If life in danger call Triple Zero 000
If life in danger call Triple Zero 000

Volunteer to be a Digital Crisis Supporter

We offer National 24/7 Text and Online Chat Services to the Australian community, and we can’t do it without the generosity of people like you. Being a Digital Crisis Supporter may be right for you if you like the flexibility of working from home, are comfortable with technology, are able to express yourself confidently in the written word and are self-motivated.

Learn More

What does a crisis supporter do?

Crisis supporter using a laptop
  • Train

    Once accepted, you will complete training to become a qualified Crisis Supporter.

  • Respond

    You will respond to people in need of support via online chat or Lifeline Text

  • Listen

    You will listen to what’s going on for the person who has contacted you, hear their story and sit with their distress.

  • Empower

    You will support the person to identify their next steps and encourage them to generate and own the action. If needed, you will create a safety plan with them.

How training works

Crisis supporters commit to volunteering an average of two 4-hour shifts a month. You’ll also complete a training period to give you all the expertise you need to navigate crisis support successfully and empathetically.

Stage 1
30-35hrs / 8 weeks
Training Program
The first step is to get you trained up! Enjoy self-paced online learning over an 8-week period with a new training group starting each week.
Stage 2
10-15hrs / 4 weeks
To get confident with providing crisis support, you’ll do on-the-job supported shifts which enable your supervisor to provide you with feedback and support.
Stage 3
92hrs / year
Crisis Supporter
As a trained Crisis Supporter, you’ll be engaging in providing crisis support, receiving feedback, and taking part in professional development activities.

Upcoming information sessions

Want to learn more about becoming a Digital Crisis Supporter? Register for an upcoming Information Session:

JUNE 2024
6 - 7pm AEST
6 - 7pm AEST

Take the first step

If you think becoming a Digital Crisis Supporter is for you, you can send us your details and we’ll be in touch with the next steps in the application process.

What you’ll need to be a Digital Crisis Supporter volunteer

  1. A stable and reliable internet connection
  2. A quiet and confidential space where you can volunteer
  3. A PC or Mac computer less than 6 years old
  4. Mac users will need macOS 10.14 or later and a free app, Microsoft Remote Desktop
  5. PC users will need to be running Windows 10 or later
  6. Recommended: two computer monitors and a webcam
Crisis supporter portrait photo
I was looking for a way to volunteer but my uni schedule is really full on, I wasn’t sure I’d have the time. I love the flexibility I get from Lifeline’s text volunteer program, and the feeling that I am giving back to the community.

Frequently asked questions

Lifeline provides one-off crisis support to people who could benefit from immediate and short-term assistance to cope with crises or distress. Lifeline does not provide long-term or ongoing assistance.

Lifeline’s one-off service means that a crisis supporter will be unaware of what has taken place following their interaction with the help seeker. This includes when Lifeline escalates a situation to emergency services due to issues of risk. Due to these challenges and others, Lifeline places high importance on providing debriefing and supportive supervision to all staff and volunteers.
Help seekers contact Lifeline with a variety of issues and crisis situations. This may include relationship issues, loneliness, family concerns, substance issues, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, domestic and family violence situations, and child safety concerns. Crisis Supporters help to address a range of feelings including anxiety, depression, loneliness and disconnection.

All support services experience a small proportion of unwelcome interactions from people who are misusing the service to harass or intimidate. Debriefing and supervision play a pivotal role in seeking support during or after these often-challenging interactions.
No, the comprehensive training provided to our volunteer crisis supporters will ensure you are qualified to offer a high standard of crisis support that keeps people safe. We are looking for volunteers who are good listeners, empathetic, compassionate and committed to supporting others.
Yes, all volunteer roles require a National Police Check conducted by Lifeline and relevant state/territory Working with Children Check/Working with Vulnerable People Check. The associated fees for checks where required is at your own cost.
We find most people who volunteer with Lifeline as a volunteer crisis supporter find it very rewarding, knowing they are contributing to saving lives. Most of our volunteers contribute to the Lifeline community for years after completing training.  We ask our volunteer crisis supporters to commit to a minimum of 4 hours per fortnight.
Lifeline has 41 centres around Australia in regional, remote and metropolitan areas. We also offer the opportunity to volunteer online via our Digital text and online chat services.

To volunteer at your nearest Lifeline Centre or Lifeline shop, please contact your local Lifeline Centre to find out more about becoming a volunteer. 
This video will give you more insight into what it's like to be a Digital Crisis Supporter. It provides additional information on what to expect and you will see some of our digital support volunteers share about their experiences.

Video addendum: Whilst a 2 year commitment from our volunteers contributes enormously toward ensuring we can provide consistent support to our Help Seekers, we understand this is not always possible. Given the time invested in training volunteer, we appreciate a minimum commitment from individual volunteers of 92 service hours per year based on 4 hrs per fortnight or an average of two 4-hour shifts a month.
You will be assigned a Team Leader who will coach you throughout your training, placement and even once you are a fully trained Crisis Supporter. In addition, you will always have support while on shift, as one of our qualified In-Shift Supervisors will be there to ask questions, intervene where necessary and debrief with you when you finish your shift.
  • Make sure you understand the commitment involved in becoming a Crisis Supporter
  • Register your interest and/or attend an information session
  • Complete and submit your application. You will be asked to provide reference details, a Working with Children /Vulnerable People Check and a Police Check. For digital support volunteering, Lifeline uses a specific provider and does not accept police checks from other providers - details are supplied during the application process. (Note that these checks are at your own cost). 
  • Accept our offer to join the Lifeline family.
  • Join the next available training date (we will notify you of the date once you have accepted your offer)
When volunteering for the Lifeline Text Service, either a PC or Mac computer can be used, requiring the latest operating system available. The minimum system requirement for a Mac is macOS10.14 or later; and a free app to connect to the remote desktop, Microsoft Remote Desktop . For PC the suggested system requirement is an up-to-date version of Windows, general a computer less than 6 years old.
It is highly recommended to have two computer monitors/screens, to run the text platform on one monitor, and on the second monitor to runs Teams, the program that we use to communicate with each other on shift. If you don’t have two monitors, then having a smartphone on shift as a back-up is important so that you can keep in contact with your shift supervisor, in case you have problems with Teams. It is also good if you have a camera with your computer, so that during training and once volunteering, you are able to chat face to face with your team leader or shift supervisor.
Having a stable and reliable internet connection is very important when considering volunteering for the Lifeline Text Service. It is useful to know the upload and download speed of your internet, and this can be easily checked using any internet speed check tool .

