Community expectations and anticipated outcomes for crisis support services – Lifeline Australia

Jennifer Ma, Philip J. Batterham, Kairi Kõlves, Alan Woodward, Sally Bradford, Britt Klein, Nick Titov, Kelly Mazzer, Megan O'Riordan, Debra Rickwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Crisis lines provide a critical first line of mental wellbeing support for community members in distress. Given the increasing referral to such services, there is a need to understand what the expectations of the community are around the role of such services in our public health responses. A computer assisted telephone interview was undertaken between 28th October and 30th November 2019. The aim was to explore expectations and anticipated outcomes of Lifeline Australia’s crisis support services from a nationally representative community sample (N=1,300). Analysis was undertaken to determine if demographics variables (age, gender, indigenous status, country of birth, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) status, sexual orientation, household composition, region, and State/territory) and past service use affected community expectations. Results showed that a majority of respondents expected Lifeline to listen and provide support, recommend other services, and provide information. Help-seekers were expected to feel heard and listened to, receive safety advice or support to stay safe, and feel more hopeful. Lifeline was expected to prioritise people feeling suicidal, in immediate personal crisis, and experiencing domestic violence. Findings reveal that community members hold expectations for Lifeline Australia to serve as a suicide prevention and general crisis support service, which are congruent with the service’s aims. There was little variation in community expectations of crisis support services based on demographic factors and past service use. The results show that the community has extensive and diverse expectations for this national crisis service to meet both short and longer-term needs for all vulnerable members of the community—entailing a very substantial public health service responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1775-1788
Number of pages14
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2021


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