CCC Jasminder Randhawa answering calls on the 211 lines.

Author: Angela Danko

There is no such thing as an ordinary day at work for a Contact Centre Coordinator (CCC).

“No day is ever the same,” says CCC, Jasminder Randhawa.

Each caller is different – they have unique needs, a meaningful story to share and a voice to be heard. Jasminder plays an essential role in ensuring the caller is listened to and receives the resources they need to be safe and get through the day.

Like many of our staff, Jasminder began as a volunteer on our crisis lines. After moving through various volunteer roles and receiving over 32 hours of training in Contact Centre and 211 Information and Referral Services, Jasminder made the transition to full-time CCC in April 2014.

To succeed in her role Jasminder needs to be able to multitask.  CCCs provide guidance and supervision to the volunteers, while ensuring the day-to-day operations of the Contact Centre function seamlessly. As part of her daily routine, she listens in on calls and provides volunteers with written and verbal feedback. She also reviews all volunteer documentation and follows up on the referrals we give and receive from our community partners.

One of the more stressful aspects of the job is monitoring a high-risk call and deciding when to contact police (911) and emergency medical services to intervene.

“While on shift I listened in on a high risk call,” Jasminder recalls. “The caller had intent to take their own life and a method set out. As the call progressed the caller was not willing to create a safety plan or remove the harm. The caller thanked the volunteer for being the kind voice he spoke to before ending his life.”

Jasminder explained that this call was especially difficult because the caller did not give any identifying information. We could not identify the call and he would not reveal his name in order for a rescue to be sent.

During a de-briefing with a team of mentors and managers and the emotionally distraught volunteer, it was discovered that this person was a frequent caller. Many staff and volunteers were familiar with his story, leading them to believe he did not actually intend to take his life.  Despite being a frequent caller, each call is taken very seriously.

Because crisis does not occur between 9am and 5pm Jasminder says that the 24-hour nature of Distress Centre is what distinguishes it as a valuable service in the community.

“Callers are often overwhelmed or an emotion is triggered when they do not have anything to occupy their minds with, or when he or she is unable to access professional help,” she says. “Distress Centre makes it possible for someone in crisis to get support at all hours of the day.”