Caller Story – March 21, 2022
Each week we will post a summary of interesting and representative 211 calls. This week, we have connections from New Brunswick and Manitoba.
It is very upsetting to people when they do not know what is happening with an important application. 211 Service Navigators can help people connect with the right agency or department to get updates on their applications and assistance accessing services.
A 211 Service Navigator received a call from a man who was looking to check the status of his application to Old Age Security (OAS). He was very frustrated because not receiving OAS was causing him financial hardship. He had already made several calls and felt that he was no closer to getting an answer. He did not know where to turn for help in this matter.
Before doing an assessment or making referrals, the Service Navigator needed to let the caller talk about the situation as he was understandably upset. The Service Navigator showed empathy for his situation – it is very stressful to not know what is happening with an application, especially if it is affecting the ability to make ends meet.
After the caller had the opportunity to talk about his emotions, the Service Navigator asked if she could find out more about his situation in order to help him. He agreed. She found out where he had already called to make sure that she did not frustrate him further by suggesting something he had tried. She elicited that he had turned 65 in January, and he had not received any funds from OAS in January or February.
The Service Navigator let the caller know about the services of the Outreach Support Centre, which assists people who are facing barriers in accessing the programs of Service Canada. She made sure that the caller had all of the necessary information to access that service. However, since the caller was very upset about the situation, she felt that connecting the caller directly with someone at the centre right away would be beneficial.
The 211 Service Navigator asked the caller for his permission to make a warm transfer to the Service Canada Outreach Support Centre of Atlantic Canada. He agreed and she called the centre and explained the situation to the staff member there before transferring the caller.
There are many types of counselling in the community and when people are not doing well it can be overwhelming for them to examine each type. 211 Service Navigators are there to help people find the services that are the right fit for them.
A man from Winnipeg called 211. He let the Service Navigator know that he had been feeling down, and that a friend had suggested that he give 211 a call. He said that he was looking for a therapist, but did not know how to find one that would fit his needs.
As the Service Navigator listened to the caller’s situation, it became clear that he was looking for fairly informal counselling. He was not in crisis, but did need and desire help as soon as possible. She gently probed as to what he could afford, and he needed services that were free or low cost.
The Service Navigator suggested drop-in counselling. He could have a session very soon and would not need to be on a waiting list. The service was free of charge and he would be able to talk about anything that was concerning him. She checked with him to make sure that what she described sounded good to him. It did.
He wrote down all of the information about drop-in counselling that served his area, and said that he would call there immediately after his call to 211. She thanked him for reaching out to 211 and let him know that he was welcome to call back any time he had questions about community services.