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 a national service located in Victoria and operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm (EST).
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. Shifts are either 9am-1pm, 1-5pm or 5-9pm.
While on shift, 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.
Volunteers also make outgoing calls to referred individuals. In these they offer follow-up phone calls and therapeutic conversations, provide additional support alongside other mental health services where suitable and promote social connection and community engagement.
Want to get involved?
Helpline has two volunteer intakes per year (February-March and August-September). This intake process involves several stages including an phone screen, a group interview and initial training.
Volunteer applicants who are successful in both the phone and group interviews will be invited to take part in the initial Helpline training. Held across six consecutive weeks, this mandatory training consists of six 3 hour sessions, these usually held on Tuesday evenings from 6pm to 9pm.
After training is completed, successful volunteers will undertake an initial four shifts alongside an experienced volunteer. During these shifts, they will listen to how the experienced volunteer works with callers. Once these shifts are completed, volunteers will begin taking phone calls under supervision.
What will the training cover?
Helpline training covers the structure of the mental health systems, understanding mental illness, telephone communication skills, managing challenging phone calls, communicating empathy, listening skills and administration skills. Future opportunities for volunteer development are also offered through workshops held throughout the year.
Is there a cost involved in the training?
Training is paid for by Wellways and free to all Helpline volunteers.
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.
When is the next Helpline volunteer intake?
There are two intakes per year, the first in February-March and the second in August-September.
Expressions of interest for the first intake open on the first Monday of November and close on the first Monday of January. For the second intake, expressions of interest open on the first Monday of May and close of the first Monday of July.