Crisis line needs help

  • Aug. 8, 2017 2:00 p.m.

A vital community service is reaching out for help.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is currently recruiting crisis line volunteers.

“Every time I answer a call, I know I am helping someone at a time they really need to have someone just listen and understand,” stated a current volunteer.

“If you are looking for one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities in our community, I encourage you to join the crisis line team.”

In 2016, the crisis line answered more than 5,500 calls, with most callers looking for confidential and emotional support. The crisis line is also there for people who are having thoughts of suicide. However, in 2016, only 5.3 per cent of calls were suicide related.

“People call the crisis line for a wide range of reasons. This could include concern for a friend struggling with thoughts of suicide, issues with finances, family or housing to name a few,” said Alyssa Christmas, crisis line manager.

“A crisis is not the event that happens to us, but rather our reaction to the event. Thus, what constitutes a crisis is very unique to the individual. We insure that each caller receives non-judgmental and empowering emotional support, as well as information and resources when appropriate.”

Recently, the crisis line received an anonymous $50,000 donation to help cover costs.

“In the last six years, the calls to the crisis line have doubled, yet our volunteer numbers are on the decline. This has posed a significant budget challenge with more staff working on the phones to ensure no call goes unanswered,” said Julia Payson, CMHA executive director.

“Due to the astonishing generosity this anonymous donor we can continue to offer this essential service, and there is time for increased volunteer recruitment, as well as adjustments to our funding levels to accommodate the need for both staff and volunteers to answer crisis line calls.”

The next training intake for volunteers is in September. Visit www.peopleinnneed.ca for more information or call 250-545-8074.

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