9. Distress, well being and self compassion among volunteers at the crisisline


Volunteers at the crisis line, well being, self-compassion, Job Demands Resources Model


In Europe, more than 21.000 trained crisis line volunteers are available day and night to provide emotional support to vulnerable people in need of immediate help. These volunteers are an important addition to regular care. Volunteering at the crisis line, however, requires great mental flexibility, because volunteers are confronted with intense suffering and continuously need to switch between a wide range of intrusive and complex topics, such as loneliness, insomnia, suicidal thoughts and abuse experiences. In addition, they have to deal with inappropriate calls, such as abusive or sex calls.  

Consequently, the work may be highly demanding and, like professional caregivers, volunteers may be at risk for secondary trauma and compassion fatigue. In this project we explore the mental well-being of crisis line volunteers in a systematic review, a focus groups study and a large scale survey among 600 volunteers. The Job Demands Resources Model is used, and we are specially interested in the role of self-compassion and gratitude as personal resources. Based upon the findings we intend to develop an intervention to improve volunteer’s self-compassion and coping with the high demands of the work.


NWO- RAAK, Applied University of Rotterdam


2016 - 2022

Contact person(s) in the SMHA lab:

Stans Drossaert, Renate Willems