The CSUN Helpline, a crisis hotline that provides referrals, guidance and simply someone to listen during tough times, needs volunteers to answer phone calls.
Started at Cal State Northridge in 1970, the service operates from 6 p.m. to midnight daily, fielding calls on subjects ranging from depression to drug abuse to eating disorders. When a volunteer listener can't help or if additional assistance is needed, the caller is referred to one of many organizations on the hotline's extensive referral list.
Volunteers receive 10 weeks of free training that includes role playing and draws upon the vast experience of those who have previously spoken with callers.
"We rely on the trainers' experience with callers to give volunteers a realistic view of how to help people. Collectively, we have a lot of experience," said Mark Bergquist, a training director with the hotline.
Volunteers are asked to work at least two three-hour shifts per month for a year at an undisclosed location near campus. Although about half of the hotline's 40 volunteers are CSUN psychology majors, community members 18 and older may apply, said Bergquist.
Training is held from 7 to 10 p.m. on nine consecutive Thursdays, beginning Sept. 14, with a final daylong Saturday session Nov. 18.
For more information, contact the CSUN Counseling Center at (818) 677-2366 or CSUN Helpline's Web site at http://www.csun.edu/helpline. To reach the Helpline, call (818) 349-4357.