All helpline operators who will be answering crisis calls are required to go through an intensive 40-hour training. This training is designed to equip the future helpline operators with the necessary skills to manage and de-escalate crisis calls. The first few hours of the training are dedicated to the discussion of suicide in general, local suicide statistics, and to familiarize the helpline operators with how a typical helpline center operates. The facilitator then goes through the call process i.e. the steps that the operators need to follow in order to build a good rapport with the caller, assess the caller’s suicide risk, to build hope etc. After having gone through the theoretical aspect of the call process, the remainder of the session is dedicated to putting the operators’ knowledge into practical use by practicing receiving mock calls from the facilitator.
The first training was facilitated by Dr. Brian Mishara, an expert in suicide prevention helplines. With this session, Embrace was able to train 8 eligible helpline operators and 4 trainers (those who will give future trainings).