Becoming a volunteer crisis counselor for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center is one of the most intense but rewarding ways you can contribute to the community. Many volunteers crisis counselors are pursuing careers in the mental health field or considering a career change before applying to graduate school. Others are people who are looking for something meaningful to do in their spare time. Some have been touched by suicide. Others just want to help people in distress.
Our Suicide Prevention Center needs your help to staff its 24-hour Crisis Line and its online Crisis Chat. To become a volunteer Crisis Counselor, email email@example.com.
Must be over the age of 21
No prior experience in mental health required
Basic computer competency required
Fluent in English; Bilingual in other languages helpful but not required
Attend and complete our 6-week training, DDH, and ASIST workshop
Able to commit to a weekly 4-hour shift for an entire calendar year
Ability to travel to our Century City location
Due to the nature of our work, we encourage applicants who have experienced suicide firsthand or through a loved one to seek support first before applying.
The training is time intensive because we want to make sure our counselors are ready when they are on the lines. At this time Crisis Counselors are expected to go through our 6-week training, DDH, and ASIST workshop, which is currently offered remotely (due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
Our trainings meet on Tuesday and Thursday evening (6-9pm). Trainees learn to facilitate crisis calls and chats by learning evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention and facilitating role-plays with each other and experienced trainers.
During the 6-week training, Trainees are expected to complete an 8-10 hour online training for Disaster Distress Helpline or DDH. We are one of the few centers in the United States where we take calls related to human-made and natural disasters. This training can be completed on your own time during the 6-week period.
Lastly, each training period includes a weekend workshop called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). ASIST is an evidence-based training model, developed by Living Works, and is complementary to our own suicide prevention training. During the pandemic, we have not been able to host this part of the training. This does not affect trainees ability to volunteer, but sometime in the future this requirement will be necessary.
Candidates who pass our 6-week training will be offered a weekly 4-hour shift at our Century City location. The following shifts are available to counselors:
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
4:30 pm - 8:30 pm
6:30 pm- 10:30 pm (limited slots available)
8:30 pm - 12:30 am
In their first 3 months trainees are closely monitored and given substantial support. Help is always available (even outside of this period), at no time are counselors left alone with a call or chat.
Currently, the Suicide Prevention Center does not offer supervision for intern hours.
How To Apply
To apply to be a suicide crisis counselor, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.