Become a volunteer

Get involved in preventing suicide

Volunteers are important to SAM. They provide immediate support to those in distress and believe in the value of developing awareness in preventing deaths by suicide. By becoming a volunteer, you will have an enriching experience in many ways as you will be part of a caring community. In addition to receiving research-based training in crisis intervention, you will become part of a team of 250 people committed to promoting the same values of human solidarity that you share.

Join the team to contribute to the cause and help support suicide prevention initiatives in Quebec.

To become a volunteer

Selection criteria

  • must be 18 years of age or older
  • proficient in speaking and writing in French (bilingualism is an asset)
  • ability to establish good interpersonal relationships: to communicate and understand the needs of others
  • good listening and communication skills: understand the message of another person and relay clear and relevant information, orally or in writing
  • be empathetic: be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, to perceive what they are feeling
  • intervene with sensitivity and respect confidentiality at all times
    interpersonal skills: communicate in a courteous and warm manner.
  • be a well-balanced individual
  • commit to a minimum of 150 hours of volunteer work, 4 hours per week; volunteer hours are between 8:00 am and midnight, 7 days a week
  • ability to travel to our offices in Montreal

Selection process and training

To become a volunteer on the suicide prevention helpline, please fill out the following form: https://sam-benevoles.asosolution.com/

Once your form is received, you will be contacted through benevolat@suicideactionmontreal.qc.ca to set up an initial selection interview. The pandemic has increased our volunteer applications, therefore you may only receive our email up to two months after your application is sent in. Appointment emails are sent out on Friday afternoons, so be sure to check your inbox! (and SPAM)
After the initial selection interview, you may be invited to a two hour information meeting. We will share with you a detailed introduction to our services, our approach and an outline of basic interventions. This will then allow you to better understand the extent of volunteering at SAM and the level of commitment required to the organization and to our callers.

Following the information meeting, you will be asked to complete a series of situational scenarios that will form the basis of a second and final selection interview. If you are successful, you will be enrolled in a training session that consists of two non-consecutive weekends, depending on your availability. We offer up to 16 training sessions per year, with a new training session starting every 3 to 4 weeks.

If you would prefer to volunteer your services other than on the telephone helpline, please contact us at benevolat@suicideactionmontreal.qc.ca so that we may review your request to help our organization.

Our volunteers

Suicide Action Montreal volunteers are recruited, selected and trained by the organization itself. Once candidates are selected, then our experienced volunteers will provide a solid 50-hour training course, which is offered over a period of two non-consecutive weekends. The training is based on the solution-oriented approach and meets with SAM’s mission. This short-term intervention model has been adapted to the four categories representing our clientele:

  1. those who are thinking about suicide;
  2. those who are worried about someone in distress;
  3. those who are grieving a loss by suicide, and
  4. the workers who support these clients.

New volunteers are carefully coached as they begin to receive calls. Helpline trainers supervise and support them during their first five scheduled telephone shifts. Typically, new volunteers take on one shift (two hours) of telephone helpline per week. As their confidence and expertise grow, they have the opportunity to take on additional shifts.

All volunteers, regardless of their years of experience, receive continued support from Suicide Action Montreal’s staff at all times. Our staff will guide volunteers through how to deal with an unexpected situation, answer questions, bring their expertise to bear on a particular experience and/or listen to expressed concerns or emotions. This constant collaboration between SAM employees and volunteers is one of the best guarantees of professional development. Volunteers are regularly invited to further their knowledge by attending ongoing training workshops given by experts in various fields.

On-going supervision, support, follow-up on interventions and the development of volunteers’ skills are a priority for the Suicide Action Montreal team.

Every May, to honour their work, SAM invites all volunteers to a gala during which five awards of excellence (Lise Morin Award and four Samitas) are presented to those who have distinguished themselves through their unwavering commitment to SAM.