CONFIDENTIAL CHAT
img text: Staff Spotlight: Adrian

Staff Spotlight: Adrian

Meet Adrian: Canada Suicide Prevention Service Training and Recruitment Coordinator at Distress Centre. Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) is a national network of existing distress, crisis and suicide prevention line services. Distress Centre Calgary is part of that network and volunteers and staff answer calls and texts from people across Canada in need of support.

Adrian started as the CSPS Coordinator in September 2021, but his history with DC goes back to late 2019, when he began volunteering on our crisis lines. When the pandemic hit, Adrian was one of the first volunteers to volunteer remotely, mostly on the CSPS lines. He was quickly recognized for his output, positive attitude and amazing work.

text des: Adrian leaned against a shelf at the Food Bank, surrounded by cans.

Adrian working at the University of Calgary Campus Food Bank. Photo courtesy of Adrian.

“I felt like volunteering was one way I could help with the tragedy of the pandemic that was (and is) affecting all Canadians,” said Adrian.

He finished his first year commitment and became a leadership volunteer. Leadership volunteers coach and mentor volunteers in training.

“Thank you for always picking up shifts and providing a unique perspective to our volunteers in training,” said Fitore, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator at DC.

''I felt like volunteering was one way I could help with the tragedy of the pandemic that was (and is) affecting all Canadians.''

After completing an honours degree in Cellular Molecular and Microbial Biology in May 2021, he took some time to travel while he figured out his next move. That landed him in the Northwest Territories where he spent his time volunteering for the Northern Farming Training Institute and applying for jobs when he could get a decent internet connection.

“I saw that Distress Centre was hiring and was excited to do anything to help the organization and our callers,” said Adrian. He applied for the coordinator position and received an offer. “I accepted it after a short celebratory jig. In my mind, it was easily the best thing I could do for my community as we navigated our way through this crisis.”

image des: Adrian holding a large trophy.

Photo courtesy of Adrian.

In his role, Adrian supports the training and recruitment of volunteers and staff to cover the CSPS lines. The biggest difference between the CSPS lines and our regular crisis lines is that calls and texts to the CSPS lines come from all over Canada.

Adrian said that especially at the beginning of the pandemic, it was interesting to see how similar the experiences were across Canada. “Many of the callers I talked to were dealing with isolation, unemployment, mental health issues, a lack of support and they were struggling to stay hopeful,” Adrian said.

CSPS contacts tend to be longer and are higher risk on average. In 2021, we responded to 11,425 CSPS contacts and we have been part of the CSPS network since 2017. Anyone who volunteers on our crisis lines can sign up to take CSPS shifts. Apply to volunteer.

Self-care

Adrian takes self-care seriously. Very seriously. Just before the New Year, he set up an “accountabilibuddy” with his brother:

“I wrote up a contract where I had to complete the following tasks daily which I felt were essential to my mental and physical health: Wake up by 8am, read 15 pages, practice guitar for 30 minutes, meditate for 10 minutes, exercise for 60 minutes, and stretch for 15 minutes,” Adrian said. “I have seven off days over the six-month contract. I gave my brother $500, and if I don’t complete it, he will donate it to a charity of his choice. After the first two weeks, I really just fell into the habit and look forward to most of these activities. I would definitely recommend setting something like this up.”

Wow, that is dedication to self-care! Thank you Adrian for all that you do for DC.

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