But her calls are more than just a friendly chat. They can be a lifeline – offering support to people who are suffering. Helping them to feel safe, connected, calm and hopeful, as well as ensuring they have access to other support services if needed.
“We look for risks: they might have seven kids in the house but only one box of food, or may need sanitary items, and we escalate. If anyone talks about self-harm they’re immediately escalated up to Lifeline or the police … if they’ve requested a call from us and we’ve rung them a few times and they don’t answer that’s immediately escalated.”
Hundreds of volunteers just like Susan are making thousands of wellbeing calls every day to people in quarantine or self-isolation all over the country. “When you’re forcibly alone it puts a strain on your psychological capacity to get through the day … the people we’re calling are very lonely, so these phone calls show them someone cares.”
Knowing that someone cares is more important now than ever and the phone calls help people to feel better and less isolated, she says. “It’s like a virtual hug. Red Cross is ensuring you are safe and well … it’s about connectedness, being able to be part of a community and knowing you’re not alone.”