Volunteer

Whether one hour or twenty, the commitment to service that volunteers make are important to Didi Hirsch's clients and staff. Volunteers are always welcome at Didi Hirsch; they help us achieve our mission to provide quality mental health and substance abuse services to people in need.  

Some programs depend heavily on volunteers - such as the 24-hour suicide crisis line, which is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Other programs may need volunteers seasonally or on a case-by-case basis. For example, volunteers can do administrative work, teach classes, facilitate activities, or provide childcare.

Please understand that in order to keep our sites healthy and safe, a volunteer screening process is necessary. If you are interested in general volunteering, please contact Lorenza Loza at (310) 751-5353 or volunteer@didihirsch.org. You may also download volunteer application here.

Volunteer for the 24-hour Suicide Prevention Crisis Line and Online Crisis Chat

Our Suicide Prevention Center needs your help to staff its 24-hour Crisis Line and its Online Crisis Chat. Volunteers receive a 6-week training course to prepare them to take crisis calls and/or chats. Training classes are held on Saturdays in Culver City in January - February, May-June, and September-October. A weekday option (Tuesdays and Thursday evenings) will be offered in March-April and July-August.

At this time we are now accepting applications for the Marh-April and May-June 2017 classes. If you are interested in either training cycle then contact Training Coordinator Kristin McMullin at KMcMullin@didihirsch.org.

Each Crisis Line Training includes a weekend workshop called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). ASIST is an evidence-based training model, developed by Living Works, and is complementary to our own suicide prevention training. The training runs for 6 weeks. Trainees are cross-trained, learning skills for both the Crisis Line calls and online chats. At the conclusion of training, successful candidates will be offered a weekly 4-hour shift of their choice, where they will be closely monitored for an apprenticeship period of 3 months.

Candidates are selected after an interview process. The roster will be chosen based upon the matching of a volunteer's availabiity and the current staffing needs of the Crisis Line. Each shift is four hours in duration and the volunteer commitment therefore, after training, is four hours per week on the same weekly sift. At all times, a Shift Supervisor is present in the crisis call center for guidance. Help is always available - at no time are counselors left alone with a call or chat. Please note that volunteers do not take calls or chats from anywhere outside of the Crisis Line room.

To maintain skill level after training, all staff and volunteers are asked to attend a total of four continuing education lectures per year. Held at our main office, these seminars explore suicide and related topics and are provided by professionals in their respective areas of expertise.

Qualifications

We are currently looking for people able to volunteer on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays (between 8:30am and 4:30pm), as well as the rest of the week. Prior experience is not a requirement; we only ask that you bring an open mind, a positive and non-judgmental attitude, and a willingness to learn.  Bi-lingual Spanish/English, Vietnamese/English or Korean/English, fully fluent in speaking, reading, and writing both languages, are especially welcome.

BBS Hours

Currently, the Suicide Prevention Center does not offer supervision for intern hours, however we are able to accommodate volunteers if they hire an outside supervisor. In order to be eligible, the expectation would be that these volunteers give at least 8 hours of service on the Crisis Lines per week. 

How To Apply

You may download volunteer application here and send the completed form to KMcMullin@didihirsch.org for consideration.Candidates go through an initial phone interview, followed by an in-person interview.