IMAlive is the world's first virtual crisis center with 100% of its volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Our goal is to use the power of Internet to provide crisis intervention, emotional support and resourc... Read more
IMAlive is the world's first virtual crisis center with 100% of its volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Our goal is to use the power of Internet to provide crisis intervention, emotional support and resources to people in crisis online via chat.
On April 7th, 1998 two police officers knocked on the door of Reese's house in Vallejo, CA and told him that his wife Kristin had ended her life. The night before Kristin voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility hoping to get help for her long lasting depression.
Reese and Kristin were a happy couple waiting for the arrival of their new baby, when an ultrasound revealed several fetal abnormalities. After losing her daughter, Kristin plunged into a deep depression. Over the next few months she would try everything, from traditional antidepressants to holistic medicine and yoga. However, incorrectly prescribed medications caused her to lose sleep and become distraught. Hoping to finally find some relief, Kristin entered a psychiatric ward where her sleep deprivation got worse. She ended her life, not being able to bear the psychological and physical impact of her state any longer.
Reese sold their home and used the money to start Kristin Brooks Hope Center, a non-profit organization aimed at educating the public about suicide warning signs and the importance of proper treatment to prevent suicide. After he discovered that there was no national suicide hotline, he started 1-800-SUICIDE and linked over 200 crisis centers nationwide, one by one, into the National Hopeline Network. People in crisis no longer had to look through their phone book to find a local hotline. Once activated, 1-800-SUICIDE rang instantly and never stopped ringing since.
Reese also realized that a lot of people were still scared to call a suicide hotline and chose to talk to someone online instead. He set off to build on online crisis center that would allow volunteers from all over the US and Canada to get trained and support people in crisis online.
IMAlive.org, world's first virtual crisis center, was launched in April 2011, and has welcomed volunteers from all over the country. To provide online support volunteers have to take a 20 hour training course and pass an online exam with a qualified mental health professional. Our volunteers are always supported by experienced supervisors.
IMAlive volunteers are a unique group of dedicated individuals with a common mission - to provide empathic and non-judgemental support when chat visitors need it most. It is a one of a kind crisis center which provides a rewarding volunteer experience from the comfort of your home.
IMAlive has a wonderful training program that helps volunteers understand the right way to empathize and the importance of using non-stigmatized language with the people in crisis. The IMAlive family has very compassionate volunteers and people who genuinely care and make time to help make a difference in the world. Our outreach is global (we get calls from literally every corner of the world) and we have volunteers available to take the calls 24x7. The supervisors are very resourceful and great guides throughout the training process. Each and everyone is very invested and is giving their 110% to helping the community.
by Edna G. from Los Angeles, CA
Through my volunteer experience I've come to meet people that (though cliche) really care. They put in so much work, stay up late, wake up early, volunteer their time to train others, all to help people during a crisis. This experience is not for the weak. Every single person doing this is making a difference and I don't think I can even put in words how amazing, surreal and rewarding this journey has been.
IMAlive has excellent training. You start by watching videos that tell you how to commmunicate with the callers and you can look at the visuals that come with the videos. You can download the same visuals that are used in the videos so you can follow along.
You can pause or rewind the videos any time that you want, so although you're given a time frame when they want you to complete the videos you can go at your own pace.
After you complete the videos you do a bunch of practice chats with supervisors and other volunteers where you alternate playing the role of the caller and the role of the volunteer. It's really effective this way, so you can see how other volunteers do and often you can see mistakes better in other people than you would see them in your own work.
Even when you do real chats, a supervisor is always available to look in on your chats and help with especially tough situations.
The program is really well run and I'd recommend it to anyone.
I got involved with IMAlive because I wanted to be part of an organization that helps people when they feel like no one cares. If you've ever had a close friend suffer from depression or attempt suicide, you know that it can be scary not knowing what to say that will help.
IMAlive provides you with excellent training on risk factors for suicide, how to be an empathetic listener and helping a depressed person get through the days, hours or minutes ahead that seem impossible. This chat-based service is accessible to people who otherwise might not reach out, plus it's convenient for you because all the volunteer work is done from your own home. If you want to give back in a big way, and educate yourself on how to help those in crisis, consider joining us at IMAlive. We need you!
IMAlive offers a unique and progressive service to those who are struggling with feelings of suicide/self-harm. The training is quite extenstive, but that is simply to prepare you for a significant, meaningful volunteer opportunity. There are so many out there who need someone to listen and to care. I cannot think of a better way to "pay it forward".