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

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate from home

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Fundraiser launched for West Kelowna family who lost their home to fire

The family’s Sunview Drive home was destroyed after an accidental fire on Aug. 6

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. health minister applauds Kelowna Mayor, council for COVID-19 outbreak response

‘I think they are a model of how we respond’ - said Health Minister Adrian Dix

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Vernon social justice group rallies to raise awareness for human trafficking victims

Indigenous women make up 4 per cent of Canadian population, 50 per cent of trafficking victims

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Most Read