California Youth Crisis Line Staff Member Spotlight – Bianca

Published on May 20, 2020

This month, we wanted to highlight our California Youth Crisis Line’s Program Manager, Bianca Christian! She started with us as a volunteer six years ago, and worked her way up to lead counselor, and joining us in 2019 as our Program Manager. The following is an interview conducted by our very own, Jason Alviar with Bianca.

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Jason: So when did you get involved With the crisis line?

Bianca: So the first time I got involved with the crisis line was about six years ago. I started as a volunteer and from there I worked up to being a staff member, as lead counselor, and then left the California youth crisis line for my education and more work experience and then came back full circle as Program Manager.

J: Nice. Do you still take calls?

B: Yes

J: Yeah?  As Program Manager, you still take calls?

B: Yes. I still take calls when coverage is needed. So it’s you know, it’s not as often as I used to but I do still take calls here and there.

J: Are there big differences between when you first started and now, that you’re program manager?

B: Yeah, definitely. Well, you know, now I’m doing more training and just more organizational things. I have to be the heavy when it comes to our staff, looking at time sheets and what not. Just that organizational mundane things that aren’t as exciting as Crisis Intervention and taking calls on the crisis line.

J: Yeah. Well, I meant with the calls like with the calls. I mean like you started what you said six years ago. That was 2013? Like have calls differed since then?

B: You know, not so much. At least from the calls I’ve taken they’re pretty much the same subject matter, maybe more people are struggling with mental health concerns. They call us as a coping mechanism, or they just called to speak to somebody because they’re maybe unhoused and just need someone to listen and provide resources. It’s essentially the same crises that we’ve been getting before but now, we have been getting more mental health calls. So I think that we’ve been fulfilling that as a need and that’s kind of been a bit of a shift.

J: Yeah. It’s like crisis has really expanded since our conception. Hmm. There’s like we used to just think crisis was ‘I don’t have a place to sleep’ or ‘I’m running away from home.’ But now crisis has just become a bigger umbrella term for you know, mental health and for a lot more things, which is awesome. It’s great that we, you know, we take space in that area.

B: Yeah

J: What attracted you to helping Youth and crisis?

B: You know, I think that… It’s been kind of a long journey. I started off at the California Youth Crisis Line because I was essentially in the demographic when I first started, so something about being here and being able to help people who are in my age group who are suffering from different things really appealed to me. I was a psych major at the time, so I already had a bit of a focus on people and helping people and, this is my opportunity to get into counseling a bit, to get into just the helping field. Professionally, that’s really the bug that started everything for me and from Crisis Line I went on to case management, which was more in the adult capacity, and then from there I ended up going back to Youth Services. I genuinely believe at this point in my career, my professional experience and my academic experience, that in order to solve a lot of the issues that we deal with in our society as a whole we need to work to solve the problems of the youth who were in the most risky situations and the most unsafe situations. So, I think that that has been my draw to working in youth services. And working with youth, if we can start with those issues youth face then we might be able to stop some of the adult issues that we have a hard time solving.

J: Yeah, it’s like that nip them in the bud mentality. Like really get there early so that like they don’t keep going and like go down this path of…

B: …and essentially it’s just kind of stopping the trauma before it’s gone on for too long. I mean, there is something to say about not allowing constant levels of trauma to permeate through someone’s life. And if we can believe youth the first time they call in, or the first time that they report things and really take action then. Whether it’s housing, whether it’s abuse, whether it’s suicidal ideation, whether it’s just general anxiety, if we can really respond at that level, then I believe that we can have a healthier society as a whole because those youth then become the adults who are going to be our decision makers in all levels of our society. And I think that we could stand to be healthier Society

J: What a great way to end this interview, Thanks again for talking with me, Bianca.

B: Yeah! this was a lot of fun, I’m glad to be spotlighted.

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