Crisis Line Responder Volunteering: Experience the Rewards!

Volunteering on the Lines

  • Training will change as our services transition to new technologies. Our next training schedule will be posted in early 2024. 
  • Please return to this page to find out about our future training sessions or subscribe to our email newsletter list.

Please read our Communicable Disease Prevention Recommendations for Volunteer Trainees and Trainers in our training facilities.

The benefits of becoming a Volunteer Crisis Line Responder

Are you looking to:

  • Provide a meaningful contribution to our communities as you apply our motto, Helping People Find Their Way?
  • Enhance your interpersonal and communication skills by learning active listening, supporting others with patience and empathy, and applying crisis and suicide assessment and intervention skills?
  • Develop greater social awareness by increasing your knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by many in our communities, especially those who struggle with mental illness?
  • Apply your crisis support experience in the fields of psychology, social work, policing, nursing, or other helping professions?
  • Acquire new listening and communication skills you can utilize in your personal and professional lives?

If so, consider volunteering with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society and take part in a rewarding, enriching, and challenging experience. Demand for the support services you can offer is growing substantially. You will make a difference in others’ lives. And, by saving a life, you might just change your own.

About Our Crisis Services

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society, accredited by the American Association of Suicidology, is contracted by Provincial Health Services Authority to provide support on the Vancouver Island Crisis Line.

  • Our Crisis Line, which operates 24/7, serves Vancouver Island
  • Our Crisis Line Responders provide short-term emotional support, crisis intervention, and information about community resources
  • The Vancouver Island Crisis Line serves as the public access to Crisis Response Teams (Mental Health & Substance Use) in a number of Vancouver Island communities
  • Support is also offered via Crisis Chat and Crisis Text

Along with the Vancouver Island Crisis Line, Crisis Line Responders provide support on two provincial network lines (1800SUICIDE and 310Mental Health Support), as well as the national Talk Suicide Canada network (via voice and text).

Our volunteers and staff provide support and assistance to people who are experiencing emotional distress around a variety of issues including suicide, mental health concerns, family violence, grief, addiction, as well as loneliness and isolation. We also support friends, family members, neighbours, and professionals looking for assistance in helping someone who is emotionally distraught.

Our comprehensive, research-based training program and our ongoing supervision of volunteers are well-recognized and respected across the Island. Ongoing learning processes foster genuine compassion, combined with critical thinking abilities, to help Crisis Line Responders support people through many forms of crisis.

Required Skills, Knowledge and Characteristics

  • Conveying respect, non-judgement, and empathy to vulnerable people in crisis
  • Willingness to receive and apply constructive feedback
  • Comfortable and competent using technology (computer and telephone)
  • Critical thinking skills and attention to detail
  • Working independently as well as within a team setting
  • Excellent English language skills, both written and spoken
  • Ability to adapt, make decisions quickly, and to multitask as necessary
  • Maintaining emotional self-control under stress
  • Engaging in ongoing training for the tenure of your volunteer work with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society

Standard Technology Requirements for Volunteering Remotely

  • Private space to take interactions while ensuring confidentiality, where only the Crisis Line Responder's device should be connected to the Internet during a shift
  • PC Desktop or Laptop (Windows 10 or 11)
    MAC Desktop or Laptop (macOS 11 Big Sur or greater)
    Chromebook (tablets and smart phones do not meet criteria)
  • Browser recommendations: Apple Safari (version 7+), Google Chrome (version 30+), Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox (version 27+), all of which support TLS 1.2
  • Test your Internet connectivity to determine if your setup meets the minimum speed requirement of 50Mbps for downloads and 10Mbps for uploads.

Standard Requirements

  • High school diploma and a minimum of 19 years of age
  • Resident of Vancouver Island, including the volunteer who provides support in a remote environment
  • A non-refundable training fee of $100.00
  • Capacity to access group learning sessions via the Zoom digital meeting platform
  • Willingness to travel to Nanaimo for in-person training components and to subsequently volunteer (Option A only)
  • Adherence to Communicable Disease Prevention Recommendations for Volunteer Trainees
  • Maintaining confidentiality and abiding by the Crisis Society’s policies and protocols
  • Compliance to a volunteer shift commitment
  • At least one year of recovery, if having experienced any major life event such as death, divorce, addiction, mental illness
  • At least one year since having reached out to a crisis line to obtain support for yourself
  • At least two years of recovery, if having experienced a personal suicidal attempt or the suicide death of a significant individual

Thank you for expressing an interest in volunteering for the Vancouver Island Crisis Society.


Volunteering Info
Introduction and Training Dates
NEW: Training Options
Service, Commitment, Pre-Training, Fee
Frequently Asked Questions

Application Form
A Volunteer Crisis Line Responder's Reflections