Together We Give Hope

A Frontline Volunteers Journal

Posted by & filed under News.

By —- —- (anonymous for privacy)

Dear reader:

Behind every call to the Crisis Centre of BC is a human—a highly trained crisis responder—who has committed to picking up the receiver when the phone rings or clicking ‘accept’ when a chat request pops up.

I am grateful to one of our volunteer crisis responders who said yes to writing a journal about their experience going through training and taking their first calls. This person had just been accepted into the training program, and I am sure they didn’t know exactly what they had said yes to.

We have chosen to keep this person anonymous, but rest assured they are one of many volunteers committed to supporting folks—people like you and me—when we need it the most. Their story is theirs, but it reflects much of what our volunteers experience.

Our volunteers are human beings with all the emotions that go with that; they bring lived experiences along with their training, and they question themselves and their beliefs. You’ll see all of this, and more, reflected in the journal.

We are humans with human experiences.

Before reading the chapters of this journal, know that we are here for you. If you or someone you know is struggling, especially with thoughts of suicide, reach out: 

  • Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
  • Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
  • Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
  • Online Chat Service for Youth: (Noon to 1am)
  • Online Chat Service for Adults: (Noon to 1am)

I hope you find this journal as interesting and eye-opening as I did.

Director, Development and Communications

Part One

I never fully realized when I was a teenager attending my first ever funeral how impactful it would be on my life. I was there supporting my friend who’s younger brother had died by suicide. As the years went on and I went off to university, I attended more funerals. One time was the girlfriend of a friend, and another time the fiance of a different friend. And it did not stop. Into adulthood I continued to have connections to more and more individuals who died by suicide. Over the years I have never stopped thinking about any of these people who are no longer with us. It hurts, so I have always avoided talking about the subject, until now. My hope is that answering the phone lines and chat service will help support those going through crisis and continue to keep services like this open. Now that you know my motivations for volunteering, here is my journey of becoming a responder at the Crisis Centre of BC.

Providing emotional support to strangers on the phone or in a chat during what could possibly be the worst day of their lives—now who would sign up for that? Me, apparently.

A month after I submit my application I find out I have been shortlisted to attend an information session. Keen, educated, and happy faces are all around. Still, not everyone will be offered an interview. Despite the stiff competition, I end up being invited to phase three of the submission process. I have already applied, been narrowed down, and am now waiting to be filtered for a third time after a one-on-one interview.

The interview is warm but thorough, and I can tell the Centre is full of very caring individuals. Expectations are clearly explained to me and they are strict; capital S strict. If accepted to the program I have to follow the guidelines and attend every training class, no exception. If I fail to do so, I will be asked to step away from my responsibilities. Feels a bit harsh for such a kind hearted, understanding role, I think to myself, but don’t let it show on my face. Although this is a volunteer position, it is obvious that the seriousness and magnitude of the work is not taken lightly by any staff members, and they have the same expectations of their volunteers. They want to make sure they choose the right people for the role. I subconsciously adjust slightly in my seat to sit a little taller and a little straighter, while at the same time trying desperately to appear relaxed. I want my friendly and warm nature to come across all the while communicating that I understand what the position will entail and the importance of it.

After reference and criminal record checks are complete, I receive an acceptance email. In a few weeks time I will be attending my first day of training, joining a team of 26 other trainees.

I feel warm and fuzzy all over with excited anticipation. I made it in!

Part Two

The process of acceptance to be a crisis services responder training took some time, but I feel accomplished in the fact that I am now about to start this new journey with my fellow trainees. However, as I sit amongst my group, those feelings of security melt away like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. I reach to my ears to tuck my hair behind, knowing full well it is already neat. Everyone is educated and ambitious just like me, but I am nervous, so much so that my voice catches as I introduce myself. I silently hope that no one has noticed.

As fellow trainees share their sometimes deeply personal reasons for being here, I defiantely tell myself that I will not be the crier of the group. I know I am a sensitive one. Of course I am, why else would I have been drawn to a volunteer role like this? Almost an hour passes as colleagues share private information about themselves and their motivations for volunteering. I start to relax a bit. They are all kind souls—genuine and caring people. I think I might like it here.

And so the work begins!

Twice a week I am with my new little team and trainers. At first my attitude is “give me the information so I can learn as much as I can as quickly as I can,” but I soon realize this is not going to happen. I am about to be introduced to the method of inquiry based learning.

For the first two days I can feel my frustration bubble up when they don’t deliver the knowledge the way I had expected. With this being a new area of study for me I expect a lot of theory. Although sometimes tedious, direct instruction feels like a security blanket, being told what is right and wrong is comforting because I know exactly what I am supposed to do. I will be dealing with crisis after all and I am terrified of making an error. And yes, there is some direct instruction. For example, we learn that if someone calls on the suicide line we must always ask them if they are thinking about suicide, even if we don’t think there is risk. We also learn communication skills that help with creating connection and we are taught how to frame a call.

However, for the bulk of the training I will have to accept and settle into a different way of learning, a new way of opening up my mind. Instead of being given a straightforward answer to questions or a set way to talk to a caller, our group is taught through in depth discussions on a broad range of topics. One morning, during an emotionally heavy training day, we are asked “are there any groups or demographics that might be at higher or lower risk for suicide?” This of course leads to a long discussion with lots of sharing amongst our group and even more questions. Personal stories sometimes come out, giving us unique perspectives that might not have otherwise been considered. It has become very clear that once on the phone and chat lines there is no script to rely on. We will always be thinking on our feet, thinking critically. Sometimes I have a question that I feel requires a straightforward answer but more often than not the trainers skillfully reframe my inquiry back to me. This is all reflected back in the most gentle, non-judgemental and caring way, which makes answering my question with a question much easier to accept.

Despite this, at times it feels like we are going about our learning the long way around the block. It is also beginning to look like the same people in our group answer the majority of the questions. Doesn’t it always seem to go that way in a classroom environment? Until day three, when I become that person, the one participating in the discussion!

Then finally, the lightbulb goes on. As the course progresses, more and more people start opening up. The group seems to be bonding over shared stories, shared questions, shared experiences, and sometimes even tears. The trainers have a calm, comforting skill about them that creates rich dialogue and discussion through deep and open ended questions. I start thinking like the trainers when I muse to myself, “How might hearing about a wide variety of opinions assist us in our ability to talk to so many different people who call us?” Time flies by and I find myself looking forward to each upcoming class, hearing from my classmates and learning from their unique lives and perspectives. Our team sharing and discussing opinions and ideas is actually helping to grow our minds. I am enjoying learning and learning deeply. I feel good.

Part Three

Now that a lot of deep discussion and skills training have happened over the last few weeks, it is time to get into role playing to help build our skills. One person pretends to be the caller and one the responder. This is awkward and nerve racking beyond belief. It is now my turn to have a try at it.

I am comfortable enough with my team that when I am asked, “How did that go?” to respond with, “I’m really sweaty,” and am not even trying to be funny. Suddenly I am inundated by supportive comments like, “Oh, I always feel the same way,” “You did great!” and “I would feel so happy and comforted if you picked up the phone when I called.” Oh my gosh, what a caring and emotionally safe group we have formed. I do love it here.

After many group discussions and almost a month of training, we are now about to listen in on some actual real life calls. The nervous energy among us all could charge an iPhone. Even though I have been taught and studied our helping model I have never heard it play out. Every call we will take will be completely different. How can this training have possibly prepared us? I have truly wondered over these past weeks whether or not this way of responding to crisis really works. How can a short chat on the phone help someone out of their crisis state? But, it must work or else this non-profit would not exist. Still, I am one of those who will always question things thoroughly before coming to a decision of my own.

And work it does. We hear a caller who is in a distressed state and so overwhelmed with loneliness that they are having ideations of suicide. The responder talks to the caller in a way that is natural and supportive. She makes it seem so effortless, but I know how much training and years of experience are on display. By the end of the conversation the caller is calm, safe and grateful that we will be phoning later that day to check in on them. Even though the responder made it seem easy I can see how the many critical elements of our training were executed throughout the duration of the call.

I am now feeling overwhelmed; there is so much to know.

Our training method becomes fully clear, why the majority of time was spent in questioning and discussion, rather than giving a clear cut answer. We have to be critical thinkers at all times—there is never ever a script for us to use. No two calls will be alike, and we have to be able to think and make decisions in the moment at all times. We need to assess risk in a short period and we must try to keep our callers safe. I can absolutely feel the same sense of worry and dread from my classmates that if we are all this nervous while simply listening to a crisis responder talk to a caller, how will we ever be able to pick up the phone ourselves?

