It is our policy to certify as Helpline workers, those who qualify under a number of criteria. As we are dealing with sensitive, personal issues accompanied by a variety of emotions and problems, we must be extremely careful in providing callers with the highest possible nurturing standards.
For this reason, our Helpline workers are screened carefully. It has been our experience that not all who apply are suited to this complex type of work.

Here are the criteria we use to certify an individual as determined by the training team:

  • Agree to sign the document of confidentiality
  • A demonstrated sensitivity and empathy to callers
  • Completion of the training program
  • The ability to understand and properly apply the material in the training manual
  • Participation throughout the training program
  • An ability to cope with personal/emotional problems which could interfere with an effective active listening style
  • Effective/appropriate active listening style (e.g. empathy; open questions; letting callers resolve their own problems; being nonjudgmental, etc.)
  • Has not been a caller to D.C.D. anytime within the past year
  • Does not have a record of offenses which Distress Centre Durham deems to relate to or have a potential effect on the wide variety and sensitive nature of issues which concern D.C.D. callers
  • Able to balance the weakness of the individual and his/her need for external support in working through a situation. Encourages the person needing help to be a partner in working towards resolving the situation, rather than to fixing, rescuing, or giving advice
  • Able to remain calm, show clear thinking, respond appropriately (e.g. empathy vs. assertiveness) and maintain a sense of balance while under great pressure, particularly during crisis situations
  • Does not let personal attitudes regarding meaning, purpose, and existence (of life), death and dying, assisted suicides, abuse, alternative lifestyles, or other moral/ethical controversial issues interfere with the ability to help the caller
  • Demonstrates the ability to accurately asses “risk” and apply proper de-escalation and/or intervention techniques