LAUNCH EVENT - All media welcome.
9:30am, TUESDAY 6TH JUNE 2023
VICTORIA UNIVERSITY FOOTSCRAY PARK CAMPUS,
BUILDING L LEVEL 4, BALLARAT RD,
FOOTSCRAY VIC 3011
Contact: Jason Doherty, 0430 104 075
Lifeline will open its first crisis support and suicide prevention call centre in Melbourne’s West this month, located on Victoria University’s (VU) St Albans Campus.
Lifeline and VU recently signed a five-year partnership to establish Lifeline Western Melbourne, the first Lifeline service in the state to operate from a university campus.
General Manager Jason Doherty said there was an identified need for a support service in the region, which has experienced a 35-per-cent surge in demand from residents facing emotional distress or battling cost-of-living pressures since the pandemic.
Lifeline Western Melbourne will also boost its presence in the region by establishing a network of new local Lifeline Shops (op-shops) in Melbourne’s west to raise money for its services and suicide prevention community training programs.
Nine volunteers have completed their initial Crisis Supporter training and are ready to take live supervised calls on 13 11 14 as part of a 12-month internship to become accredited Crisis Supporters. The service will aim to have 40 crisis support volunteers answering calls in the centre by the end of its first year.
In the longer term, the partnership will provide real-world placement, volunteer and other opportunities for VU students taking courses in areas such as youth work, psychology, counselling, community services, or social work. VU researchers will also be able to collaborate with the Lifeline Research Foundation.
Mr Doherty said it was important that Lifeline Crisis Supporters came from all walks of life, age groups and cultural backgrounds – including students and young people.
“Crisis Supporters do not need to have experience in counselling as we provide extensive training and support to help empathetic people be there for others – to listen and offer hope,” he said.
Lifeline Crisis Supporter training is done online alongside other trainees over four to eight weeks, before the internship stage commences at the centre.
A trained Crisis Supporter then commits to a minimum four-hour shift per fortnight. There is flexibility in both training times and volunteering rosters.
Lifeline will hold an online information session for anyone interested in training as a crisis support volunteer at Lifeline Western Melbourne on Monday 3 July. Register at https://bit.ly/CrisisSupporterInfoSession.
The new centre will add to the other 41 Lifeline centres nationally, from where more than 4,000 crisis supporters respond to around one million calls annually - one call every 30 seconds.
VU Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said VU was honoured to support Lifeline’s critically important work.
“By partnering with Lifeline Western Melbourne, we are helping to provide crucial services our region needs. We want to be part of a solution that ensures our communities do not face their most serious challenges alone. That is where the Crisis Call Centre comes in – and we couldn’t be prouder to host it at our St Albans Campus,” he said.
VU is also proud to offer its students access to a specialised Lifeline mental health service. As an additional part of its Lifeline partnership, University Crisis Line will offer VU students in distress access to out-of-hours phone and text support, ensuring VU students have prompt access to urgent mental health support at all times.
- 24 hour crisis support: Ph 13 11 14
- Text: 0477 13 11 14
- Chat online: www.lifeline.org.au
Jason Doherty, General Manager Western Melbourne 0430 104 075