Lifeline Northern Rivers is on the lookout for volunteers as part of its response to a dramatic rise in the number of suicides.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data released in March showed that 2864 people had taken their lives in 2014 – an increase of almost 13.5 per cent from 2013.
Lifeline Northern Rivers Centre Manager Niall Mulligan said it was time to recognize the scale of the emergency.
‘To increase our capacity to answer calls from people at risk we have added an additional crisis support work station to the two we currently operate in Lismore,’ Mr Mulligan said.
‘The third seat will significantly improve our ability to contribute to the national 13 11 14 crisis line by adding volunteer numbers at times where the need for extra resourcing is greatest – early mornings, evenings and weekends.
‘As a result of that increased technical capacity we are now actively recruiting volunteer crisis supporters to work on the 13 11 14 crisis line at those high demand times.
‘Currently we have about 75 active crisis support volunteers working out of our Lismore HQ who have collectively answered 19165 calls from help seekers over the past twelve months.
‘We are looking to add about 15 more volunteers to that number to allow us to take full advantage of our additional workstation.’
Mr Mulligan said Lifeline offered a ‘life-saving and life-changing’ alternative to suicide.
‘It is always there for those confronting crisis and suicide, but also for those who trust us with their ongoing and often complex problems,’ he said.
‘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.’
Mr Mulligan said training included a on-line eLearning reinforced by 8 x 4 hour 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,’ he said.
‘Our next Crisis Support Worker Training course will run from late August to mid-November 2016. The closing date for applications is July 29th 2016.’
To receive an information pack about the training email [email protected] or call 66224133.