Application

Expectations- Yours and Ours

Who We Are

Shout is a new charity that supports people in crisis, all by text. Our goal is to move texters from a "hot moment" to a "cool calm," and create a safety plan with them - so they have the tools they need to feel their best. Our texters are on their phones; our Crisis Counsellors volunteer from their computers from home.


We deliver our service in partnership with Crisis Text Line, a non-profit organisation from the USA. They support us in many ways including sharing their technology and training with us. You will see their name and branding throughout your experience. 


The service is up and running and we are already helping people in need, but it is still being tested so it is being run at a smaller scale than it will eventually be. We are currently doing this with charity partners so it appears as a service of the charity, not as a standalone brand. This will not affect your volunteering experience in any way. You will still be doing your training and starting as a Crisis Counsellor with real people in need. 


We do not offer the option to save this form and return to it later. Before you start please make sure that you put aside the time to complete it. Most people complete it in less than hour. 


Who You Are

You are kind. You are a good listener. You're passionate about supporting people in crisis. You're open-minded. You're dedicated. And you're ready to be a friend to anyone in crisis. Sound like you? Great - you will make an excellent Crisis Counsellor.


What Training Involves

  • Support: You’ll be assigned to a Coach who will guide you through the entire process. They are your go-to person for everything, even after training.
  • Committing: Complete 25 hours of training over 6 weeks. Plan to spend 5 hours on coursework per week.
  • Learning: Our lessons can be accessed 24/7.
  • Practicing: You’ll do roleplays and other assignments to develop your skills.
After you pass the assignments and take your first shift, you’re officially a Crisis Counsellor!

What Volunteering Involves
  • Weekly shifts: 2-4 hours a week, working towards 200 hours in total.
  • Supervision: Our Supervisors will be with you for every shift.
  • Community: Get to know other volunteers via in-person meet-ups and virtual community events.
Dealbreakers. We can only accept you if you:

  • Are over 18.
  • Consent to reference checks.
  • Agree to help a texter for any ideological reason (e.g., a texter is coming out as gay, is considering an abortion, etc.).
  • Would be comfortable to address topics frequently discussed with texters (suicide, self-harm, depression, etc.) without compromising your own mental health.
  • Can commit to the 25-hour training over the next six weeks.
  • Can commit to 200 total hours of volunteering.
  • Have a reliable internet connection and a private place to take your shift.

One last thing...

Training is absolutely free, but know that it costs the organisation £400 to train one person! You can help bring that cost down by seeing training through to the end and serving the 200 volunteer hours.
Ready? Fantastic! Hit "Next Page" to start telling us all about you.
Shout

Volunteer Requirements

Before proceeding, please take a moment to read our Privacy Policy.







Technology Requirement
We want to make sure the commitment our volunteers make is clear from the get-go. Training is a big investment—by you and by us. Because we invest so much in you, we want to ensure that you understand what we expect from you. 


Commitment to Training

Acceptance into our training program does expire after two months. You may defer your course start date once.  Should you be unable to complete your course within the given time, you will need to reapply.



Training is a full course that involves studying material, completing assignments, and developing skills—all of which takes time.


Commitment to Volunteering

Training is a big investment—by you and by us. We require volunteers to commit to 200 hours of volunteer work. We recommend that you do 2-4 hours weekly.

  • You will be able to schedule time in two-hour shift blocks.
  • You do not have to do the same shift each week, but we recommend this when possible so you can build this time into your schedule and really get to know your peers on the Platform.
  • Bottom line, we know life happens (and holidays, too). We're flexible and grateful for the time you have to offer.

Helping Our Texters

We greet every texter in a nonjudgmental, welcoming way. A Crisis Counsellor cannot control which texters they talk to, so it’s imperative that they be comfortable and ready to talk about a wide variety of topics.

The following statements and questions will help you reflect more about our texters, and help you double-check that you can bring that unconditional positive regard to any conversation. Your answers help us to know that you’re on board in doing so.


Family Planning Questions

Shout believes in supporting texters in making choices that are best for them. This might mean discussing birth control and abortion and possibly, directing a texter to a local clinic. 





