Be a “Lifeline” of Hope…
Community Helpline is a 41 year old confidential listening, crisis and referral hotline that began in Palos Verdes by local residents, mental health professionals, and clergy.
When most hotlines have specialized (domestic violence, suicide etc) Community Helpline has remained a general hotline, answering calls for a simple referral, someone lonely without a support system to more serious issues of depression, anxiety and crisis/suicide calls. Community Helpline is the first referral Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Hotline gives to callers after assessing the need for a “warm/talk line”.
Prospective volunteers are required to attend the 6 week 45 hour “Listening and Communications” training. Volunteers learn “empathetic non judgmental reflective listening” and mental health professionals speak on caller issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide. Volunteers learn by role-play the skills necessary to give the callers the best outcome possible; and are trained not to give any personal information or advice by setting good boundaries. These are important skills on the hotline and life changing skills personally.
One of Helplines’ best assets is local Torrance Marriage and Family Therapist, Vicki Scrimger, MFT. Vicki became a listener over 33 years ago and Helpline was the impetus for her to become a therapist. Vicki is one of many speakers who dedicate their time to help train new volunteers. She is clear that the Helpline taught her more “listening skills” than any class in graduate school or therapist training.
Our volunteers are required to commit one year, to keep our staffing stable, and many stay much longer. Monthly we ask our volunteers to take 3 three hour shifts; at least 9 hours monthly. The Helpline is open 7 days from 7a-10pm.
Training is offered 3 times a year, in the spring, summer and fall. Contact Helpline staff for more information at 310-793-1415 or firstname.lastname@example.org