When people are distressed, lonely or in despair and don’t feel like they have anyone in their lives to talk to, where do they turn?
In our community, the answer is the Telecare Distress Centre of Peterborough. Telecare is a free, anonymous and strictly confidential 24-hour call line for people in need of a friendly person who will listen. Founded in 1977, Telecare now averages more than 40 calls per day from people looking for an unbiased friendly ear.
As a regular day unfolds, calls come in for a wide array of reasons: People are grieving, considering suicide, sick, suddenly unemployed, dealing with chronic anxiety and/or depression, questioning their sexuality—the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason, Telecare is a friend they can trust at the other end of the line.
Some people have tragic histories and call frequently while others only call a few times while they deal with an acute emotional crisis. Either way, they’re looking for a confidant on the other end of the line whom they can truly trust.
Telecare members are there to help
While the listener isn’t there to step in and solve the caller’s issue, listeners do give callers renewed courage to live and cope with personal problems and often refer them to community agencies for further assistance.
Who exactly are these listeners? They’re anonymous volunteers from all walks of life in our community. There is no special occupation, gender, or age which guarantees success as a volunteer, but a desire to listen with empathy and without judgement is front and centre when it comes to giving callers a positive experience when they reach out to Telecare.
As it stands right now, if each volunteer who was trained and available took on a four hour shift every two weeks, Telecare would need 84 trained volunteers available each month. Currently operations are at capacity and callers may even find that the line is busy, especially in the evening. With more volunteers, Telecare could open another line to better serve the community.
Initial training involves 50 hours of interactive classes using a discussion format and role-playing techniques to give potential volunteers the experience needed to better listen to callers. Classes are conducted by experienced volunteers and by professionals in the helping field.
Once you are trained, fitting Telecare into your schedule is quite easy. You are asked for a four hour shift every two weeks. Of course, some volunteers will do more. There is a pressing need for overnight volunteers. Eight hour overnight shifts are covered by one person or divided into four-hour blocks.
As a grassroots organization, Telecare costs less than $3 an hour to operate. You can see that dedicated volunteers are their biggest asset.
Think you’d be interested in volunteering or know someone who would be ideal at it? The next volunteer training begins April 25th. If you are not able to volunteer but would like to support this worthwhile cause, donations are always welcome.
Watch this video to learn more about the need for volunteers…
For more on Telecare, including training schedule and other information, go here: