CMHA Vernon’s crisis line seeks volunteers

Due to heavy call volumes, demand for volunteers is on the rise

The Canadian Mental Health Association branch in Vernon is seeking more volunteers to answer calls for the crisis line and training begins this Saturday.

Since CMHA incorporated an online chat service in the spring, the Vernon site finds itself recruiting more volunteers more regularly in order to keep up with call volumes.

Crisis line coordinator Emily Hollenbach said any kindhearted adult with a desire to help others, aged 19-99, would be considered an excellent volunteer candidate.

“We have people from all walks of life, not all of us are from the mental health field,” Hollenbach said. “We have tradespeople, homemakers, medical professionals, students and retirees.”

“We are individuals who come together to do what we can to make a difference,” she said.

The skills learned through training and on the job improve the way volunteers communicate in their personal relationships and aids in stress management, CMHA said in a statement.

“People are scared they won’t know what to do. They fear the unknown,” a 20-year veteran volunteer said. “There are policies and procedures in place, resources and backup available.”

“There is always support on the other end of a phone,” they said. “Plus, the training is excellent. You can use the knowledge throughout your whole life.”

Volunteers undergo extensive training, which includes 36-hours in class and 16 practical hours to complete, and are equipped with the skills to listen actively, establish boundaries and given the skills to de-escalate situations. Volunteers walk away from the training well prepared to take any type of call.

“We take the wellbeing of our volunteers very seriously,” Hollenbach said. “They are never put in a position where they feel alone or unsupported.”

The skills learned on the job are transferable to many employment avenues and the Vernon Interior Crisis Line Network (ICLN) provides volunteers in good standing reference letters after 200 hours.

Volunteers for the ICLN said not only does their work enhance the lives of callers, but it enriches their own lives as well.

“Whether it is the humbling effects of hearing a caller’s story and knowing they have made an impact in their community, or because it gives the volunteer a sense of purpose; one thing is for sure, the volunteers at the Vernon site of the ICLN agree that their lives have been enriched by their weekly volunteer shift,” the organization wrote in a release.

January in-class training begins Jan. 18 and 19 from 8:30-5 p.m. Dates are also available on Jan. 25-26 (8:30-5 p.m.) and Jan. 30 (4-8:30 p.m.).

For more information about volunteering for the Interior Crisis Line Netowrk, visit cmhavernon.ca or call 250-542-311 ext. 232.

READ MORE: Vernon builders to save big on development fees

READ MORE: B.C. woman refuses to pay overdue rent based on income raised collecting empty cans


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm’s Natalie Wilkie earns bronze in world cup competition

Shuswap talent posts third-fastest qualification time for event

AIM Roads to focus on clearing compact snow and slush, enable roads to drain

Snow accumulation exceeds 10-year records in Malakwa, Enderby, Squilax

Warm temperatures close Shuswap outdoor skating rinks

Rinks had been open only a few days when weather changed

January brings record snowfall to Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Up to 800 downed trees removed so far from cross-country ski trails

Break in a “poke in the eye” to Shuswap ski club

Larch Hills Nordics looking at security improvements for chalet

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Summerland taxes expected to rise by 4.0%

Increase to add an estimated $77.73 to typical tax bill

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Tourism visits to the Thompson/Okanagan up 18 per cent year-over-year

In 2019, almost 11.4 million people spent at least one night visiting the region

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Kelowna International Airport to help ease people with autism into flying

The tour will take families through the entire pre-flight process

Most Read