In 1997 several helplines came together in a forum to discuss issues relating to telephone counselling. Issues covered were:
- Training and development of staff and volunteers
- Technological advances and its impact on helpline services
- Procedures for effective helpline management
Following this forum, helpline representatives met regularly, sharing knowledge and resources to assist in the development of helplines, telephone counselling and telehealth services throughout Australia.
Since 1997 the helpline sector has grown immensely, as have expectations around the professionalism and accountability of the organisations that provide these services. Helplines Australia was formed to support services to address the changes and growing needs within the sector.