Lifeline Bundaberg is seeking crisis support volunteers to help struggling people overcome difficult times in their lives.
Those interested are invited to attend a crisis support volunteer information night on March 15 ahead of a 10-week telephone crisis supporters training course starting on April 12.
Mark Hennessy, Lifeline Bundaberg Crisis Supporter Workplace Training Trainer and Remote Call Coach, said the need for crisis supporters was greater than ever.
“In the context of COVID-19 and the bush fires in recent years, we’re now taking more calls on 13 11 14 than we ever have,” Mark said.
“We’re now taking more than 3000 calls a day nationally, so that need for volunteers is always there because that demand to answer those calls is constant.”
Mark said Bundaberg volunteers perform their role as part of Lifeline’s national network, taking crisis calls from throughout Australia.
“Many of us experience a form of crisis in our lives,” he said. “We go through many different things – the loss of a loved one, a break down of a relationship, the loss of a job.
“They’re the times when we might need that person who sits outside our close network of friends and family, just to talk to and open up to.”
Mark said it was important that volunteers be good listeners but added that they also had to be dedicated, with the comprehensive 10-week course being just the first step in a year-long process to achieve accreditation in crisis support.
“It is such important work in the role of a crisis support officer, you are helping save lives and you are helping change lives when you take that call,” Mark said.
“The training itself, understandably, needs to be quite involved and there’s a lot of time that’s needed.”
Mark said those undergoing training would complete face-to-face and online sessions and watch trained crisis supporters in action, before those who pass assessments take their own calls with the guidance of experienced supervisors.
He said many who had achieved accreditation in the past believed they had become better people because of their training.
“The skills that people learn on in this course they not only apply on the phones, they also apply them in their homes and in their workplace because the skills are about managing relationships, about talking to people, about listening,” he said.
Mark said among the skills volunteers would learn were the ability to assess whether a caller was having suicidal thoughts and how to discuss the issue, and identifying other crises that people experience including domestic and family violence and child protection.
He said the volunteers themselves would also have the necessary support required to help them complete the challenging work.
The information night will be conducted on Monday, March 15 from 6pm-8pm at the Uniting Care/Lifeline building on the corner of River Terrace and Penny Street, Millbank.
The face-to-face training program, also held at the Uniting Care/Lifeline building, extends from April 12 to June 14 with gateway assessments completed from June 15-30.
The course cost is $450 which covers all materials and training with volunteers also receiving ongoing training and development throughout their time with Lifeline without additional cost.
Anyone interested in attending the information night or seeking more information about becoming a crisis support volunteer can phone Lifeline Bundaberg on 4153 8400 or email [email protected].
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