For many people, it’s hard to admit they need help. Reaching out for the first time can make someone feel very vulnerable. 211 Navigators are sensitive to the needs of first-time callers and are skilled at making people feel more comfortable accessing services.

In Manitoba, a 211 Navigator took a call from a woman who said she was struggling with her mental health. She was feeling very down and isolated, and didn’t know where to turn. She had never reached out for help before and said she felt embarrassed.

The 211 Navigator spent time empathizing with the caller. He did not rush the caller off the phone, instead making sure she had enough time to talk and explain how she was feeling. He normalized the caller’s feelings and praised her for reaching out and seeking help, as this was a huge step. When the caller was ready, he provided her with some helpline options she could access after their conversation. As a more long-term solution, he provided the caller with referrals to local counselling services.

The caller said she was feeling much better after speaking with the Navigator, and felt ready to call another line and talk about how she was feeling. She stated that she was extremely thankful for 211 and the conversation.