Caller Story – February 21, 2022
Each week we will post a summary of interesting and representative 211 calls. This week, we have connections from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sometimes when callers contact 211, it is not immediately clear what they are seeking. Sometimes, the callers themselves are not sure what kind of service they want. They may not know exactly what 211 is. That is fine. 211 Service Navigators have the training to patiently assess needs and find services that will assist callers.
A man called 211 and he started making conversation with the Service Navigator. It was not apparent to the Service Navigator what service the caller wanted or, indeed, if he wanted a service. Without disrupting the rapport that was developing, the Service Navigator gently steered the conversation to what 211 does, and what kind of service the caller might want. The caller had not known what 211 was all about before.
The caller revealed that he felt down and wanted to talk with someone on the phone about his feelings.. The 211 Service Navigator asked if he felt that he was in danger of harming himself. He was not in danger, but did want to speak to someone soon. The Service Navigator assured him that there were services available that could help.
The Service Navigator asked permission to make a warm transfer to a mental health helpline, as he told the caller that he wanted to make sure that he was getting the service he needed before he disengaged from the call. The caller agreed. He gave the caller the number to the helpline just in case the call disconnected. Then, with the caller’s permission, the Service Navigator called a mental health helpline and described the caller’s situation and pertinent details. When the helpline worker gave permission, the Service Navigator conferenced all three of them together. He thanked the caller for contacting 211 and let him know that 211 is available to him 24 hours a day if he needed more assistance finding services. Then he left the caller and helpline worker on the phone together.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
It can be so disappointing when someone needs to reach a particular agency and it is not open or the client cannot get through. For that reason, many organizations list 211 on their websites or voicemail systems as a resource to help people find alternative options when the organization is not available. 211 Service Navigators can assess situations and help people come up with another plan to meet their needs when their organization of choice is temporarily unavailable.
A youth called 211. They were trying to reach a LGBTQ+ warmline, but unfortunately, the line was busy with other callers. The voicemail on that line referred to 211 for resources and suggestions. The caller had also left messages at a mental health clinic they attended, but really needed to speak to someone at that moment. The caller was feeling mentally exhausted and felt that they had no one to talk to about what they were feeling or going through right now. They said: “I don’t want to talk to my friends and ruin their day. I don’t think that they would understand any of this.”
The 211 Service Navigator showed empathy to the caller – it is so hard to feel the need to share emotions when there is no one available to talk. The Service Navigator spent some time actively listening to the caller and letting them share their emotions.
With the caller’s permission, the Service Navigator tried twice to make a warm transfer to the warm line that the caller wanted to reach, but unfortunately, it was still busy. The Service Navigator asked if the youth would be open to trying other helplines where it would be safe to share their emotions. They agreed and the Service Navigator gave the caller detailed information about other options. The youth said that they felt comfortable contacting the resources on their own. The Service Navigator encouraged the youth to call back anytime they needed more help and that 211 is open 24 hours.