicide, but also for those who trust Lifeline with their ongoing and often complex problems.”

Training includes a significant element of on-line eLearning reinforced by six classroom-based modules and two days of experiential training.

This leads to a closely supervised and supported workplace training program which prepares the volunteer for their lifesaving role as a Crisis Supporter with Lifeline.

If you are an empathic person who values community and are interested in working with people and saving lives - this could be a great opportunity for you.

To receive a detailed information pack about the training: email nrlifeline@lifeline.org.au or call 6622 4133.

Lifeline Northern Rivers next Crisis Support Worker Training course will run from Saturday, August 3. First information night is July 2. The closing date for applications is July 29.

If you need any support contact Lifeline at 131114.