Frequently Asked Questions
What is crisis counseling?
Crisis counseling is not giving advice. Crisis counseling is providing structure, support and information necessary for callers to clarify their situations and develop their own solutions.
What different types of crisis counseling are offered at the Crisis Center?
Telephone counseling tailored to specific age groups (Kids, Teens, Adults, and Seniors). Face-to-face counseling for rape survivors.
What are the requirements that must be met before making an application?
You must have a genuine interest in helping others.
Crisis Line, Senior Line and Rape Response applicants must be a high school graduate at least 18 years old.
Teen Link and Kids Help Line applicants must be at least 16 years of age.
You must not be currently receiving services provided by any Crisis Center program.
Rape Response volunteers must also have access to reliable transportation and carry automobile liability insurance. If the applicant is a sexual assault survivor, they must be emotionally ready to assist other survivors and be no less than a year past their own assault/abuse experience.
What are the typical types of crisis situations encountered with telephone counseling?
For Kids: Friendship, boyfriend or girlfriend, boredom, loneliness, homework, school, and parents.
- For Teens: Friendship, dating, grades, social pressures, and sexual issues.
- For Adults: Dating, separation, divorce, family conflicts, alcohol and drug abuse, physical or mental abuse, sexual abuse, financial problems, and suicide.
- For Seniors: Death, loneliness, reassurance, and financial problems.
How are rape survivors supported by the Crisis Center?
Immediate one-on-one support for rape survivors.
Immediate medical examination and treatment at our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) facility or at a local Birmingham area emergency room. Rape Response volunteers stay with the victim until they are discharged from the medical facility, providing emotional support and practical information.
Ongoing face-to-face counseling services (also available for the survivor's immediate family).
Group counseling services.
Who staffs the Crisis Center?
Full-time counseling professionals and community volunteers, representing a cross section of our community, including the legal, teaching, mental health and engineering professions, as well as retirees, students and homemakers.
How are volunteers selected?
A prospective volunteer must first complete a volunteer application. After the application is received and reviewed, an informal 30 minute interview is then scheduled and completed.
How are volunteers trained?
Extensive training is provided for all volunteers. Crisis, Kids, Teen and Senior telephone counselors receive approximately 30 hours of classroom training. In addition, three 4-hour sit-in sessions are required, where trainees monitor actual calls being received by an experienced volunteer. Rape Response volunteers receive approximately 30 hours of classroom training. A visit to our on-site Sexual Assault Nurse Examination or (SANE) facility is also required.
Do I have a choice of an assignment?
During the initial interview, applicants may select which of the centerís programs they prefer (Kids' and Teen, Adult, Senior, or Rape Response).
If I volunteer, do I have to work for a fixed period of time?
All volunteers are asked to make a 1 year commitment. Telephone counselors are asked to work one 4-hour shift, once every two weeks. Rape Response volunteers are on-call for two 12 hour shifts each month.
What if I have a difficult call or a call that is overwhelming to me?
Volunteers are not left alone in the phone room. A staff supervisor is always on-site and available during a phone shift. The staff supervisor is there to help, if needed, and coach the phone counselor through difficult situations.
What can I get out of volunteering?
For students, or anyone building a resume of work experiences, volunteering looks good on a job application. There is also the benefit of free CEUs and school credit as an incentive. More importantly, however, the work gives volunteers a real sense of gratification; volunteers know that they have truly made a difference to someone who was feeling desperate, hopeless, and isolated. The training and experience also helps volunteers develop invaluable communication skills, which apply to all other aspects of life.
How do I volunteer?
Simply contact a member of the centerís staff either by telephone or by completing the online application.
Make a difference in someoneís life by donating to the Crisis Center. To learn more about donation options click the button below.
Are you looking for a special opportunity to know that you can make a real difference in the lives of individuals? To assist individuals at a time when they may be feeling desperate, frustrated and fearful? If this opportunity appeals to you, click the button below to find out more about becoming a Crisis Center volunteer.