Crisis Line Volunteer

Duties & Responsibilities

  • 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.
  • Handling multiple contacts to ensure individuals are safe and that everyone is heard.
  • Documenting and creating reports on all contacts.

Qualifications & Requirements

  • Excellent command of communication and interpersonal skills including: active listening, empathy, and patience
  • Ability to be level-headed in a crisis
  • Works well with others
  • 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.

Time Requirements

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.

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.

Note: Alternative arrangements for training dates cannot be accommodated. Volunteers-in-training are expected to attend all sessions.

Training Schedule

Training runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-9pm and on Saturdays from 9am-4pm for three weeks.

Training Group Application Due Date Interview Period Training Dates
November 2018 October 9, 2018 October 15-26, 2018 Nov 13 - Dec 1, 2018
January 2019 November 26, 2018 December 3-14, 2018 January 8-26, 2019
February 2019 December 31, 2018 January 7-18, 2019 February 5-23, 2019
March 2019 January 28, 2019 February 4-15, 2019 March 5-23, 2019
April 2019 February 18, 2019 February 25 - March 8, 2019 Mar 26 - Apr 13, 2019
May L.I.V.E 2019 April 1, 2019 April 8-19, 2019 May 6-10, 2019
June 2019 April 29, 2019 May 6-17, 2019 June 4-22, 2019
July 2019 June 3, 2019 June 10-21, 2019 July 9-27, 2019
September 2019 August 5, 2019 August 12-23, 2019 September 10-28, 2019
October 2019 September 2, 2019 Sept 9-20, 2019 October 8-26, 2019
November 2019 October 7, 2019 Oct 14-25, 2019 November 12-30, 2019


  • All training and shifts take place at the agency location: #300 1010 8th Avenue SW. Distress Centre is wheelchair accessible
  • Parking is also provided for volunteers on shift once they have begun their commitment.

Supervision & Support

  • Volunteers are paired with mentors whose responsibilities include providing developmental feedback, debriefing support, etc.
  • Regular feedback is also provided to the volunteer by the Contact Centre Coordinator at least once per shift
  • Distress Centre invests in the volunteers and provides the support, resources, and the opportunities needed to grow and create change in the community

Volunteer Benefits

  • Make tangible differences in others’ lives and feel community connectedness
  • Development of communication and social skills to integrate into your personal/professional life
  • Gain and/or enhance perspectives on self-awareness
  • Obtain training and support in effectively assessing and de-escalating crisis/high stress situations
  • Be a part of a supportive team and create lasting friendships
  • Receive a reference letter upon completion of your first volunteer commitment (48 shifts)

Our Impact Funders: