Listening to someone else’s life can change yours!

It’s 11:00 pm on a dark and rainy night, a young woman is up alone sobbing, eyes locked on a bottle of pills, not knowing what to do next or who she can turn to. Finally, in desperation, she decides to reach out to someone. She realizes that maybe she’s not yet ready to die and is looking for someone who is strong enough to stand beside her in this time of need.

…the phone rings at Distress Centre Durham’s 24-hour helpline and a small whimpering voice says, “I can’t do this anymore … please help me”

Can you help us ensure a caring, empathetic and well-trained volunteer will answer her call?

How do I become a helpline worker with Distress Centre Durham?

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Distress Centre Durham. We carefully select: empathetic, non-judgmental, responsible individuals 18 and over to answer our helpline. The Centre operates 24 hours a day – seven days a week and offers callers emotional support, crisis de-escalation, community referrals, and emergency intervention when necessary.

We handle approximately 8,000 calls a year. On our contact call-out program, individuals who need ongoing emotional support on a regular basis can be scheduled to receive calls from DCD as a way to promote emotional health and connection to his / her community, thereby preventing many types of crisis. We initiate over 3,600 calls a year to people in our community.

You have already started the process to become a helpline volunteer! Continue exploring the website, fill out and submit an online application package. Once we receive your application, we will provide information on the next steps via email.

Training is provided on the following topics:

  • Active listening
  • Risk assessment
  • Crisis De-escalation
  • Crisis & suicide intervention & prevention techniques
  • Grief and loss
  • Setting and maintaining boundaries

Helpline Worker Screening Criteria

Not every individual who applies to become a Distress Centre Helpline Worker is suited to the unique demands of the position. Click here for more detailed screening criteria.

Helpline Worker Certification Policy

Only those trainees who satisfactorily demonstrate the skills, knowledge and attitudes outlined in the certification policy are eligible to join the Distress Centre Durham team of Helpline Workers. Click here for our detailed certification policy.

Personal and Professional Benefits

Click here for more details on the personal and professional benefits of volunteering.

Time commitment

Our volunteer commitment is four shifts (16 hours) a month for our telephone program or 3 shifts (12 hours a month for our online text and chat program). This includes 4 hours of overnights for the telephone program or 4 hours of overnights for the online program. Volunteers have the opportunity to sign up for their shifts based on their unique schedules.

We look forward to receiving your application form.