Volunteer for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
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 use services to people in need.
If you are interested in volunteering seasonally or on a case-by-case basis by doing administrative work, teaching classes, facilitating activities, participating in fundraising effort or providing childcare, please complete a Volunteer Application and send it to Lorenza Loza (email@example.com) or call (310) 751-5353.
Volunteer for the Suicide Prevention Center
Becoming a volunteer crisis counselor for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center is one of the most intense but rewarding ways you can contribute to the community. Many volunteers crisis counselors are pursuing careers in the mental health field or considering a career change before applying to graduate school. Others are people who are looking for something meaningful to do in their spare time. Some have been touched by suicide. Others just want to help people in distress.
- Must be over the age of 21
- No prior experience in mental health required
- Basic computer competency required
- Fluent in English; Bilingual in other languages helpful but not required
- Attend and complete our 6-week training, DDH, and ASIST workshop
- Able to commit to a weekly 4-hour shift for an entire calendar year
- Ability to travel to our Century City location
Due to the nature of our work, we encourage applicants who have experienced suicide firsthand or through a loved one to seek suppport first before applying.
The training is time intensive because we want to make sure our counselors are ready when they are on the lines. At this time Crisis Counselors are expected to go through our 6-week training. DDH, and ASIST workshop at our Century City location.
Our training runs for 6 consecutive Saturdays; usually starting from 9 AM and ending at 3 PM. Trainees learn to facilitate crisis calls and chats by learning evidence-based approaches to suicide prevention and facilitating role-plays with each other and experienced trainers.
During the 6-week training, Trainees are expected to complete an 8-10 hour online training for Disaster Distress Helpline or DDH. We are one of the few centers in the United States where we take calls related to human-made and natural disasters. This training can be completed on your own time during the 6-week period.
Lastly, each training period 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.
Candidates who pass our 6-week training will be offered a weekly 4-hour shift at our Century City location. The following shifts are available to counselors:
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
10:30 am – 2:30 pm
12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm (chats only)
2:30 pm – 6:30 pm
4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm
8:30 pm – 12:30 am
In their first 3 months, trainees are closely monitored and given substantial support. For this reason, we ask that new volunteers come regularly to their shifts to maximize this ‘apprenticeship’ period. 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 staff and volunteers’ skill level after training, continuing education seminars, called in-services, are held several times a year to explore suicide and related topics, and are provided by professionals in their respective areas of expertise.
Currently, the Suicide Prevention Center does not offer supervision for intern hours.
How To Apply
To apply to be a suicide crisis counselor, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. After you contact us, we will send you our application materials, and we’ll begin scheduling an initial phone interview and in-person interview.