Lifeline phone counsellors Debbie Garron and Jeannine Moye are able to help others in their hour of need.
Lifeline phone counsellors Debbie Garron and Jeannine Moye are able to help others in their hour of need. Roderick Makim

Learn to throw a lifeline

LOCALS looking for a way to give back to the community have an ideal opportunity with the upcoming Telephone Counsellor education program.

Lifeline will be offering the program in July to teach people all they need to know about offering support and counselling over the telephone.

Debbie Garron recently completed the course and as of this week is able to help those in need, offering an ear that knows how to listen and a voice to offer respect and compassion to those who reach out for help.

“It was a life-changing experience” Ms Garron said of the training.

Ms Garron works full-time, but wanted to learn new skills and give something back to the community and found telephone counselling fitted the bill perfectly.

Lifeline's telephone counsellors are asked to work one shift of four hours every fortnight, and “absolutely anyone” can learn how to do it, according to Telephone Counselling co-ordinator Pat Consen.

“There is no experience required, although life experience is a great help,” Ms Consen said.

Another of Lifeline's longer serving counsellors, Jeannine Moye said the experience was a great way of building confidence in your relationships with people every day and could also lead to further education and employment opportunities.

“You get a great satisfaction from helping people,” she said.

As well as the training, ongoing support is offered to the counsellors to ensure they can handle any call that comes their way, as the Fraser district fields calls from all over Australia through Lifeline's centralised switchboard.

An information night will be held at the Lifeline office on Bazaar St in Maryborough on June 27, and anyone looking for more information can call Fraser District Lifeline on 4191 3100.



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