Being there for someone who is trusting you with their vulnerability and experiences is a real privilege. While this role is challenging, it can also be immensely rewarding. Giving your time to be there for others is valuable, and learning these active listening skills can benefit your life both personally and professionally.
We want to be there 24/7 providing support for the English-speaking community so people don’t have to go through whatever they are dealing with alone, and to do that, we need more volunteers. Maybe one of those volunteers could be you!
Do you think you are a good listener? Are you willing to be there for someone, a stranger, and hear what they are going through, without adding your thoughts or opinions? Can you be flexible in your thinking? Can you offer resources or information to support someone, and accept if they don’t want to take those resources from you? Can you remove your personal agenda from the conversation and accept that the person you are talking to is in control? Can you do this for 4 hours at a time without becoming overwhelmed? Can you support people in this way and maintain confidentiality, without discussing it with other people in your life?
If so, then joining TELL as a volunteer Lifeline support worker could be for you.
Becoming a lifeline volunteer takes time and commitment. Training is offered 3 times each year, (Spring, Summer, and Autumn courses). From the first day of training to working solo on the Lifeline typically takes 4-5 months.
In addition to the online course, all trainees are required to complete a practical apprenticeship with the Lifeline. This comprises:
Following successful completion of the course, you would be awarded a certificate* stating that you have completed all the required elements of TELL’s Support Worker training and we believe that you have the necessary skills and qualities to be a Lifeline volunteer with TELL.
*(However, this does not qualify you to work on other services without training or to provide professional counselling services ).
You can find answers to many questions about applications and the training below, but if you have any other questions or you need further information, please feel free to contact the Training Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply to be a TELL Lifeline Support Worker by filling out the application form below. This information will be confidential and seen only by the TELL Lifeline training team. Typically we respond to training applications within a few days. If you do not hear back from us within 2 weeks, please email us at email@example.com.
Please see above.
Lifeline support workers are there to listen to the service users, whoever they might be and whatever they might want to talk about, (within some boundaries). You would be using the skills to listen to someone’s experience, try to understand what this experience means to them, and following the user’s lead concerning their priorities, what they want to do today or what they think they could do, alongside confirming their immediate safety. You would not be giving advice or sharing your opinions, personal experiences or being a friend.
TELL Lifeline is a generalist line, people can contact us about anything and everything, whether that is to be connected to information and resources or to talk about what they are going through, whatever that might be.
There is no exhaustive list of characteristics that make a perfect support worker. However, some things that can be helpful are:
If you are not living in Japan, and have no plans to be in Japan in the near future, then unfortunately we cannot accept your application.
There is a fee for the training of 35,000 yen.
Typically we ask people to pay by the first day of training but if this presents a problem, please let us know and the Training Manager will be happy to discuss your options.
Yes, it is possible to break the payment down into installments. Again, please discuss your payment plan with the Training Manager.
We understand that we are charging a fee to train for volunteer work, and that this may seem strange. We do this because we are a non-profit organization, and we must meet all costs incurred while running the training. The training does not generate any profits; it only meets part of its own associated costs. There are many volunteering opportunities that people can participate in instantly or with minimal training, but a crisis line support worker is not one of these roles. The safety of our service users is paramount and so we are asking volunteers to pay for the course to equip them with the skills they need to take shifts effectively.
We also feel confident that the quality of the training is high and that it can provide participants with important personal learning and skills development. This fee is also quite reasonable compared to prices for similar educational or skills courses that could be taken, either here in Japan or in other countries.
While there are costs involved in running the training three times each year, we do not want the fee to present the sole barrier to anyone being able to participate. If your circumstances do not allow you to make this payment at this time, please discuss this with the Training Manager.
The English speaking population is still relatively small, so we ask that you keep your involvement as a support worker, (even from the point of application), a secret from anyone who absolutely does not need to know. Our goal is not to imply there is shame or stigma in seeking support from a lifeline, rather to remove discomfort or inhibition from those who might want to interact with the service and who may be concerned someone they know will hear about their conversations.
We take our responsibilities to our volunteers seriously. To be present with our service users and listen to potentially very emotionally challenging issues can take a toll on our volunteers. If you become a Lifeline volunteer, you would be required to join an online supervisory meeting each month where you would be able to talk over your recent experiences as a volunteer with experienced support workers. This is an important part of ongoing learning, but also a vital outlet for you and other volunteers to process your emotions and experiences. Volunteering should not be something that negatively affects your wellbeing.
In addition to these meetings, you would also be able to connect with Lifeline staff and your supervisors on an as needed basis. You are not taking on this responsibility alone.