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Peer Support Specialist, Crisis & 988

July 22, 2024

Website unitedwaynefl United Way of Northeast Florida

Uniting For Tomorrow

Position Title:        Peer Support Specialist, Crisis & 988

Department:            Crisis & 988

Reports to:               988 Operations Supervisor

Reviewed:               June 2024                              FLSA Status: Nonexempt

Vision and Mission:

At United Way of Northeast Florida, we envision a community of opportunity where everyone has hope and can reach their full potential. Our mission is to solve our community’s toughest challenges by connecting people, resources and ideas.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is not only valued and demonstrated in our hiring practices, it is a fundamental part of our mission throughout our organization and the communities we serve.

Our Values:

• Teamwork – We work together to accomplish our goals and help each other succeed.
• Innovation – We are fearless, imaginative trail blazers.
• Mission Focused- We are passionate about our community’s wellbeing and creating lasting change.
• Integrity – We are honest, transparent and act ethically to create trust.
• Excellence – We set clear, high expectations for ourselves and our work.

Purpose of Position:

The Recovery Peer Specialist has a vital role in 988, to provide support for people experiencing suicidal crisis, mental health-related distress or substance use disorders, in a manner that is person-centered. In addition to supporting people in the moment of crisis, this position will focus on engaging 988 callers who are contemplating seeking professional help to address suicidal intensity, mental health or substance use conditions. The Peer Specialist will support callers on their mental health recovery journey, providing timely access to mental well-being support and caring contacts.

The Peer Crisis & 988 Specialist performs a variety of technical and professional work associated with handling calls, chats and texts. This position will handle incoming phone contacts on our National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), also known as 988, while collecting and documenting all required data and offering all applicable resources and referrals to callers who may be in emotional distress and suicidal crisis. The Crisis & 988 Specialist is responsible for providing excellent service to those accessing the service by applying the equivalent of reflective listening and motivational interviewing skills in the context of an electronic exchange. Crisis & 988 Specialists have the special training and skills to interact via phone, chat and text to understand callers’ unique circumstances and needs, render immediate emotional support, provide options for ongoing support/treatment and follow up to ensure needs are being met. This position also requires the ability to communicate effectively and tactfully with diverse and multi-cultural individuals, be non-judgmental, and respectful of the confidential nature of the job.

Key Responsibilities and Essential Functions:

• Complete required training.
• Attend staff meetings, in-services, training sessions and conferences when appropriate to job responsibilities.
• Participate in staff training activities to maintain the required annual training hours.
• Keep Microsoft TEAMS open and check frequently. Acknowledge new posts from Crisis & 988 Director or other supervisory staff promptly.
• Keep Outlook email account open and minimized on desktop during work hours; respond to supervisor emails promptly.
• Document and maintain accurate, thorough records of all telephone interventions transacted during the work shift.
• Be fully prepared to begin answering phone lines promptly per assigned work schedule. Adhere to lunch and shift schedule unless change is approved in advance by the Supervisor.
• Keep all activities in line with the core values and contribute to the positive culture of United Way of NE Florida.
• Contribute to the overall effectiveness of the 988 LIFE LINE Program by completing all other tasks as assigned.
• Answer phone calls with an appropriate tone of voice, paying close attention to voice inflection and volume.
• Answer chats, texts and emails using correct spelling grammar, and professional language, paying close attention to the inclusion of feeling reflections.
• Demonstrate proficiency in using multiple types of contact center software, computer hardware and telephone equipment.
• Maintain acceptable level of contact handling and customer service performance as described by 988 training standards.
• Within 988 guidelines, assesses needs of persons contacting 988 and provide para-professional counseling, information & referral services, crisis intervention, suicide de-escalation/intervention, and linkage services via various channels of communication, including: online chat, phone, texting and email.
• Use active listening skills and conversational intent to; develop a strategy that identifies solutions to barriers to access, provide high-quality confidential connections to resources and services, demonstrate objectivity and empathy and be non-judgmental and neutral in handing all contacts.
• Develop and implement crisis related safety plans.
• If imminent risk to the individual or others, the Crisis & 988 Specialist may engage 911 to assist in response.
• