Volunteer Telephone Crisis Counselor Intern and volunteer telephone crisis counselors learn to engag

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Response of Suffolk County, Inc.
disclosed only to volunteers accepted into program
Stony Brook, NY
Application Deadline: Available Year-round
Position: 12 Part-time, Unpaid

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Response of Suffolk County, Inc. is a crisis center based in Suffolk County, New York offering a 24- hour, 7 day a week telephone crisis hotline, a Support Line, and an on-line crisis counseling program. Response is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and it's only Suffolk County center. Response also offers a community education program that focuses on suicide prevention. We are an accredited crisis center through the American Association of Suicidology and a member of the Suffolk Coalition for Mental Health Providers, the Suffolk Community Council, and a founding member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Long Island.

Interns and volunteer crisis counselors are asked to commit to a minimum of one four-hour shift per week for at least six months after their training is complete. Volunteers come to our Stony Brook office for training and shifts. Interns and volunteers participate in one of two crisis counselor training cycles offered per year, in the Spring or in the Fall.

The training process lasts approximately 12 weeks and involves participation in workshops, both interactive and didactic and "hands on" training on the phone lines.


Intern and volunteer telephone crisis counselors learn to engage callers who are in crisis, build trust, handle emergency situations (eg calls regarding suicide, domestic violence, runaways, etc.) and make referrals to community resources.

Volunteer crisis counselors take calls about everything - loneliness, grief, substance abuse, mental illness, family conflict, suicidal thoughts, etc. We respond to over 12,000 calls per year and we provide referrals to community resources. Often we're the first to hear a caller's secrets - there are many struggles that people don't like to discuss with even the best of friends - sexual orientation, STDs, marital difficulties, sexual abuse - and that's when a stranger can make the best listener. We also make telephone "visits" to people who are isolated due to a physical disability or mental illness.


Interns and volunteers must be at least 18 years old and be able to commit to a weekly 4 hour shift for six months. In addition, all those interested must successfully complete our training program, which is approximately 85 hours of skills training and lectures, as well as additional volunteer workshops. Although no special background or experience is required, we are looking for kind and sensitive people with good communication skills, a sincere willingness to learn and grow.

How To Apply

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