Every week, one person from our Canberra community takes their own life. That’s a startling figure, when you consider our small population compared to the major cities.
On the frontline of suicide prevention is the Lifeline Telephone Crisis Support centre. Their team works hard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, answering as many calls as possible to ensure every Canberran in need is able to talk to someone about how they’re feeling.
But for those calls to get answered, there must be someone on the other end of the line: a friendly voice with empathy and compassion, who gives up their own time to join the fight to save another life.
Crisis Support Workers come from all walks of life – they may be university students, mums and dads, professionals, or retirees. They don’t need any counselling experience, because Lifeline provides an intensive training course that teaches them the required skills.
There are currently 250 volunteers in Canberra that volunteer their time to fill seats for phone line shifts. This means that, on average, around 85% of calls get answered. However, for the 15% that go unanswered – or many more when the centre experiences a high volume of calls – it can have devastating effects.
In an effort to raise awareness for the need for more volunteers, Lifeline will be at this Sunday’s Brumbies match against the Jaguares at GIO Stadium.
“This is our second year as a charity partner of the Brumbies,” says Jenine Woodman, Events Manager Engagement and Business Development for Lifeline Canberra. “Henry Speight, one of our ambassadors, will be doing a video on the big screen at the game this Sunday, explaining what it means to be a telephone counsellor and how important it is for us to have more volunteers.”
They’ll also be raising awareness for their upcoming Southside Book Fair from 13-15 July at Tuggeranong Southern Cross Basketball Stadium.
“With only 4% of funding coming from the government, the funds we raise through community events such as the book fairs are essential in helping to keep our phone lines open. At our February book fair in EPIC, we had 18,000 people come through across the 3 days. We were blown away by the support – it was phenomenal.”
Jenine says Lifeline Canberra is hoping to receive the same kind of support for their call out for more telephone counselling volunteers.
“For a few hours a week, you could save someone’s life. It’s just so important that we have more people manning the phone lines, so not a single person is left waiting for us to pick the phone.”
Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to attend the Lifeline Canberra information session on Monday 14 May at 6 pm.
You can register your interest at: TCSVolunteerEnquiries@act.lifeline.org.au.
This community message is brought to you by Bendigo Bank, Official Community Banking Partner of the Brumbies.
Lifeline 13 11 14