At this point in time we have only been vulnerable within the safety net of each other.

The second live call we listen to causes me to get a lump in my throat. My sudden emotion surprises me. Perhaps it’s something about the kindness in his voice, despite his difficult situation. I pinch myself hard and I blink my eyes to squeegee away the excess water. No one notices. Why do I care if people see me cry? We are all comfortable with each other now. I wish I did not care, but I do. That man is brave enough to be calling the Centre and reaching out for help. He has the ear of a very experienced responder who expertly structures their discussion, which ends with the caller saying he will be ok and will reach out again if he is in need. Am I going to be able to handle crisis work if I am tearful from simply listening to a call? Will I ever become skilled enough to frame calls smoothly? Am I cut out for this? I feel like a fraud; maybe they should not have chosen me.

We have our last classroom send off before we are to be matched with a partner and our call room training monitors for the next eight weeks. Our trainers review the long list of types of calls we might encounter and should expect to get. We have not been able to cover all of these in training. I don’t feel ready! I feel panicked! I am scared of becoming emotional on a call or even being verbally abused. I just don’t know if I am the right match for this. Why did I decide to do this again? Ah yes, to be able to talk about suicide openly, to prevent it, and support those going through crisis. I feel strongly we should all have access to free mental health crisis support 24 hours a day.

Despite days upon days of long classes and so much studying at home over the past month, I feel nervous and unprepared. Yet the time has come for us to start in the training room, which is both terrifying and exciting. I push on. I can do this.

Part Four

I arrive at an unassuming brick building with mirror-like office windows and press the code to unlock the door. I enter the building quietly, head to the training room, and see that my fellow classmate is already situated in front of his station. Seconds later, our monitor walks in with a calm and casual energy about her. She radiates kindness and her friendly gaze instills confidence in us that says she thinks we will be just fine. She must realize that I slept restlessly the night before with nervous anticipation. Does my first day anxiety show? After volunteering for years, will our monitor remember what it felt like to be new? I really hope she is gentle.

I sit down in front of my keyboard, phone, and two enormous computer screens that display all the programs we will be using while on shift. So many new things to learn! As I try to mentally wrap my head around the amount of multitasking that will be required, our monitor informs us that she will never be taking over a call no matter how challenging it is or becomes; she is there for coaching and support. This is communicated to us in the kindest of tones. She will use the internal chat system to message and guide us along if needed. I am lucky—she is gentle, but I can tell that I will be stretched and challenged under her leadership too. We are here to learn, and this is it. We are going solo!

Sitting at my desk in front of the phone that I will soon be answering, my heart races. I fear that I might pick up a call where someone is in immediate harm's way or even have someone who unleashes their verbal rage upon me. I know that people in crisis can react drastically differently and also change throughout the duration of a call. My heart beats faster as I see the small green lights of the phone lines illuminate and I hear their ringing. Even the tone seems to have an urgency to it. “Pick up, pick up!” My heart is in my throat.

To say I am nervous is an understatement.

Although, what happens when I pick up my first call kind of amazes me. I listen to the caller’s emotions as she tearfully talks about her personal situation and throughout I empathize with what she is going through. At the end of the call she tells me that she feels better having just talked things out. When I hang up I realize it went just as a previous trainer had said, “at the end of the day what it really comes down to is two people having a conversation together.” I know that in reality calls can be a bit more complicated than that and that active listening is harder than it seems, but I still feel comfort in the knowledge that she was right. For the rest of my shift both my partner and I take turns answering the phone, then debrief together with our monitor. My day on the lines is mostly devoid of all the fears I had conjured up. The calls are not the worst case scenario that I had ruminated on for several nights prior; it is pleasantly anticlimactic. We answer some calls of those at risk, some looking for resources, and others seeking support for loved ones. The people I spoke with went from frantic, crying, and sometimes in a state of a panic attack to calm, and ended with many of them expressing their appreciation for the work the Crisis Centre does. It happened repeatedly. What struck me as the most interesting is that the callers said thank you. Never would I have expected this to happen in their moment of distress. I was perplexed but grateful. I made it through day one, having gained a tiny seed of confidence. Maybe I can do this after all.

