Crisis Responder Training – Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is Crisis Responder training delivered?

We are currently offering training via Trainual which is an online, web-based application. Volunteers can take this training from home, at their own convenience, given that they read through the modules by a certain date. They are required to attend in-person training sessions to review the material and practice skills learned. Trainees complete shifts on the Crisis Line observing operations and being mentored by staff.

Course instructors are available via email, phone, ZOOM, or in-person for you to ask questions, obtain further explanation, get help with quizzes, and debrief. Instructor feedback will be provided once quizzes and reflections have been submitted.

2. Is there a fee for training?

Registrants are required to pay a non-refundable training fee of $100.00 before gaining access to Trainual. We offer the following payment options:

  • e-Transfer via email at etransfer[at]
  • PayPal shopping cart
  • MasterCard or VISA by phone by calling 1-877-753-2495 (250-753-2495 in Greater Nanaimo). Our office is open from Monday to Thursday from 9 to 12 and 1 to 4
  • Cheque made out to Vancouver Island Crisis Society, which can be mailed to PO Box 1118, Nanaimo, BC V9R 6E7
  • Cash, usually provided directly to a Crisis Society Trainer

The fee also includes membership with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society.

3. What if I am not able to complete the material by the deadline?

By being accepted into training, you are committing to a comprehensive crisis intervention skills course. It is essential for the flow of information and skill development that the material is completed in a timely manner. Extensions will be granted upon request, depending on the circumstances and your current course progression. If there are concerns about the ability to complete the material on time, please connect with your trainer.

4. What if I am not able to attend one of the weekly group training sessions?

You need to connect with your trainer ahead of time as other arrangements may be possible.

5. When are we able to take the Crisis Chat and Crisis Text training?

Once you have completed your voice mentoring shifts, an additional Chat and Text training will be available. You will need to have worked 20 hours on the Crisis Line and attended a group training session to be able to take Chat and Text interactions.

6. When are we able to take interactions on the Canada Suicide Prevention Service Line?

Once you have competed the Volunteer Crisis Responder Training and volunteered 40 hours on the Crisis Line, two additional CSPS specific modules will be available. You will need to attend a group training session before taking interactions.

7. Time commitment for training?

  • Online Component: Estimated 8 hours per module. There are 7 modules before a final exam.
  • In-Person Component:
    • Observation Shifts – Minimum of 3. Each Observation Shift is 4 hours in length. Can be scheduled anytime during the online training.
    • Support Shifts –Minimum of 4. Each Support Shift is 4 hours in length. Can be scheduled once online training and observation shifts have been completed.
    • Volunteer commitment – 4 hours per week

8. What is the ongoing shift commitment after the training?

  • Volunteers are expected to complete one four-hour Crisis Line shift per week, one of which should fall within this time slot: 12 midnight to 8 am (overnight).
  • Volunteers can complete shifts with more frequency if they choose.
  • The purpose behind this volunteer agreement is:
    • To be able to ensure the lines always have adequate coverage.
    • To acquire the experience needed to absorb and apply the knowledge and skills learned in training to become an effective crisis responder.
    • To balance the investment VICS puts into training each Crisis Responder.

9. How do I apply to become a volunteer?

Please complete the online application form.

Once we receive your application, the Crisis Line Training Coordinator will contact you to arrange a telephone interview and discuss training options.

10. Is there an interview?

Each applicant will have a telephone or in-person interview. The interview provides the applicant and the Crisis Society with an opportunity to assess mutual compatibility and to gain an understanding of how the applicant’s skills and interests fit with the work of the society.

The primary prerequisites for taking part in the training program are demonstrated listening and empathy skills, personal life stability, and the ability to honour our volunteer commitment.


For more information, please contact the Crisis Line Training Department at


Volunteering on the Vancouver Island Crisis Line
Introduction and Training Dates
Crisis Responder Service
Frequently Asked Questions

Application Form