This year we asked our incoming 2019-2020 Leadership team a volunteer prompt question:
What is your most meaningful community service experience or clinical experience to date?
The most meaningful community service I have experienced has been serving as a Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line.
Prior to matriculating into medical school, I was working as a medical scribe for a pediatrician in a busy office. While scribing, I was deeply impacted by the frequency of anxiety and depression in adolescents.
It was devastating to hear children, as young as 11 years of age, share with the doctor that they were struggling with thoughts of self-harm and hopelessness. Though as a scribe, my role and responsibilities involved observation and documentation of the encounter, I wanted to support people struggling with mental health problems as well.
I wanted to support people struggling with mental health problems as well.
One of the many resources that the pediatrician offered to patients was the Crisis Text Line. After some research, I realized that the Crisis Text Line team provides acute mental health support for individuals who may not have had access to counseling otherwise. I think this innovative volunteer-based service is brilliant, because, by using a medium such as texting, it allows individuals to feel more comfortable and honest in sharing their feelings and experiences. It feels more anonymous, and, in my experience, it makes people more likely to reach out for help. Additionally, it is a free service and is available to anyone who needs help, 24 hours a day.
Upon completion of a two-month training program, I joined the team of certified Crisis Counselors to support individuals in crisis, empowering the individual to de-escalate, or respond calmly to a specific situation, and remain safe. Many of these individuals shared that they felt alone and misunderstood. I quickly learned that it is imperative to always actively listen and thoughtfully reflect on how the person is feeling, allowing them to feel heard and reminding them that they are never alone.
It has been an inspiring and fulfilling experience, and I am excited to continue serving those in need, both through the Crisis Text Line and as a podiatrist.
by Alexandra Brown
Most Meaningful Volunteer Service: Crisis Counselor
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