As the monitoring weeks go on, I board the roller coaster ride of learning. I am more of a carousel kind of person, one who finds comfort in the knowledge of knowing exactly what to expect. Comfort feels good, while clinging by the fingernails does not. But, grow I must. I remind myself that avoiding things that scare me will only serve to hinder my education, and one day I will be answering calls all on my own in the phone room upstairs without my monitor beside me. I fully understand why there was so much focus on critical thinking skills during training. Now, how shall I answer my endless questions with questions? Thinking about the discomfort of socratic learning makes me smirk and then laugh, because it does work even if it feels like a struggle. Every single call I have answered has been different, and the skills I developed will guide me in continuing to be a helper who is free of judgement and open minded. Although I have only technically been in training for a couple of months, I feel like I have been in crisis school for a long while. My weekly volunteering has become part of my routine.

Part Five

I take my dog out for a quiet stroll before a night shift and bump into neighbours enjoying the evening sun. I have not told people other than very close friends that I am volunteering at the Crisis Centre, for two reasons: one, because of the unnecessary and uncomfortable praising that happens and two, because of the looks of shock. I also don’t feel like explaining that I personally have been affected by people I have known who have died by suicide. It's almost like the wound never fully closes.

As I walk by they sweetly cajoul me to join. I thank them but decline, explaining that I am headed out to volunteer shortly. They enquire what for and I tell them, which is followed by the predictable involuntary grimaces and, equally as quick, a soft voice that says, “Oh my gosh, I could never do that. That is the last thing I would ever be able to do. Good for you!” as their hand unconsciously reaches up to their supersachrial knot to provide them comfort. I hurry off—I don’t have time for the small talk, nor being put on a pedestal, and I most definitely do not want to arrive late.

Yes, talking about suicide can be uncomfortable. I think back to my training and realize how hard it was to speak about it openly at the start of this journey. However, because I have been talking about suicide regularly for months now, I feel more at ease than before. This is growth! Even though I am still in the monitoring phase of training, my comfort with emotional topics is increasing steadily and for that I am pleased.

On my drive to the Centre, while sitting in bridge traffic, I ponder my neighbours’ all-too-common response, which I have heard more than a few times by now. I hope my forced smile did not register on my face when talking to them. They are good, kind people, but I really don’t feel it is depressing work at the Crisis Centre, and am quite stubborn in this assertion. It is actually quite uplifting work. I truly like people, I like my callers, and I believe we are all worthy of kindness. That is simply what we are doing at the Centre—caring for others, our community members, and showing compassion for each persons’ lived experience.

As my training continues, I feel like I have ‘leveled up’ to a new phase, and my education continues in informal ways that I never expected. Despite not wanting to learn like this and wishing I could be someone who compartmentalizes, I end up processing my volunteer monitoring time in the hours and days after my shift is over. I suppose this is normal being so new to everything? I find that my time away from the Centre is where a lot of my learning continues to happen. During the week, when I am not training, I read more research articles and those posted on the Crisis Centre’s Facebook page, I ask myself questions and reflect back the callers’ stories and how I supported them. I listen to the lyrics in songs intently, relating to the emotions that our callers might be going through. I think more and more about connection and how necessary it is to have human to human conversations. Starting this journey at the Crisis Centre has caused me to analyze life a lot more. Yes, I have heard that learning takes place when the mind wanders, so I suppose I am on the right path.

As the last few weeks of monitoring come to a close I end up taking a call that strikes a deeper cord with me. When I answered the call with the crying woman on the other end I was completely fine, I would say, even comfortable. I was able to listen and help navigate her through her thoughts and next steps. And yes, she even thanked me at the end. Maybe all my training did kick in after all. The problem I realize is that hours later I am now the one who is sobbing; I feel hot tears stream down my face while I make my way home. My window wipers work overtime. It is raining hard. Symbolic? Perhaps. The call hit too close to home. I am almost through all of my monitoring sessions and cannot deny that learning is tough—sometimes it even hurts the heart a little. ‘I can do it,’ I ‘cheerlead’ to myself, and remember that these types of calls that resonate so personally don’t happen every shift.

