January was an exciting month for our team and our partners at the Kristin Brooks Hope Center as we continued working to launch IMAlive. Once launched, IMAlive will be a live online crisis network with 100% of its staff and volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention, making it the first of its kind. With your help and your votes, we were able to raise $100,000 for IMAlive through the Chase Community Giving contest.
We wanted to update you about where we are now with the project.
Currently, we are in the beta testing phase for the online training and certification program developed in partnership between the Kristin Brooks Hope Center and the QPR Institute, both leaders in suicide prevention. The program is completed entirely through the Internet and is tailored to train volunteers to work online in crisis intervention. We have invited 120 volunteers to also complete the training in the next phase.
Over the past few days, our staff and interns have completed over 2/3 of the program, and are currently completing the two outside readings Suicide: The Forever Decision and Counseling Suicidal People: A Therapy of Hope by Dr. Paul Quinnett. We are learning how to provide emotional support for people in crisis and to evaluate suicide risk. To be honest, many of us entered the training excited to learn more but were a bit nervous about our ability to help people in crisis because we are not, nor claim to be, trained mental health professionals. But as we continue to walk through the training, we are becoming more empowered and feel confident in our ability to help people survive perhaps the darkest hour of their lives. The training has also taught us that even after we learn techniques and methods, the most important thing we can offer the people we will respond to is our heart and the message that their story and their life matters.
Dr. Paul Quinnett reminds us of this as he teaches: “Your willingness to listen and to be empathetic sends a message of hope, and the restoration of hope is one of the key elements in reducing immediate suicide risk.”
If you want more information about IMAlive, check out our site and please consider becoming a volunteer responder.
Intern Program Director & IMAlive Project Manager