Community Crisis Services is conveniently located in Hyattsville, Maryland and is Metro accessible. We offer a wonderful opportunity for volunteers and students to learn and gain experience as well as help those in need.
Volunteers receive challenging and worthwhile assignments that help them develop personal skills in communication, problems solving and crisis intervention.
Our professional and clinical staff provide support, information and training to the volunteers as well as maintain statistics on the calls the Hotline receives. They also conduct research on area resources so Hotline volunteers have an up to date supply of programs and services in which to refer clients.
Who makes a good counselor?
- One does not need to be stronger, fitter, morally better or untroubled to come to the aid of those in crisis.
- One has to be able to put one’s own problems on hold and listen heart-fully, be nonjudgmental and focus entirely on someone else’s needs.
- People who to volunteer or work at suicide prevention centers tend to prefer anonymity, or don’t want to be singled out.
No one is applauding or eavesdropping. You become your sole judge, and you must decide for yourself if you are worthy.
Approximately 75% of the Hotline community consists of volunteers. There are volunteer phone counselors, board members, committees and even volunteers who participate in community outreach. Volunteers also develop education materials, posters, public service announcements as well as an array of other important functions.
- Make contact with the caller at a feeling level (reflect and identify feelings);
- Explore the current problem (using open ended questions);
- Summarize the problem (agree on a common understanding);
- Problem solving (if possible);
- Explore resources (past coping techniques & agency referrals);
- Plan of action (may include follow-up call).
“We do not listen passively, the way one does during a lecture. We listen actively, and it is physically exhausting.”
- Empathy for others.
- Genuine desire and willingness to help people in need.
- Openness to learning new skills, philosophies, ways of communication.
- A desire to receive and give positive and constructive feedback before, during, and after training and throughout all experiences with Community Crisis Services, Inc.
- A willingness to maintain high levels of skills and performance after training.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality.
- Ability to accept supervision.
- Ability to speak clearly and be easily understood over the telephone.
- At least 18 years old before staffing the hotline.
The training course is approximately 40 hours and volunteers will develop skill sin communication, problem solving and crisis intervention. We incorporate “ASIST” (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) into our curriculum. ASIST is a program of Livingworks Education, an International organization with over 30 years of experience in suicide prevention. You can find out more about them at www.livingworks.net.