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.

If you are interested in volunteering seasonally or on a case-by-case basis by doing administrative work, teaching classes, facilitating activities, or providing childcare then complete a Volunteer Application and send it to Lorenza Loza or call (310) 751-5353.

Volunteer for the Suicide Prevention Center

Our Suicide Prevention Center needs your help to staff its 24-hour Crisis Line and its Online Crisis Chat. 

Qualifications

  • Must be over the age of 18
  • 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 Culver 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.

Training

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 Culver 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.

April-May Training Schedule

Our training begins with a weekend of ASIST on April 14 and 15. Both days run from 8 AM to 5 PM.

ASIST is followed by our 6-week training which is every Saturday starting on April 21 and ending on May 26. The training usually runs from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Apprenticeship

Candidates who pass our 6-week training will be offered a weekly 4-hour shift at our Culver City location. The following shifts are available to counselors:

  • 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
  • 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • 6:30 PM- 10:30 PM (limited slots available)
  • 8:30 PM - 12:30 AM

In their first 3 months trainees are closely monitored and given substantial support. 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.

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

At this time we are not accepted applications for the January-March training class. We will begin facilitating interviews for the April-May training class on February 12, 2018.

  1. Download and complete the volunteer application.
  2. Email the completed form to Program Coordinator Joseph Tajaran.
  3. After reviewing the application, Applicants will be asked to complete a 30-minute phone interview.
  4. Applicants who pass the phone interview will be asked to attend a group interview at one of our Culver City locations.
  5. After the group interview applicants will know within the work week if they have been accepted to our training.