How to become a Lifeline Counsellor

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, so it is worth looking at How to Become a Lifeline Counsellor.

Within the Lifeline organisation, what might be known to the layperson as a Counsellor is actually known as a Crisis Supporter. This is an important distinction to be made because those incredible people who provide the first line of assistance to individuals in crisis actually provide support and do not engage in the counselling process.


What is a Lifeline Counsellor or Crisis Supporter?

Telephone Crisis Supporters provide support to people in Australia who are having difficulty coping and may be at risk of suicide. This support is provided by telephone on the 13 11 14 crisis support line or online through crisis chat sessions.

Lifeline is a Registered Training Organisation and delivers Crisis Supporter Workplace Training – a nationally recognised training workplace program that builds the skills of people wishing to become Lifeline Crisis Supporters. 

Crisis Supporters come from diverse backgrounds and can be any age, over 18 years. Volunteers may be studying, already employed or retired, but all bring their own unique wealth of personal and professional experience to the role.

While counselling experience is not a prerequisite, volunteers must show empathy, have a mature outlook, be good listeners and be compassionate responders.


How can you volunteer to become a Lifeline Counsellor

How can you volunteer to become a Lifeline Counsellor:

Each day Lifeline volunteers take over 2,500 phone calls from Australian citizens suffering a serious illness. Training as a Crisis Supporter gives hope to people who are experiencing life crises. You must complete Lifeline’s nationally recognised Crisis Support Volunteer training program to get started as a crisis support volunteer.


What does Lifeline training involve?

Lifeline Crisis Support volunteers provide one-off crisis support over the phone to people who could benefit from immediate and short-term assistance to cope with crisis or distress. In order to safely provide this support, specific in-house training is provided to all volunteers who qualify.


A total of 170 hours of training is involved, including approximately 80 hours of placement and internship over a 12-month period delivered by a local Lifeline centre as a Lifeline Australia delivery partner.


  • Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and an Australian/New Zealand citizen or have a valid visa with no study restrictions.
  • A minimum commitment of 12 months is required for the initial training.
  • A Police Check and Working with Children or Working with Vulnerable People Check relevant to your State/Territory is also essential.

Lifeline centres may subsidise the cost of training. 

Benefits of working as a Lifeline volunteer

Benefits of working as a Lifeline volunteer:

Lifeline volunteers experience many benefits from their work efforts, including:

  1. Developing new skills and experience for personal and professional growth.
  2. The opportunity to help people in crisis during their moment of need.
  3. Becoming part of a community of like-minded, caring people who want to make a difference.
  4. An enhanced ability to communicate better with the people they care about as a result of the skills learned on the job.
  5. Having a national impact as a result of the volunteer process.


Is Lifeline a Non-Government Organisation?

Lifeline is a local volunteer-based not-for-profit organisation with over 50 years of experience providing crisis support to all Australians. The knowledge and skills gleaned over this period have informed the development of evidence-based training programs that strengthen the resilience and resourcefulness of our community.

Working together to ensure people do not have to face their darkest moments alone, each trainer brings their unique voice, expertise, and experiences to the team and thus contributes to the diversity of the organisation as a whole.


What does Lifeline do in regard to mental health

What does Lifeline do in regard to mental health?

The role of a Lifeline Crisis Support worker is to intervene in crisis situations and prevent suicide attempts. They do this by connecting with callers when they contact the Lifeline hotline. The Crisis Support worker listens to the caller’s story, building rapport and trust. They assess the caller’s needs, explore the reason for the call and identify the caller’s immediate needs.

Throughout this process, the support worker reaffirms the caller’s strengths, identifies supports available and encourages coping strategies.

The most important factor at this time is to manage any immediate threats to the caller’s life and safety and then open pathways for the caller to find longer-term solutions to their underlying issues and refer to external services as required. 


Testimonial from a Lifeline Crisis Supporter

Testimonial from a Lifeline Crisis Supporter:

As Lisa’s testimonial shows, without a doubt, the sense of personal satisfaction derived from assisting people in times of crisis is one of the main driving forces for volunteers to join Lifeline as Crisis Supporters.

“When I volunteer, it fills my bucket to know I have made a positive  difference to someone who finds themselves in challenging times. It gives me purpose to know I am giving and making a difference.”

Lisa S, Crisis Supporter


Are you interested in becoming a Lifeline Crisis Supporter?

If you are interested in making your unique contribution to the lives of people in crisis, Pre-Enrolment Course information is available from Lifeline in your state. You may be interested in becoming a Lifeline Crisis Supporter by providing Phone Support or Digital Support.

Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, Lifeline’s highly-trained volunteers are ready to listen and provide support and referrals.

If this topic has raised any concerns with you or someone you know, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat or text at Lifeline.

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