If you have any problems with your internet, it is also possible to hotspot your phone and all programs needed will run smoothly as required.
We welcome all applicants considering becoming a Digital Crisis Supporter and due to the flexibility of the role can support a variety of accessibility needs. Please send us through an email if you have any specific questions.
Becoming a Digital Crisis Supporter is perfect for those living in regional/remote areas in Australia. You can be located anywhere Australia-wide as long as you have the appropriate computer equipment and a stable and reliable internet connection.

Unfortunately, due to our security requirements and IT systems, we are not able to accept overseas applicants.
If you are interested in volunteering as a Digital Crisis Supporter for Lifeline to complete the student placement component of your tertiary course – please read the information below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have limited capacity to support tertiary students beyond standard Crisis Supporter volunteering. Please also check that Crisis Support volunteering meets your education institution’s requirements. For further information contact digitalplacement@lifeline.org.au

STUDENT PLACEMENT COMMITMENT To undertake a tertiary student placement with Lifeline's digital service, the following commitment is required:
  1. Complete Lifeline's digital crisis supporter training and placement.
  2. Complete a minimum of 100 hours of digital service delivery* - not including training.
  3. Complete 75% of shifts between the hours of 6pm – 6am.
Please note:
  • Lifeline's crisis support services are non-clinical.
  • Our ability to supervise tertiary placement students is limited to our standard service delivery in-shift supervision and quarterly group supervision.
  • Placement with our digital service means there is no face-to-face contact with clients, ongoing case management, or physical office space.
  • All placement hours will be completed on a digital online platform at the placement student's location.
  • We do not have the capacity to provide competency feedback to academic staff.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to maintain any logbooks or time sheets and contact a team leader for verification once the required placement hours have been completed.
  • Please ensure your education institution approves of Crisis Supporter hours for tertiary student placement hours.
  • If required placement hours are less than our minimum commitment, we ask that a minimum of 100 hours of service* are completed in total, given the investment in training provided.

  • Our digital services online training program is self-guided with approximately 4.5 hours of eLearning recommended per week depending on your schedule and pace. Support is provided on request.
  • Volunteers are allocated a Training Lead at the commencement of their training.
  • The recommended completion time for the training program is 8 to 12 weeks, which includes 5 to 8 weeks of self-paced eLearning; and 2 to 4 weeks of placement.
  • A Training Completion Certificate is available after 52 service hours (approximately 13 Crisis Supporter shifts) are logged.
  • Once an offer to volunteer is accepted within the volunteer hub (Rosterfy), applicants can then self-select into a training cohort. There are usually a range of start dates to select from.
Below are some of the competencies our Crisis Supporters aim to develop during training: General skills list: Connection, Rapport, Listening, Collaboration, Empowerment, Supportive, Context, Timing, Safety, Flexibility, Discernment, Emergency Action A combination of training and on-service experience provides volunteers with the opportunity to develop the following skills:
  • Establishing a connection.
  • Building rapport and trust with help seekers.
  • Remaining present with help seekers whilst sitting with their distress.
  • Uncovering and working collaboratively with help seekers to identify strengths, resources, and external supports.
  • Building appropriate reframing and other micro skills.
  • Empowering of help seekers.
  • Supporting help seekers to reduce barriers.
  • Asking and talking about suicide with good context and timing in a supportive manner.
  • Creating safety plans in collaboration with help seekers.
  • Responding to crime and emergency issues.
Students develop the following micro skills as crisis supporters:
  • Active listening
  • Reflection of feelings
  • Open and closed questions
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarising
  • Reframing
  • Tentative challenges
To become a telephone volunteer crisis supporter for Lifeline's 24-hour Crisis Support service - 13 11 14 - you'll need to undertake extensive training, make a commitment to shifts, and meet further selection criteria. This is to ensure you'll be confident, skilled, and able to provide support to Lifeline's callers in their time of emotional distress and crisis. This is a very rewarding volunteer opportunity.
Lifeline has 41 centres around Australia in regional, remote and metropolitan areas.

To volunteer at your nearest Lifeline Centre or Lifeline shop, please contact your local Lifeline Centre to find out more about becoming a volunteer.
Crisis Supporter Workplace Training (CSWT) is a national recognised training course which is based on adult learning principles and experiential learning. Successful completion results in Accreditation as a Lifeline Crisis Supporter and obtaining a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment in:

  • CHCCCS003 Increase the safety of individuals at risk of suicide
  • CHCCCS019 Recognise and respond to crisis situations
  • CHCCCS028 Provide client-centred support to people in crisis

Lifeline is a Registered Training Organisation, Lifeline Australia RTO Code 88036. Lifeline centres subsidise the cost of the CSWT course, however a student contribution is required.

Other ways to get involved

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