Lifeline's WA Partnership Gives a Lift to Taxi Drivers

18 January 2021

 Lifeline WA will be getting reinforcements in its suicide prevention mission after providing ‘accidental counsellor’ training to its first batch of Swan Taxis drivers in line with the launch of its new partnership with the company.

‘Accidental counsellors’ are people who deal with members of the public in their daily lives and are in positions where people might be angry or distressed.

Working together with Swan Taxis, Lifeline WA hopes to eventually roll out its accidental counsellor training to about 3,000 Swan Taxis drivers, assisting them to appropriately respond to passengers who open up to them.

Four drivers have already attended a workshop delivered by Lifeline WA’s well-being coordinator, which Lifeline WA CEO Lorna MacGregor said covered some of the basics of handling these situations.

“Taxi drivers do sometimes interact with people in vulnerable states, but what this training makes clear is that they should not try to provide advice,” Ms MacGregor said.

“Instead, the drivers will be taught how to listen appropriately and direct passengers to services like Lifeline WA for professional support if needed.”

Ms MacGregor said the partnership with Swan Taxis included Lifeline WA branding of a number of vehicles and would help raise awareness of the support Lifeline offers.

“Swan Taxis are often working late nights when people might have been drinking or otherwise vulnerable so having that visible reminder that help is available is important,” she said.

“We look forward to developing our relationship with the state’s biggest taxi provider and rolling out training to more drivers.” MacGregor said.

Swan Taxis CEO Keong Lai said protecting the well-being of its drivers and customers was a core value of the organisation and the partnership with Lifeline WA reflected this.

“Sadly, the rate of suicide is increasing in the community and we are proud to work with Lifeline WA in promoting suicide prevention within our company and across the community,” he said.

“We hope that our vehicles will help guide those in need to Lifeline.

“Even if we manage to help save one life, it is still a big win for all of us.”

The majority of the remaining training for Swan Taxis drivers will be delivered online.

Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14.