Helpline is an information, support and referral service that provides information to people experiencing mental health issues, as well as their family, friends and carers.
It is a peer-led, volunteer phone service, which means every person working on Helpline has a lived experience of mental health issues. This may be as someone with their own personal experience, or someone who cares for a family member or friend with mental health issues.
Helpline is not a crisis line, but we are here to listen and to offer you emotional support and service referral. We also provide support if you are feeling socially isolated, looking for a particular service, seeking information about mental health or the mental health system, or simply needing someone to talk to.
We assist callers in linking with clinical and community services, while providing direct referrals for carers to counselling services.
We also provide support in the form of weekly outgoing phone calls. This service requires a referral from a mental health worker or case manager.
Helpline volunteers are regularly in touch with mental health professionals, including support workers and psychologists, in order to understand the most up-to-date information about the mental health system and services available to their callers.
Helpline is a national service, operating Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm (EST).
Want to get involved?
The Helpline training program consists of six sessions across six consecutive weeks, usually held in the evenings from 6pm to 9pm. After training is completed, successful volunteers will undertake four shifts, with an experienced volunteer listening to their calls. Once these initial shifts are completed, volunteers will begin taking phone calls under supervision.
Helpline expects a minimum 12-month commitment from volunteers. You would need to do one four-hour shift each week or each fortnight. It is also mandatory that volunteers complete a minimum of 20 shifts before a reference can be given.
What would I be doing as a Helpline volunteer?
Helpline volunteers complete a four-hour shift on a day and time of their choosing, once a week or once a fortnight.
Helpline volunteers assist callers in navigating the mental health system and provide emotional support and information about the services available to people experiencing mental health issues, as well as their family and friends.
Helpline volunteers also make outgoing calls to particular individuals to provide intentional peer support, follow-up calls, appointment reminders and support between regular mental health support.
What will the training cover?
Helpline training covers the structure of the public and private mental health systems, telephone communication skills, managing challenging phone calls, communicating empathy, listening skills and administration skills.
The Understanding Mental Illness workshop is also a part of the training. It is designed to break down stigma, raise mental health awareness and support attendees in taking action to create community change.
How many volunteers are we looking for?
Helpline has two intakes per year in Victoria and the ACT, with approximately 16 volunteers in each intake.
Is there a cost involved in the training?
Training is paid for by Wellways and free to all Helpline volunteers.
To register your interest as a Helpline volunteer, please complete the form below.