By this time tomorrow night, at least another nine Australians1 will have taken their own life. They will leave behind devastated family, friends and entire communities. We need your help to ensure every single call to Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland is answered 24/7. Will you partner with us to help recruit and train more volunteer Crisis Supporters to address the growing mental health crisis?
Sarah* had been struggling with depression for some time when she called us. Despite wonderful support from her loving family and close friends, she’d reached a stage where she felt utter powerlessness over the darkness that had taken hold of her life. The talented university student found herself alone in her room that night, inconsolable and at the will of unwelcome, awful feelings that would not go away. She’d never called Lifeline before, but the decision to reach out would become a turning point in her journey.
“I’d been so afraid of saying out loud that I’d had thoughts of suicide, but they asked me directly and all I had to do was answer ‘yes’,” says Sarah. “It was scary, but I felt so relieved to finally acknowledge how serious my situation was.”
The Lifeline volunteer Crisis Supporter helped Sarah move through those feelings that night, providing a listening ear and encouraging her to do something small and positive, until she felt able to shower and take herself to bed.
For Sarah, a month or so after her initial phone call to Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland, life became overwhelming and she made an attempt to end her life. After a hospital stay, what followed was a raft of measures and therapies, with Sarah’s networks rallying to support her in beating her depression so she could enjoy life again.
Fast forward three years, and Sarah was ready to take steps to make something positive out of her life-changing experience. Thinking back to her call to Lifeline, she made the decision to apply to become a volunteer Crisis Supporter with our Lifeline Sydney centre.
“By that stage I felt as if my experience was no longer an open wound but a scar, something I could harness without it causing me further pain,” says Sarah. “I guess I’d helped myself to enough of a point that I was ready to help someone else.”
Sarah now volunteers at least once a fortnight or more depending on her schedule. She takes many calls from people in similar situations to the one she was in when she called Lifeline. But rather than finding those calls triggering, she says she finds them empowering.
“I feel that this is where I need to be because I can understand their situation so uniquely,” says Sarah. “I honestly feel so honoured to be able to help.”
When she’s not working or volunteering, Sarah loves spending time with her family and friends. She’s learned a lot about selfcare thanks in part to her Lifeline training. Best of all, she has wonderful emotional support in the form of her tail-wagging rescue Labrador, Rose.
Sarah is testament to the difference we can make for people in their darkest hour. If her call to Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland all those years ago had gone unanswered, who knows what might have happened.
As the cost of living rises, so does the number of calls to Lifeline from people in financial distress. Having a caring person to talk to in a crisis means no one must face their darkest times alone.
Answer their call for help
Cover the costs associated with one call for help.
Strengthen communities to fight suicide
Provide vital resources to Wesley LifeForce Networks working to prevent suicide.
Give people understanding
Fund suicide prevention training for ten people in Wesley LifeForce Networks.
Ensure there’s always help on the line
Keep our call centres open for people in crisis, 24/7.
Train a volunteer
Provide professional training for one volunteer Crisis Supporter.
Please give now to our Spring Appeal and make sure all Australians experiencing a mental health crisis have access to 24/7 support.
1Australian Bureau of Statistics
*Name changed to protect privacy