A national counselling phone service for five to 18 year olds is answering just one third of calls because of a shortage of funds.
In the last 12 months, more than 300,000 calls have been made to the What's Up service but it could only handle 100,000 of them.
In addition, the service has had to cut back its operation by two hours a day.
What's Up manager Rhonda Morrison in 2012, the service received 112 duty of care calls, those in which a caller is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or being hurt by another person.
She says if those young people had not been able to get through, they could have died.
Ms Morrison says it costs about $7.50 to deal with a call and the service needs $1.5 million more to be able to have all calls made to it put through to a counsellor.