VITAL VOLUNTEERS: Trishia Weier, a telephone crisis supporter at Rockhampton’s Lifeline centre, takes calls from people in need.
VITAL VOLUNTEERS: Trishia Weier, a telephone crisis supporter at Rockhampton’s Lifeline centre, takes calls from people in need. Lisa Benoit Roklifeline

Lifeline call centre calling for volunteers

IT CAN sometimes be a matter of life or death for callers when volunteer telephone crisis supporter Trishia Weier answers the phone.

The Lifeline Rockhampton volunteer is one of 25 who take calls from people in desperate times of need, whether it is to do with suicide or simply just needing someone to talk to.

But Lifeline is also getting desperate, with the number of calls rising each month. Many calls are going unanswered as the organisation doesn't have enough volunteers to cover the shifts.

Service coordinator and trainer for the Lifeline 13 11 14 service in Rockhampton, Joanne Adrelius, said she believes the number is rising due to more awareness of mental illness.

"The crisis line answers over 1000 calls per month just for Rockhampton which is going up, so the more volunteers the better to spread the workload evenly," she said yesterday.

"I think people are recognising when they're struggling a lot more and they know it's okay to ask for help and that someone is there to help them get out of that dark place they're in."

Volunteers train for 18 months and receive accreditation for their work, which is recognised nationally.

"There are lots of different people who volunteer - uni students, tradesmen, professionals, stay-at-home mums - with the age groups ranging from the early 80s down to 19, and some of them travel far distances to work here too," Ms Adrelius said.

"The minimum is a four-hour shift once a fortnight to attain the accreditation."

For more info, call the centre on 49 307 300.



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