LGBTQ Questions

Shout believes in supporting texters in living their true identities. This might mean discussing LGBTQ related issues with a texter. 




Religious Questions

Shout believes in supporting texters in making choices that are best for them. This might mean conversing with texters who are devoutly religious. 




Crimes Committed by and Against Our Texters

Our texters often include victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or other crimes. We respect the choice of any texter to not report the crime or seek medical attention. The only exceptions are:

  • When someone is at risk of imminent death
  • In cases of safeguarding such as child abuse or neglect.

We also receive messages from texters who have committed a violent act or other crime. They are often struggling with guilt and trying to figure out what they should do. As a crisis line, it is our responsibility to welcome each texter in a nonjudgmental fashion and support them (not direct them) as they determine their next steps.




Safeguarding

Shout Crisis Counsellors are required to make our texters' safety their top priority. If we suspect a minor is being abused or neglected, we explain to them that we are obliged to notify the appropriate authorities.



Languages

Our texters are primarily English-speaking. And everything we do is by text, so a strong understanding of English grammar and tone is crucial.





Confidentiality

We take our texters’ privacy very seriously. Unless intervention is warranted (i.e., a suicide attempt is in progress), we do not share any personally identifying information about our texters with anyone.



Advice-giving

At Shout, we focus on empowering our texters. Rather than share what we think they “should” do, we guide them to focus on what they feel will help. This helps them recognise their own problem-solving abilities so they feel equipped to handle a future crisis.


Helping Yourself
This work is incredibly rewarding but it’s also challenging—we talk about some heavy subjects. Want to know more about what topics texters bring up? Or how frequently certain issues like suicide are discussed? Check out our data from the USA.

The questions below are meant to help you reflect on your own abilities to handle these tough conversations while taking care of yourself. Here’s a self-care assessment we love. Please spend time reflecting and answering these questions honestly and thoroughly (yes, typos matter).

Please write at least 5 sentences.

Aside from helping others, volunteering also usually does something for the volunteer (sense of accomplishment, improving skills, getting school credit).

Counselling
People work with therapists or counsellors for a variety of personal reasons. We know from our own data that many of these people are strong Crisis Counsellors.





A big part of training is growth. Coaches give feedback to help our future Crisis Counsellors hone their skills.
Triggers
Our data shows that people who have been through a crisis can make great Crisis Counsellors. But because we do talk about suicide, self-harm, and many other topics daily, we'd like to know which topics might be especially difficult for you. Knowing this means we can better support you.

WARNING: The work that Crisis Counsellors do, both during training and on the Platform, can trigger strong emotions for people with a history of physical or mental health issues such as abuse or suicidal thoughts. We want to remind you that self-care is extremely important to us at Shout.



You and Empathy

Below are several statements that will help gauge your level of empathy. Please take a moment to consider each one and answer thoughtfully. For each statement, indicate how well they describe you on a scale of 1–5.







This set of "test" questions is included to help us learn more about our Crisis Counsellors, namely, what role does personal mental health experiences play for our volunteers? Your answers to these questions will not be reviewed until after a decision has already been made regarding your application





How Would You Respond?

These are five examples of messages you might see on the platform. This exercise is to give you an idea of what to expect and help you gauge your own emotional preparedness for this work. You won't be evaluated on your responses here, so just try your best. 





Tell Us About Yourself!

















We are always looking to improve our systems to accommodate screen readers.

What is your postal address?
We can only accept volunteers who are based in the European Union or certain countries that have recognised data protection standards. Plus, we like to send you stuff sometimes!






Last Page - A Few Final Details!

References

You’re almost done! In order to volunteer with us we require you to agree to provide two references from current or previous employment. Don't worry, if you don't have two previous employment references, during the process you can provide details of what professional or educational references you are able to supply. We use an external background screening supplier called Credence to process these references on our behalf. You can learn more about Credence and their policies by clicking here. Once you have completed some of your training we will give Credence your contact details and they will email you to take you through the process to obtain your referees. 



And Finally...