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