Volunteers Of The Month – January 2021 Ciarán and Suzanne

Ciaran from the United Kingdom

Since becoming a certified crisis responder in April of 2020, Ciarán has dedicated over 200 hours of service to crisis intervention and suicide prevention with IMAlive. His work experience in the mental health field naturally extends in a compassionate approach to each chatter, with this foundation of knowledge, interest, and understanding going a long way to not just helping people in crisis to find their way, but in establishing a partnership with them taking the lead to find a practical and hopeful path forward. Supervisors say that since his days in training, Ciarán’s empathy and passion for helping those in crisis, as well as his initiative in consistently reflecting on and bettering his own practice, make him stand out on shift. He arrives to every shift full of smiles (quite literally with tons of smiley emojis), and on shift is a dependable and comforting force for each chatter; he gives his full well of empathy to each chat regardless of the many challenging situations we – and the chatters – may face on a shift. Ciarán’s palpable care for those struggling, his kindness, patience, humor, and a humble desire to do better not only make him a joy to work with, but also make those he works with on the IMAlive team strive to do better themselves through his gentle example of the power of opening your heart to help others day after day. We look forward to fostering his continued growth as a crisis responder, and are excited to join him on this journey. Congratulations, Ciarán, on being our volunteer of the month for January!

Suzanne from Florida

Suzanne joined the IMAlive team in May of 2017 as a Random Acts sponsee; in the years since she has given over 650 hours and counting to helping those in crisis and considering suicide who come to us to chat. Suzanne feels a deep drive and purpose toward helping others, expressing that “I genuinely care and want to help, it has always been a part of me.” She finds in her personal life “people warm to me easily and open up quickly,” and supervisors note this quality translates into her chats as well; there, she quickly establishes a comfortable rapport with chatters, overcoming the separation of distance and format of text on a screen to get to know them, allow them to feel heard in their situation, and ultimately to create a virtual safe space that overcomes boundaries to focus on prioritizing the safety of the person in crisis. Supervisors agree her level head and ability to set aside any personal struggles to focus fully on chats are great strengths and let her bring her A game to even the most challenging shifts time and again. Suzanne understands that no human situation is simple and that we must extend the same amount of empathy to each fellow human being who comes to our chatline as we wish others would extend to us. Any time Suzanne is on shift, you know that she will listen to any chat visitor with an open mind and caring heart and quietly support them while they process the hurts and feelings of the day. Suzanne has mentioned on shift that she believes she has a “sixth sense” about people in crisis, when in reality, she’s using finely tuned skills of active listening to pick up on cues that could easily get missed. There’s nothing supernatural, either, about the reason why she has been chosen as a volunteer of the month honoree this January!

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