Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (www.crisissupport.org), a non-profit community mental health agency, is seeking Crisis Line Phone Counselors to fill overnight, evening, and weekend shifts. Full time hours are 30-40 hours/week and part time hours can range from 10 hours/week to 29 hours/week depending on a match in staff availability and program scheduling needs.
This position is best suited for people who enjoy thinking on their feet, collaborating with local behavioral health agencies, and working with people from diverse backgrounds. Join our team of dedicated staff and volunteers to help people in crisis connect to live saving resources in our community.
The Phone Counselor position answers calls on our 24 hour crisis lines, 988, National Suicide Prevention Line, and After-Hours lines to provide crisis intervention, information, and referral services to meet the needs of the community, adhere to the highest possible ethical standards, and comply with program policy and procedures. This assignment is an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and work collaboratively with a team in an innovative and compassionate environment. You must also be open for emergency fill-in shifts.
To reach out and offer support to people of all ages and backgrounds during times of crisis, to work to prevent self-harm of those who are actively suicidal, and to offer hope and caring during times of hopelessness.
We care, from the inside out. With open hearts and minds, we build connections and remain committed to growth to be the best for the people we serve. The following behaviors is how we operationalize our values.
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement
CSS works toward the elimination of the tragic experience of suicide in Alameda County and this cannot be accomplished without the elimination of racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of oppression in our community. We acknowledge that dismantling systems of oppression requires active engagement and constant effort. In order to better serve the diverse communities of Alameda County, address the above inequities, and elevate voices and experiences of those directly impacted by suicidal thinking or behaviors, CSS commits to the following:
- Encourage and support education, self-reflection, and both personal and professional development for all levels of CSS workforce and governance.
- Develop and provide services that incorporate the wisdom of the communities that CSS serves.
- Advocate for and promote policies that serve the mental health needs of diverse communities within Alameda County with the goal of creating a more robust crisis continuum that is not dependent on law enforcement and correctional facilities.
- Openly request, receive, and utilize feedback provided by community members and partner agencies to develop policies and processes.
- Continuously and critically review CSS policies, practices, and performance to demonstrate adherence to the diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments
- Respond to callers on the 24/7 Crisis Lines and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Respond to callers on the After-Hours lines including contacting the on-call crisis worker for requests from hospitals, law enforcement agents, or jail facilities.
- Respond to third party callers on the crisis lines, lifeline, and After-Hours lines.
- Provide client centered coaching and advocacy to callers on how to navigate systems of care for themselves and their loved ones to minimize traumatic experiences and increase successful connection with community resources
- Active engagement with teammates during shift.
- Document crisis line hours via Time Log at the end of each shift.
- Document call notes for each and every call.
- Utilize consultation as needed.
- After consultation with a supervisor, make outreach calls and referrals to CPS, APS, and emergency services in times of mandated reporting and imminent risk.
- Refer callers presenting with medium-high risk for suicide to the follow-up program
- Connect callers in crisis with the appropriate community resource
- Provide training and evaluation to volunteer crisis counselors
- Other duties as assigned
- Establish rapport, build connections with callers, and take responsibility for caller feedback.
- Recognize that caller-centered solutions and connectedness are key to providing crisis line intervention.
- Display confidence and composure in crisis situations.
- Communicate effectively and compassionately with volunteers, staff, and callers.
- Work collaboratively with teammates including sharing feedback and support in the spirit of community building.
- Work independently using creativity and resourcefulness.
- Willingness to continuously improve skills through supervision, research, and individual development.
- Recognize the value that diversity and culture bring to an organization
Knowledge and Skill Requirements (After Initial Training Period)
- Commitment to working within the CSS Code of Ethics and Policies and Procedures
- Ability to apply the structure of a call including transitional phrases
- Ability to utilize OARS skills to build rapport and get the story
- Ability to assess for risk for suicide death in every call
- Ability to coach a third party caller or a caller with suicidal experiences through means safety, short term safety planning
- Ability to utilize the After-Hours script including gathering full name, phone number, and date of birth of every caller seeking services or support
- Comfort using Dialpad.com phone system
- Comfort using Apricot database to document every call
- Knowledge and Ability to refer callers to available non law enforcement referrals for in-person crisis support
- Continued growth in knowledge on relevant subjects including: Grief and loss, Isolation and loneliness, Mental health conditions – including symptoms, coping skills and treatment, Trauma informed care, Boundary setting and providing support to regular callers, Addiction and substance use, Interpersonal violence, Human trafficking, Child and dependent adult abuse and neglect, Disaster management and mass violence, Specific populations including veterans, LGBTQIA, youth, Cultural humiliy, Non-Suicidal Self Injury, Community resources, Self-care, bullying
Level of Authority
- Answer calls as they are presented
- Utilize a wide range of crisis line interventions to meet the needs of crisis line and after-hours callers
- Recommend updates to call profiles
- Recommend breaking confidentiality for mandated reporting (consultation is mandatory) – The agencies you can break confidentiality with include: CPS, APS, Ombudsman
- Recommend breaking confidentiality for imminent risk (consultation is mandatory) – another crisis line or community mental health agency, local law enforcement agency or a caller’s family member
- Recommend program policies, practices, and purchases that increase the effectiveness of the crisis line program
Phone Counselors report to the Crisis Line Coordinator and will utilize consultation as needed. Crisis line phone counselors attend team huddles at the start of every shift. This position receives 30 minutes of individual supervision every two weeks. In addition, The phone counselor will attend crisis line consultation meetings each Thursday from 9:30-11:30am and Staff Meeting on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays 9:30-10:45am.
- Proof of vaccination against Covid-19 required
- Must complete Background Check (DoJ) and LiveScan
Schedule and Location
The position has a minimal scheduling requirement of 10 hours/week. The position is remote work eligible after the initial training period.
Rate of Pay and Benefits
The pay for this position is $22.00/hour for weekday shifts 8am-3:59pm.
Evening and weekend bonuses are $0.75/hour for shifts 4pm-1159pm.
Overnight bonuses are $3.00/hour for shifts 12am-8am. Additional bonuses are applied when the phone counselor complete’s training duties. The position is eligible for the following benefits: Employee will qualify for pro-rated medical benefits, 12 paid holidays per year, sick time, vacation time, floating holiday time, and retirement plan.
To apply, please email your required resume, cover letter and response to QUESTION 1 below to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Phone Counselor” in the subject line. Position open until filled.
QUESTION 1: Please answer the following question with 1-3 paragraphs. CSS is moving to become a more anti-racist organization. What can you do as an individual to continue to support CSS in our anti-racist work? How do you apply cultural humility principles in your work with our callers, clients and our vulnerable communities?
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) and committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status. We value the range of life experiences our staff bring with them and are stronger for having staff and volunteers with lived experience of surviving suicidal crises.