Lifeline volunteers are helping those in need

Ready to help: Lifeline Central West centre supervisor and trainer Jodie Williams, with volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporters Brenda Stvenson and Jan Millgate. Photo: Taylor Jurd.
Ready to help: Lifeline Central West centre supervisor and trainer Jodie Williams, with volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporters Brenda Stvenson and Jan Millgate. Photo: Taylor Jurd.

Things are moving ahead for the team at Lifeline Central West. The organisation is preparing to move into its new and larger premises at Dubbo in early March, which will help increase its capacity of volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporters.

A new wave of Telephone Crisis Supporters have also recently competed their training, but the organisation is still looking for more people willing to help those in need.

Brenda Stevenson, has been volunteering with Lifeline Central West at the Dubbo office for just over two months.

Brenda said she wanted to volunteer because she knows people who have suffered from mental health issues and she wanted to help reduce the stigma and encourage more people to seek help.

“People say stigma isn’t around mental health…. well I believe it still is. And people are so frightened to help and this has allowed me not to be frightened,” she said.

“And rather than say ‘what can I do?’, I feel like I’m doing a little bit.”

She started her training in September and commenced on the phones as a fully trained Telephone Crisis Supporter in December.

Initially Brenda said she felt a little daunted, but having done the training and receiving copious amounts of support she has flourished.

“Having done it (the training) and with the support, it’s not actually frightening at all. It’s teaching you more about life,” she said.

Brenda said the training also teaches you compassion, and about yourself.

“The training teaches you to be less judgmental. You also learn how to listen to people rather than jump to conclusions,” she said.

Brenda said calls to Lifeline Central West came from all over Australia.

“And for all different reasons. It’s just brilliant that Lifeline is there and I only wish more people were aware of Lifeline and realise that they can call,” she said.

“It’s important they know that calls are anonymous. It’s just a friendly voice at the end of the phone.”

Brenda said when people are having a crisis that is weighing them down they often feel a lot better after talking to someone.

“I’m not saying they will find all of the answers.. but they may find the steps to the answers,” she said.

“Or it may just be the steps to improve their day, which leads them to feel a bit better.”

Brenda wanted to reiterate the fact for those thinking about becoming a Lifeline volunteer that it was not frightening.

“Through volunteering you might just help someone. You might save someone,” she said.

Interested in becoming a Lifeline volunteer? Call 1300 798 258 or email training@lifelinecentralwest.org.au

While some calls can be difficult, Brenda said crisis telephone volunteers receive a lot of support themselves while on the phone.

“When you go on the phone you have a tremendous amount of support from more experience people, plus online support and resources,” she said,.

“What initially i thought would be really daunting, once you start is not because you have all of this support and mechanisms and excellent training so you can do it.”