Local Lifeline crisis supporters are back in their Lismore call centre to support community members after working out of mobile sheds for the past 10 months.
The local people who volunteer to take calls to 13 11 14 and other suicide prevention program support staff this week moved back into the Conway Street office that was devastated in the 2022 Lismore floods.
Lifeline Northern NSW general manager Michael Were and his team have worked from mobile sheds on trailers in the office car park since April last year thanks to the support of local firm CPB Contractors.
‘We needed to get back up and running quickly so we could be there to support the increasing number of people struggling with the mental health impacts of the flooding,’ said Mr Were.
Calls to Lifeline doubled after the floods
‘Calls to Lifeline doubled after the floods and 12 months on it’s still about 50 per cent higher than the months pre-flood.
‘There’s still a long way to go for a lot of people and we want to remind people that we are here for them – 24/7. Whether people are in financial stress, relationship stress, or housing stress, we are here to listen and offer hope.’
A clever refurbishment of the office has doubled capacity so Mr Were is looking to boost the number of local crisis supporters. Lifeline lost some volunteers, as they had been personally affected by the natural disaster or were helping family members or friends.
Mr Were said Lifeline crisis supporters come from all walks of life and ages. ‘You don’t need a particular qualification as Lifeline provides extensive training over nine months. It provides crisis supporters with ongoing supervision and support.
‘If anyone can spare a minimum of four hours a fortnight and is empathetic and a good listener, we’d love them to join us.
‘I can’t thank our current crisis supporters enough for putting aside their own challenges to continue to be there for others in difficult and cramped circumstances.’
Conway Street is not the only building Lifeline lost in the floods. It is unable to reopen its Casino Street shop in South Lismore but is hoping to reopen its Magellan Street Lismore shop next month.
‘We are really excited to reopen a shop in Lismore. All proceeds go to running our local 13 11 14 service and other suicide prevention programs.’
To find out more about Lifeline services and volunteering opportunities call 1300 152 854 or visit northernnsw.lifeline.org.au
24 hours crisis support: Ph: 13 11 14 l Text: 0477 13 11 14 l Chat online: www.lifeline.org.au
FREE video counselling sessions – Book via 1300 152 854