4 December 2018

Lifeline's new seat to better support people in crisis and prevent suicide

| Lachlan Roberts
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Lifeline Canberra is adding a seventh seat at its Crisis Support Centre.

More than 250 people call Lifeline Canberra’s Crisis Support Centre asking for help or advice every single day.

With phone calls ranging from people asking for advice with relationships, to Mums sharing their concerns regarding their child’s addictions to serious domestic violence-related matters, the lines are constantly ringing.

A team of 300 local volunteers give their time selflessly to fill shifts and answer calls in the six seats at the support centre but the organisation is adding another seat to deal with the influx of calls.

Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said the extra seat will enable the organisation to help an extra 5,000 Australians in crisis every year.

“Tragically, we lose eight Australians to suicide every day. Locally, we lose one Canberran to suicide each week,” Ms Leeson said.

“A person in crisis calls Lifeline every 32 seconds and heartbreakingly, around 15 per cent of callers hang up before they are connected with a crisis supporter.

“This additional seat in our local crisis support centre takes us from six seats to seven, giving us the ability to schedule more crisis support on the national Lifeline network and support an additional 5,000 to 6,000 Australians in crisis every year.”

Earlier this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics delivered devastating news that more Australians took their own lives in 2017 than in the year before. The ACT recorded one of the most notable increases with figures showing a 107.1 per cent increase in suicide-related deaths in the ACT.

With such alarming increases in mind, Ms Leeson is calling on the Canberra community to raise their hands to be a volunteer.

“To help change even more lives for the better, we also need the support of our local community,” Ms Leeson said. “I am humbled by our volunteer’s dedication to supporting those in need and their want to leave situations better then they found them.

“While our crisis support team may sound large, the truth is that we need more people in our team to help us fill more seats, in more shifts and answer more calls. We are calling on members of our wonderful Canberra community to consider applying to become a volunteer Lifeline crisis supporter and take-up ‘the toughest job you will ever love’.

“As a crisis support volunteer myself, I can honestly say that at every shift you will feel thankful that you were there to pick up the phone.

“You can help change a life.”

Volunteers will receive world-leading training, giving them the information and confidence they need to answer the phone for the first time. With a minimum of 170 hours of training, Canberrans interested in volunteering as a Lifeline Crisis Supporter can find out more by clicking here.

If you would like to be to become a telephone crisis support volunteer, Lifeline Canberra is holding an information session this Wednesday (5 December) from 6 pm to 7 pm at Level 1, 71 Northbourne Ave, Canberra City. Interested members of the community can email TCSVolunteerEnquiries@act.lifeline.org.au to find out more.

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