Vernon’s crisis line is seeking more volunteers during the winter months. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Vernon crisis line seeks volunteers for busy holiday season

The five crisis lines work together to provide support to over 20,000 callers across the region each year.

It’s that time of year when people begin adding gift ideas to their to-do lists for the upcoming holiday season and the Interior Crisis Line is hoping the community “Sign Up for Volunteering” as a way to give this year.

Calls increase during the holiday season. Last December, the crisis line saw an increase of 25 per cent and over 30 per cent last January. CMHA expect similar numbers this winter season.

“We are deeply grateful for the amazing staff and volunteers who answer calls 24/7 across the network,” said Alyssa Christmas, Manager of the Interior Crisis Line in Vernon. “They are not only saving lives but changing them each time they pick up the phone.”

Related: Vernon crisis line calling for more volunteers

Related: Crisis line needs help

People often take the training, not only helps them support calls on the crisis line but improved the way they communicate in their relationships and how they handle stress in their own lives.

After completing the Crisis Line Worker training, a recent volunteer for the Vernon site of the Interior Crisis Line said, “Everyone should take this training. It’s life-changing.”

The 40 hours of training is offered over several weeks at different times throughout the year. It is based on recognized provincial standards and helps people translate their desire to ‘help’ into empowering confidential, accessible and research-based support. Through the training, volunteer applicants learn new skills and strengthen existing ones to assess, de-escalate, engage intervention when needed and, most importantly, convey acceptance to those who call into the service.

The five crisis line sites in the Interior Health region work together to provide support to over 20,000 callers across the region each year — and the number is growing.

“Since we connected all five of our crisis lines together, our call volume has more than doubled,” said Christmas. “So every one of the Interior Crisis Lines is in need of caring people to train as Crisis Line Workers.”

By adding “Sign-up at my Local Crisis Line” on your to-do list, you can check 20,000 people off your gift list this holiday season. Those interested can reach out to your local crisis line at 250-542-3114 extension 232, to find out more.

“We often say that volunteering with the crisis lines is life-changing not just for the people who call in for support, but for us too,” said Paula Guidi, Vernon’s Crisis Line program coordinator. “No matter what type of calls you answer, from simple requests for resources to someone in need of more, you always leave knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”

Related: Improve a life with Crisis Line training

Related: Vernon CMHA prepares for World Suicide Prevention day

Related: Good Morning Hotline seeks summer volunteers

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