Lifeline's crisis supporters, Central West needs more volunteers

HELP NEEDED: Lifeline Central West crisis support Astrid Taylor is among a throng of volunteers, but more are needed. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 082018clifeln2
HELP NEEDED: Lifeline Central West crisis support Astrid Taylor is among a throng of volunteers, but more are needed. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 082018clifeln2

LIFELINE may be at the forefront of helping drought-affected farmers, but more crisis supporters are needed to answer the calls for help.

With 100 per cent of NSW declared in drought, farmers are among those facing a tough time – emotionally, physically and financially.

Nationally, Lifeline takes around one million calls each year, and many are answered at the charity’s call centres located in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo.

Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson said it was vital that the charity’s crisis supporters who answer these phone calls come from a range of ages, experiences and backgrounds.

“We are looking for people across all demographics,” she said.

Among the current crisis supporters are university students, tradies, retired people and the oldest is 83 years old.

We are looking for people across all demographics.

Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson

Ms Robinson said it was vital to have a mix of people answering the phone as a wide range of people ring for help.

People call Lifeline’s 13 11 14 number for a wide range of reasons - loneliness, depression, drug and alcohol use, financial counselling, mental health issues and some are contemplating suicide.

“It can have its challenges, but its also got so many, many rewards,” Ms Robinson said.

“They’re there to try and connect with people with their strengths and sometimes it’s to connect them with the most appropriate support for them.

“We know if people do reach out to us then we’ve got a very good success rate of keeping those people safe.”

Ms Robinson said being a crisis supporter on the phones was a flexible volunteering role and people are encouraged to complete a minimum of three hours a week.

It can have it's challenges, but it's also got so many, many rewards.

Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson

“Where we have big gaps is over weekends,” she said.

Training is nationally recognised and the next course commences with an information night, followed by weekly training session held each Monday for eight weeks.

Information nights will be held on Monday, August 27 at 6pm in two locations – Bathurst (253 Howick Street) and Orange (13 William Street).

For more information call Lifeline Central West on 1300 798 258 or email ataylor@lifelinecentralwest.org.au for an information pack.

  • In a crisis call Lifeline on 13 11 14.