I finish up with dinner and run myself a bubble bath, a cup of fragrant herbal tea perched on the edge, when I realize I need to stop ignoring the fact that I am still upset about that call; I need to face this. I know that I did a good job helping the caller but I still feel saddened by her situation. It is like I took a part of her pain and decided to keep holding onto it even though I don’t own it. I knew that this would be part of my personal challenge volunteering. I am someone who cares very deeply. But, after my weeks of meeting people at the centre I know I am not alone, it is filled with people just like me. The staff have repeatedly told us responders to call day or night if we are finding it hard processing our emotions after a call. The Centre’s motto has always been clear, to call for support when needed, so I reach for my phone and decide to text my monitor. I feel relief just typing out my thoughts. More hot tears stream down, but it also feels good to just be able to release this sadness. I guess this must be how it feels for callers to unburden themselves of their thoughts, with us on the other end doing our best to support them. I press send. I exhale a deep breath and immerse myself deeper into the warm bubbly water; I will do away with worrying for a bit. This is what I have been taught is called ‘self care.’

I am brought out of my semi-mediation by the buzzing of my phone. I am surprised to get a text back immediately. My monitor is a volunteer like I am, not a paid staff member, and she is there for me. The response is extremely supportive and she reminds me that this is volunteer work, that I am freely giving my time and energy, and that it is always my choice to continue or not. Ironically, because of her response I feel a bit stronger after reaching out, even though I felt the exact opposite just moments before. Simply asking for emotional support was a challenge for me, but I did it! I guess this is truly a full circle moment, as I am now certain this is how many callers must feel. I’ve experienced the cycle of apprehension, sadness, fear, support, and strength. Interestingly enough, I am feeling less overwhelmed now.

My last day of monitoring arrives and I feel truly giddy about making it this far. I am proud of myself. Our monitor tells us we will continue to learn incredible amounts once we go solo and that some find the distress services room to be an even more comfortable space than the training room. The upstairs call room is where one finds their groove, so to speak. She says she is still learning every single day even after years of being there. I am so green, but at this moment I feel excited and somewhat accomplished. It has been a journey and I know I have changed for the better since starting. I wonder how my other classmates are? I feel joyful anticipation that I will be able to work alongside them in the call room soon.

Part Six

I arrive, punch in the security code, and head upstairs. As I step into the distress services room for the first time, I take note of the energy; it is a good place, and I am optimistic. My secret wish is that over the next several months I will feel like part of the team, rather than someone who is on the outside trying to fit in. Right now I still feel desperately like I don’t belong and that I am not skilled enough.This is of course my self imposed belief. Why am I always so hard on myself? I remind myself to be kind and patient with my learning, and that improvement takes time.

The space has a bit of a quirky style to it—somewhat neat and organized, with colourful festive lights still dangling and lit well past Christmas. I hear one volunteer’s voice on the phone barely a whisper, others with decibels rising to match the loud tones on the other end. There are many individual booths separated by partitions as you would expect in any call room setting. Then I see a single island desk—ah yes, that must be where the staff sits. This person, who has years of experience volunteering and working at the Centre, will help us with any and all of our questions, especially the complicated ones. They also do the tough decision making and ensure everything is running smoothly in the call room. And importantly, they are also there to emotionally support all of us volunteers.

Every person in the room, staff member included, is either talking on the phone or typing purposefully on their keyboard, and some are doing both at the same time! This place is busy, and I wonder if it is ever quiet. As I ponder this question, I catch the scent of fried chicken wafting in from the KFC next door and it makes me hungry. It reminds me that sometimes our callers might not be nourishing themselves or even sleeping well. It is important for me to pay attention to their present state. What are their coping mechanisms? How can we keep them safe? In my mind I am constantly going over what my role is at the Centre and how I can help callers get through their hardest days.

I take a seat at one of the booths and start my shift, barely able to believe I am now out of training and sitting amongst other crisis responders. I am completely overwhelmed with the phones ringing constantly, voice mails to be checked, and the follow up calls to be done. In addition to the calls needing to both be answered and made I feel the paperwork piling up. I quickly realize there is zero chance of me leaving on time. As if the universe wants to shove it in my face, my pinky accidentally brushes a wrong button before I have saved my draft and causes the full report to disappear into thin air. I start to perspire, realizing that my paperwork for a follow up the next day that the caller was expecting has somehow vanished into cyberspace. I feel a knot in my stomach knowing how I had laboured on just the right wording for the next volunteer to be able to provide support and then start pecking more furiously at the keyboard. If there was a way I could fast forward my learning I would do it. Even though this is my first day I feel like I am a let down to the call centre team. I am slow.

