Building a Lifeline for the future: Expectations, innovations, outcomes

  • Rickwood, Debra (CI)
  • Pirkis, Jane (CoI)
  • Klein, Britt (CoI)
  • Goecke, Roland (CoI)
  • Batterham, Phil (CoI)
  • Titov, Nick (CoI)
  • Epps, Julien (CoI)
  • Kolves, Kaori (CoI)
  • Gould, Madelyn (CoI)
  • Bradford, Sally (CoI)
  • Mazzer, Kelly (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details


Lifeline is Australia’s only national 24-hour crisis service, and received 988,270 phone calls in 2016. It provides immediate, universally accessible and free support for suicidal persons and persons in a state of emotional crisis. It is a central component of the mental health and social care systems and relied upon as the out-of-hours community ‘safety net’. Lifeline has moved into the digital age and offers crisis support via online chat and soon via SMS text messaging. Yet, despite increasingly widespread reliance on Lifeline, no research has identified the types of help-seekers that such crisis services are expected to support nor the outcomes expected to be achieved; there is currently no way to identify different help-seeker types or determine their outcomes; and it is unknown whether the Lifeline model of practice is effective for the expanding range of help-seekers and the model is untested for the newer modalities of online chat and SMS text. This research partnership will address these critical evidence gaps by: 1) identifying the types of help-seekers that Lifeline is expected to support and the outcomes expected to be achieved according to the Australian community, health and social care systems, and help-seekers by undertaking representative surveys of Lifeline stakeholders and interviews with help-seekers; 2) developing reliable and innovative ways to measure actual help-seeker types and their outcomes across different modalities (phone, chat, text) by undertaking a Delphi expert consensus process and designing automated artificial intelligence algorithms; and 3) determining whether fidelity to the current practice model achieves appropriate outcomes for all help-seeker types and across all modalities by using the measurement innovations to undertake a comparative outcome analysis. The research will yield insights critical to Lifeline’s future capacity and effectiveness for Australians, and advance knowledge for crisis support services worldwide.
Effective start/end date1/05/1930/04/24


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