Lifeline help line.  01 June  2016.
Lifeline help line. 01 June 2016. Trevor Veale

Lifeline volunteers answer 21,000 calls for assistance

Tragically, a record number of deaths by suicide were recorded in 2015, with 3027 people ending their lives.

Lifeline said 2016 has seen a small decrease but the number of deaths by suicide was still a very challenging statistic. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data released in September 2017 showed that 2866 people took their own lives in 2016.

Lifeline Northern Rivers said it was time to recognise the scale of the challenge and are taking action locally to help to stop more unnecessary deaths - by answering more crisis calls in 2018.

The Lismore-based volunteers answered almost 21,000 calls in 2017 - but they said they "intend to make an even more impressive contribution in 2018 by adding volunteer numbers at times where the need for extra resourcing is greatest - early mornings, evenings and weekends”.

As part of that project they are now actively recruiting volunteer crisis supporters to work on the 13 11 14 crisis line at those high demand times. They currently we have about 75 active crisis support volunteers working out of Lismore and are looking to add about 15 more volunteers to that number in early 2018.

They said: "Lifeline offers a life-saving and life-changing alternative. It is always there for those confronting crisis and suicide, but also for those who trust us with their ongoing and often complex problems. There are never any hoops to jump through or barriers to receiving help or judgements made - we provide a confidential and caring service and are only a phone call or online chat away. With Lifeline Centres, staff and volunteers based in every State and Territory across the country, we have a strong relationship with the community and therefore receive more calls than all other Australian helplines combined”.

Training includes a significant element of on-line eLearning reinforced by experiential classroom-based modules. This leads to a closely supervised and supported workplace training program which prepares the volunteer for acceptance as a probationary crisis support volunteer.

The next Crisis Support Worker Training course will run from Tuesday March 20.

The closing date for applications is Friday March 2.