To rectify things, I decide I need to double down on my learning so I start coming in twice a week. I begin to feel better because my improvement is noticeable. I feel empowered, but then make the foolish decision to go against the Centre’s policy of coming in a maximum of two times a week. I decide to go in three days a week, all within a month of going solo. I don’t tell anyone—I am simply trying to accelerate my learning. I justify it by rationalizing to myself that my two earlier shifts in the week were not overly difficult; one was slow and the second did not have extremely challenging calls, but of course this is all within the context of talking about crisis. I sometimes forget that the role can be emotionally heavy.

Well, the Centre’s rules are made for a reason. I feel the effects of my investment in the days that follow. I realize that I am now emotionally exhausted. Oddly, it is not as much on the day of the shifts that I feel the overload but after; I had forgotten that my body subconsciously processes things later on. I think about my time at the Centre during the quiet moments when I am out walking my dog in nature, or when I rest my head on my pillow at night, appreciative of my good life. I ponder this interesting and sometimes frustrating way my mind analyzes events. Why does the brain need to marinate in things for a while? I digest this fact further, which causes me to have even more empathy for callers who have suffered from abusive events in their past. They end up processing their pain over years and years. The mind may not remember, but the body does. This work is difficult—like nothing I have ever done before.

I take a week and half off to regroup after my three day stint, then return to the Centre. I feel better and emotionally stronger. I only book one shift a week from here on out, and both my body and mind thank me.

The weeks go on and my comfort level as a rookie crisis responder begins to increase. With that I have more opportunity to think about the many other aspects of the role beyond multitasking, framing the calls for safety, learning about resources available, and how to navigate all the computer programs. I find myself analyzing the calls from a philosophical standpoint.

So many callers and chatters and so many different reasons for reaching out for support during crisis along with the wide array of feelings that go with that. I find it interesting that it is often the female callers who profusely thank us and the male callers who apologize for phoning the crisis line. Several have told me how much it hurts to have loved ones say, “Just be a man” when they open up about their emotional pain. I feel sadness for those callers and madness that archaic cultural norms still exist. I carry on down my rabbit hole of thinking: how many of the callers’ friends and family know they have reached out to the crisis line? How many know the callers are trying to do something to help themselves? That they want support, that they need support? Or, are the callers alone on their journey as so many tell me so?

The buzz and chatter of the call room, combined with the heaviness of what our roles are, makes it a special relationship between us volunteers. The feeling of community here is the big highlight for me at the Centre. We bond over the unspoken shared experience and the understanding of the type of work we do at the Crisis Centre. We support each other in our unified goal of helping people in their moments of crisis.

Support also comes in the form of written feedback on my reports every week, which helps me grow and get better in my role. I want to know everything right away, but that is not how learning works. Learning is ongoing and it is also humbling. The “thanks for supporting this caller” and the smiley and heart punctuation actually helps to sandwich the tougher feedback. The little things do make a difference. I feel the staff are on my side, want me to get better, and want me to remain a part of the team.

The role has been challenging, and I know I am not the only one from my training group who has considered giving up. Thinking about this has given me perspective. I recognize the distance I have come since going solo—no longer with the safety net of my monitor beside me—and how hard I have worked to get to this point. Since being upstairs in the distress services room, I feel as though my learning has launched. Despite how hard this type of volunteering is, I will not give up. I will persist, if not because of my innate stubbornness, then because of the small kindnesses along the way that continue to tell me, “you’re doing great!”, “you have come so far”, “I remember what it was like to be new.” I am no longer outright scared to answer calls or even talk about suicide, but I do have anxiety before every shift. This is normal, I have been told several times, even by those with years of experience. I dream of sounding like the skilled people around me, who make it seem so easy. Hearing them gives me hope that I might one day achieve the same level of competence.

I entered this journey with both skepticism and hope, unsure of how crisis support works. I am now in total awe of the strength of those who work as first responders—or any helping profession—to provide care and keep us safe. I thought before volunteering on a crisis line that I had an understanding and appreciation of their work, but my prior viewpoint really only scratched the surface. I absolutely have a new perspective on life. What it comes down to is humans caring for humans. That “I see you, I hear you, I feel for you” can often be enough to get someone through their tough day, and enough to keep them going. Ultimately, I want people to know that they are not alone. I want to be able to help prevent death by suicide. It is through volunteering at the Crisis Centre that I found a group of others who want the exact same thing, and simply put, that feels amazing.