California Youth Crisis Line Staff Member Spotlight – Veronica

Published on June 18, 2020

Every month we interview and highlight a different member of our crisis line team. Today we want to highlight Veronica who has been with the California Youth Crisis Line since 2010 first as a volunteer and in December 2016 she was hired on as our Lead counselor! The following is an interview conducted between our very own, Jason and Veronica.

Jason: So when did you get involved with the crisis line? How long ago I got involved with the crisis line?

Veronica: Am I including training or my start date at the line?

J: Yeah, let’s include training.

V: Okay, I started my training in December of 2010, because I started at the line and like February 2011. I was in that winter training.

J: Nice. So what attracted you to helping youth in crisis?

V: So originally I needed community service hours because I went to a charter school that needed like internship and community service hours. And I naturally was pretty good at being a good listener and people would come and tell me their problems in high school. I was everyone’s personal therapist. People would say: ‘oh you’re good at that’ but I didn’t want to go into therapy (way too much schooling). Anyways, while I was looking online for volunteer opportunities I came across the crisis line. At the time the volunteer application was very long so I never completed it, but a week later out of the blue the old Crisis Line outreach person came to my high school requesting volunteers! So it felt like fate brought me here! I filled out and submitted my application and the rest was history.

J: Very cool, So what’s been your proudest moment so far at the crisis line?

V: My proudest moment Is when I first got to go to the taking action conference in 2012. I went to volunteer and help out with registration and stuff like that but to be in a room with people who were dedicated to this work and to be around youth who felt empowered was probably like one of the best feelings because it was like these people that I’m in the same age group have these big voices and are able to Advocate not just for themselves, but other people who are in this population.

J: Do you have a story or anecdote about being a volunteer here, That’s really moved to you or is like the most memorable?

V: Yeah, I would say one of the most memorable calls probably was when I was volunteering and I think I was 17 at that time and I got a caller who was like 13, and he was calling because he had schizophrenia, he wasn’t diagnosed because he said that the doctors didn’t want to diagnose him, but he described his mental health symptoms to me, but what makes me recall that moment was the resilience that he had was really moving for me and because he just wanted to be better like he didn’t want this to define who he was as a person. He was just this wise 13 year old and I couldn’t imagine being in a situation where my mind was not cooperating with me. He eventually was like, okay, I think I know what’s best for me and that’s to go to the hospital right now because I don’t think I’ll make it till Tuesday because he was also having real suicide ideations at the time. It was interesting that at that age someone could be so resilient and know what was best for them and I provided that space by just being a support system for them and help them navigate their crisis. Yeah, it was just cool to experience that.

J: That’s really powerful, because I’m imagining, when we say “youth in crisis” everyone’s always thinking the very worst. But to interact with those youth who ARE in the very worst and can understand their own situations, it’s amazing to me. And how you and the other crisis counselors have to navigate them through these crises. You all are doing great work.

V: Thank you!

J: So you’ve been here since you were 16 back in 2010, so why do you still volunteer? Like what like what keeps you motivated come back.

V: Well, I’m not a volunteer anymore, I get paid… So like my paycheck is why I’m here Jason.


V: So that call that I described was really memorable for me, and I still hold it dearly as a reminder that I’m able to provide that kind of support for people. It’s still my goal and my priority when I have callers to provide a space where people feel they can advocate for themselves. And I really value people being heard and being autonomous. I also feel like a big component of why I’m still here is the people that I’ve met in person like all the really amazing volunteers and staff. I always feel really supported at the crisis line, so I didn’t have a reason to leave.

J: So what do you what do you think people should know about the crisis line?

V: Oh, that we’re great and that we’re awesome.


V: I think people should know that no matter what their issue is, no matter what their crisis is, we’re going to provide them a place where they’re not going to be judged. No matter how small or big their crisis might seem there’s always someone here willing to listen and support them through it. Because I think often times people feel like they don’t want to call because their not really in a crisis and some people will say “oh, this isn’t really a crisis” but they’ll go in and I’ll tell them yeah, this is most definitely a crisis because it’s important to you, and if it’s important to you, it’s important to us.

J: Well thank you for talking with me today, Veronica and for all you do for California’s youth in crisis.

V: Thank you for interviewing me! This was fun.

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