Every now and again we all need someone to talk to and no one knows that better than the volunteer team that staffs the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Interior crisis line in Williams Lake.
Organized by assistant crisis line supervisor Tina Campbell, of the CMHA’s crisis and counselling program, the lakecity team operates the interior crisis line, answering three separate phone numbers including 1-800-SUICIDE, 310Mental Health and the Interior Crisis Line’s direct number at 1-888-353-2273. They deal with all manners of calls, Campbell said, from suicide de-escalation, helping someone cope with a child, mental health checks in and more.
Currently, their crisis line team is made up around a dozen people who answer the phone for about four hours each day, next to Sunday, in the evening. They do their best to minimize the time each volunteer spends on the line so they still have time for a job, family and social life as well.
As such, she said they’re always looking for new people to undergo the training and join the group of “beautiful souls” that donate their time to being a “light on a dark day” for some of the crisis line’s callers. Anyone above the age of 19 with the time to donate a few hours each week who are able to pass a criminal background check are welcome to join the team.
“I always feel, the more the merrier lots of hands make light work,” Campbell said. “Hearing the cries of the world is not easy, so we don’t want to burn out our people.”
She hopes that at least six to eight people will sign up for crisis line training this spring which begins on March 31 and goes every Tuesday and Thursday for the next six weeks from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Those interested in signing up can do so by coming into the CMHA office, across the street from the old Safeway building at 51 4 Ave S or by calling 250-398-8220 ext 2032 for Campbell.
To anyone on the fence about volunteering, Campbell said she likes the work they on the crisis line as similar to the random acts of kindness people do each day helping those in need, like carrying someone’s groceries or asking how they’re doing.
“We give people tools to help one another in a healthy way,” Campbell said. “The tools you learn in our training will benefit you not only on the line but in life. It’s truly life-changing.”