Providing immediate and confidential crisis support (phone, chat, etc.) using agency procedures and policies, the Robert’s Model of Crisis Intervention, and in consultation with the Contact Centre Coordinators.
Providing information and referrals to Distress Centre programs and community organizations.
Addressing risk factors including, but not limited to, suicide, child safety, self-harm, and domestic violence.
Final decisions regarding these risk factors are not placed on the volunteers as staff will be making these decisions. However, it is the volunteer’s duty to notify a member of the Distress Centre staff when there is a person who is at risk according to Distress Centre policies.
Handling multiple contacts to ensure individuals are safe and that everyone is heard.
Documenting all contacts per Distress Centre procedures.
Volunteers are required to answer calls from a variety of our partnership lines such as Canadian Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS)*, Mobile Response Team, SeniorConnect, and more.
*CSPS is a nationally available, regionally delivered 24/7 suicide intervention sevice. The purpose is to decrease service gaps nationwide to anyone thinking about, or affected by, suicide. Distress Centre Calgary is one of the pilot sites on this Canada-wide initiative.
Qualifications & Requirements
Excellent command of communication and interpersonal skills including: active listening, empathy, and patience
Ability to be level-headed in a crisis
Strong ability to work both independently and within team environments
Demonstrates self-awareness in areas such as: coping, stress-management and emotions
Ability to receive developmental feedback
Non-judgmental, accepting of diverse values and beliefs, and open-minded to callers with a variety of concerns
Excellent computer skills
Willing and able to follow policies and procedures
Must be over 18 years of age (Under 18? Volunteer with ConnecTeen instead!)
Note: Due to the nature of the Crisis Line Volunteer position, we ask applicants who have experienced a personal trauma/life event in the past 12 months to wait one year prior to applying. Also, a criminal record and child welfare check are to be conducted on every new volunteer with their consent at no cost to themselves.
There is an expected commitment of 48 shifts in the first year, minimum of 4 shifts a month, and shifts vary from 3-5 hours in length. Shift choices range from start times at 6:00am and end times 1:00am. Once training is successfully completed, volunteers are expected to work one weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) shift per month for the first three months of the commitment. Volunteers set their own schedules based on availability or can correspond with the Volunteer Scheduling Coordinator. There will be occasions where, due to unforeseen circumstances, the volunteer may need to stay past the formal shift end time. Credit hours will be given in accordance with the time spent. Inability to maintain and be consistent in completing this requirement will result in dismissal.
Orientation & Training
Our volunteers do not need prior knowledge or experience in crisis support. Distress Centre offers comprehensive training to all new volunteers in topics including, but not limited to: crisis intervention, addictions, relationships, and domestic violence. Distress Centre’s initial training is 60 hours, with opportunities for additional developmental monthly training.
Training takes place over a 3-week period with a combination of Zoom classroom sessions and self-paced online modules. Classroom training is followed by supervised shifts where trainees support service users on-site in our contact centre. Attendance is required for all of the training modules and coaching shifts as well before you will be able to be on the lines solo. Social distancing measures are in place and in accordance to the Government of Alberta public health measures.
Note: Alternative arrangements for training dates cannot be accommodated. Volunteers-in-training are expected to attend all sessions.
Shifts take place at the agency location: Suite 500, 999 8th Street SW. Distress Centre is wheelchair accessible
Parking is also provided for volunteers on shift once they have begun their commitment.
What You Can Expect
Receive regular feedback and development
Paired with a Distress Centre Calgary mentor to provide support and guidance
Obtain training and support in effectively assessing a de-escalating crisis and high stress situations
Make tangible differences in others’ lives and feel connected to the community
Develop your communication and social skills and gain perspectives, or self-awareness
Be a part of a supportive team and create lasting friendships
Receive a reference letter upon completion of your first volunteer commitment
What We Can Expect
Volunteers to maintain communication with the agency