The local site for the Interior Crisis Line Network (ICLN) is seeking volunteers to answer crisis line calls.
ICLN in Williams Lake is part of a network of five sites around the interior of the province which answer lines accessed by people experiencing mental health challenges or crises.
During Covid, like many organizations, the crisis line lost 50 per cent of their volunteer base, but were responding to even more calls as people experienced challenges during isolation.
“We’re just a place where people can find a good ear to listen,” explained Evan Pantanetti, assistant crisis line supervisor with Canadian Mental Health Association, noting there are no formal skills required prior to the training and volunteers mostly deal with people who are having a tough day. If more is needed, they connect people to a number of resources.
Volunteers do need to be 19 years or older and do have to consent to a criminal record check.
He said many volunteers find the skills they gain through the training and experience on the crisis line help them in their personal and professional lives and many people interested in going into a range of mental health or helping professions get their start working crisis lines.
The training can be don remotely or in-person, with remote access requiring a computer and a good internet connection.
This training session will start on Sept. 19 and will take place twice a week in the evenings for six weeks.
Volunteers are then only required to commit to four hours a week of on-call crisis line monitoring, which can be done in two two-hour shifts or one four-hour shift.
There is a $100 training fee up front, which is reimbursed upon completion of one year of volunteer hours, something Pantanetti said is simply to help offset losses if people leave prior to volunteering for the year, because training and setting up access to their software is costly in staff hours.
“It’s really rewarding though,” he said.
The Interior Crisis Line Network includes sites in Vernon, Kelowna, Trail and Cranbrook, as well as here in Williams Lake.
Volunteers can be located anywhere in the interior of the province, as long as they have a computer and a good internet connection.
For more information phone 250-302-9232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.