Thank you for joining us again.
My name is Dan this is Bridging The GAP on Gambling.
Welcome to the second, wait…
third episode. We are back here at the
Mobile Crisis Helpline and we are actually talking with…
I’m Jam Thorson
I’m the assistant executive director here.
And it’s my job to manage
day-to-day operations. So I like to look
after things like the scheduling,
make sure payroll is correct, you know,
providing direction to the team leaders.
I sit on a lot of outside committees,
Liaison with community and our
community partners. Pretty much whatever
is needed to make this place run every day,
it’s up to me to make sure that happens.
Yeah, so previously did you have another
role here before you went into the assistant position?
I did I came here as a
practicum student in 1985 and I worked
as a casual crisis worker and then I was
half time and then full time and for a
time I was the team leader and then I
came into this job about yeah four years ago.
Okay, so crisis workers walk us
through exactly kind of what that means .
Well it’s our own definition we provide
emergency services in all kinds of
program areas here. So our staff are not
traditional social workers or
traditional psychiatric nurses.
They’re people have some background and training
in those areas but they have a
particular skill set. We know an awful lot
about many many things.
But not in depth. We are here to bridge
people to the next service so we deal
with all kinds of areas, child welfare
financial assistance, gambling, the farm stress line,
addiction, mental health.
We’re here to listen to make assessments
and then bridge people as I say to that
next point of care the next service that
can help them in the long term.
We’re here for the short term
so if I’m kind of understanding this correctly
you’re you’re kind of the mediators
between someone who needs help but maybe
doesn’t know exactly where to turn to…
Yes, that’s a really good way to describe it.
The other role that we have that’s
really important in the community is we
cover for most of social services in the
city when things close at five o’clock
that’s really when we start to get busy.
The mental health line comes to us the
Ministry of Social Services lines come to us.
We take over all those roles from
about 5:00 in the afternoon till 8:00 in
the morning, weekends and holidays. So,
really for us our day starts at 5:00 in
the afternoon and it’s about 7:30 in the
morning. That’s when we’re the most busy.
Right, the helpline itself is open 24 hours a day…
absolutely, people are
welcome to call anytime day or night –
So we talked with John the other day,
Who is the executive director, right, who was a
little bit more involved on the gambling…
side of things. So, you know, do you
kind of have experienced on on that as
well, or is that a little less where your
expertise was or…
Well I certainly worked
on the gambling helpline when I was a
crisis worker but the format that we
offer is much different than it was when
I was on the frontline.
Now we have the website which is really
fantastic. So we have the option to live chat,
to email, to text, with people. So I’ve
never done those roles, but I must say I
think it’s absolutely wonderful because
I think many gamblers find it very
difficult to reach out for help and so
the options to do it a little more
anonymously is a way to provide them
with the level of comfort till they’re
ready to reveal their their names and
addresses and get more involved in in
more long-term services. So I think we
that’s really been a huge innovation for
Yeah, so like, if I was to
call in for for some of the other services,
on child services or anything like that
is it very much the same kind of process
as if I was calling it as a gambler or that,
or is there kind of two sides to that?
Well I think almost every line we answer the
staff will start with, how can I help you?
And we’ll let the client then set the tone.
What what are you calling about now?
It could be you’re calling to say,
I’m looking at my window and I see three
children under the age of five playing
in the middle of my street I don’t know
where they belong, there’s no adults around,
what should I do?
And at that point, we’ll say okay where are you?
Get your address and then we’ll
go out and see if there you know and if
the sometimes calls like that that’s a
very common call for us. Sometimes the
kids would be long gone by the time we
get there but sometimes the kids will still be there.
So our role then would be to
gather up these kids and try to
figure out where they belong and go talk
to the parent to maybe to find out
what’s happened like why are these kids
out unsupervised and sometimes it’s
somebody fell asleep. I can think of one
case where someone actually had a
medical crisis, and the children were too
young to call nine-one-one has sort of
wandered out so we were able to assist
that person by calling in an ambulance.
Sometimes people are intoxicated. We make
that assessment, and we do that with
almost every call. We try to gather
as much information as we can and figure
out what’s the most appropriate thing to do in the short term.
What do we need to make
everybody safe right now.
So this is very
much a Saskatchewan service?
Essentially that is the service area
that the you guys tend to.
We cover as Mobile crisis
covers the city of Regina
we can provide a mobile response within
the city limits. But we’ll talk to
anyone from anywhere on the phone. We are
limited to the city but otherwise no you
can call from anywhere and we’ll
certainly talk to you, no problem.
Well Jan, thank you very much for joining
us today. This is, like I said, the third episode,
we have one more coming tomorrow.
We’re going to be speaking with…
who is one of the workers on the problem gambling helpline
Okay, so we’re going
to have an interview with Norma tomorrow
and kind of fill in the last little GAP
of the calling in process. And again
thank you very much for joining.