Sympathetic ear at Lifeline in a time of crisis

Lifeline crisis support volunteer Carmel Robinson has taken many calls in her year with the charity.
Lifeline crisis support volunteer Carmel Robinson has taken many calls in her year with the charity.

CARMEL Robinson says it would be too easy to say helping people is the best part about volunteering for Lifeline.

The Coolbellup resident has offered her time with the crisis support charity for a year.

More than 57,000 West Australians have made calls to Lifeline in the last year.

Ms Robinson has taken many of those calls.

“I love the fact that I can be there to help regardless of their situation,” she said.

“You don’t pick and choose who calls through.

“A lot of people don’t have family or friends. Many are marginalised.

“I get to step out of my comfort zone, even if it’s just being on the end of the phone to listen.

“You enter an intimate space with emotionally vulnerable people.”

Ms Robinson has spent plenty of time helping others.

She was previously employed as a teacher and has also worked as a disability support worker in Darwin.

Locally, she teaches music at the Cockburn Youth Centre.

She said she had learnt plenty in the last year with Lifeline, and was sure she would continue to gain further experience into the future.

“I’d thought about being a volunteer a while ago, but when I signed up I knew it was the right time,” she said.

“It was something I felt drawn to; I felt I could help.

“I went in with an open heart and mind.

“It’s probably the most fulfilled I’ve been in terms of work.”

Lifeline WA’s chief executive Fiona Kalaf said the Christmas period was the service’s busiest time of the year.

A call to the national crisis support line is made every 37 seconds.

“Christmas is usually a time of family, sharing and giving,” Ms Kalaf said.

“But for some people it can be a time of despair, loneliness and isolation.”

The charity has launched the 2015 Lights for Lifeline campaign to raise money to train volunteers who do important life-saving work.

To donate visit . If you would like to speak to someone, phone 13 11 14.