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What happens when you call 13 11 14?

31 August 2021

13 11 14. It may seem like an easy thing to do, to pick up the phone, to dial six digits, but until we start talking, we may only then find out how difficult it truly was for you to call Lifeline.

There’s a moment before someone on the other end of the line answers the call. This may be filled with nervousness about the unknown, curiosity about who is going to answer and one big, deep breath.

A Crisis Supporter waits on the other end, wondering about the unknown and sharing the same deep breath.

“Hello. This is Lifeline, may we help you”

There’s nothing quite like it. Two people, two lives away, two worlds apart having a meaningful conversation in a moment of crisis.

The call is about you, the Help Seeker. We, the Crisis Supporters, are here to sit with you, listen and support you throughout your crisis. You’re probably wondering who we are; the volunteers. We are a diverse group, a community of people with a common goal. We are here by choice, 24 hours a day, and we are motivated to help every person we speak to. We have undergone many hours of evidence-based training before we answer your call, so that you can be confident you’re in safe hands.

It can be challenging opening up to people so we will not pry nor rush you to speak about anything you are not comfortable to discuss. Our service is free and anonymous, and the integrity and privacy of our Help Seekers is paramount. There is no rulebook for these interactions, we just ask that you start somewhere. “Tell me what’s going on for you today.”

The words may come out all at once or it may be difficult to find the words until you realise there is more to say than you thought. This is all okay, we want to work with you at your pace to get where you need to be to get through the next hour, day or week.

No two calls are the same, but they all share one thing in common: your safety and wellbeing is our highest priority. We will ask you about suicide and we will follow up this question with the utmost respect, compassion, and support.

We have learned that each Help Seeker’s experience of crisis is unique to them and  that everyone has a different measure of what a ‘crisis’ is. We’ve learned that what people can cope with on any given day may change. We’ve learned that people can be affected by a wide variety of factors, or that one event can have a multitude of impacts. Therefore, it is important as Crisis Supporters that we withhold judgement of our Help Seekers and their crisis.

As we interact, we’ll be interested in how you are feeling, what’s important to you, what these feelings mean for you and work with you to empower the already existing strengths you have. We aren’t here to tell you what’s best for you or give advice; you already have the best insight into your own life. On the toughest of days, we are here to ease the pain and walk by your side until we reach the hope you need to carry on.

We thank you for allowing us the privilege to walk with you.

13 11 14. No one needs to face their problems alone.

Written by Prue Healy