Volunteers man Lifeline’s crisis line in Tasmania Volunteers man Lifeline’s crisis line in Tasmania This month, Lifeline expects to receive close to 4,000 calls from Tasmanians in distress. Each year on average 45,000 Tasmanians phone 13 11 14, with these calls answered by dedicated and highly trained Crisis Support Worker Volunteers from around Australia. Lifeline Tasmania’s CEO Debbie Evans says Lifeline Tasmania has currently 64 telephone Crisis Support Worker Volunteers, and has set a bold target of reaching 100 volunteers in the next 18 months. Ms Evans says is not as simple as just making a call out for new volunteers and putting them onto the phones immediately. “Our Crisis Support Volunteers have to undergo more than 170 hours of training before they can become accredited. They go through a rigorous process including e-learning, workshops, role-playing, supervised shifts and assessments over a 12 month period,” Ms Evans explained. Jessica* has been volunteering with Lifeline Tasmania as a Crisis Supporter Worker Volunteer for more than two years. “It was after my children had grown up and left home and I felt like the timing was right to give back to the community,” Jessica said. Still working full time, Jessica says she was fortunate that her workplace was supportive of her commitment to take on the added hours out of work for the training for Lifeline’s 13 11 14. After completing the training, Jessica says that volunteering on the phones has become part of her weekly routine. “It’s been easy for me to work around both my personal life and work life knowing that I have secured a regular shift. “But during this time, self-care and self-awareness has become really important to be able to maintain my role as a Crisis Supporter. As a result, there are some weeks where I realise I may not be available to go on the phones and need a break,” Jessica explains. Jessica says the experience and training has taught her a lot about herself and the way she interacts with members of our community and she feels like volunteering is a two way street. “I feel like I have gained a lot of benefits, whilst being able to support help seekers. “The professional and personal support provided by the Lifeline Tasmania Team is outstanding and I never feel alone in my time as a Crisis Supporter. “Whilst a volunteer role like a Crisis Supporter is not for everyone, I do encourage those people out there considering it to enquire. It just makes you a better person,” Jessica said. For more information about how to apply to become a Crisis Support Worker Volunteer email: [email protected] For 24/7 crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 *Jessica is not the Crisis Support Worker Volunteer’s real name.