Donna Manton is one of our Personnel Security Contractors based in Bowral. Her strong desire to give back to the community has resulted in her volunteering as a Crisis support phone counsellor on a weekly basis with Lifeline Suicide prevention for the last 2 years.
Donna says, "Suicide prevention it is such a worthy cause and I chose it because I could effect change for the people that call. We are not necessarily saving their lives, but keeping them safe for the time being, that could be 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 days. We make a safety plan with them so when they feel suicidal again they have a plan on what they can do. Often it's calling Lifeline back."
She gets great satisfaction from volunteering, knowing she is helping people in the depths of their despair and also values the fact that they are willing to share their story with a total stranger. This makes her appreciate her own life and family so much more.
To be a counsellor, one is required to complete a course with Lifeline at your own expense. New counsellors are not 'thrown on the phones'. There is a model to follow, so anyone that calls will be taken through the model. Good listening skills, empathy, a non-judgmental attitude and an ability to cope in a crisis are desirable traits for a counsellor.
Lifeline also offers many courses to keep counsellors updated: domestic violence, mental health first aid, gambling addiction, drug and alcohol addition. These courses provide great life lessons which can be valuable in counsellor's own lives, not just for use at Lifeline.
Find out more about Lifeline here. https://www.lifeline.org.au/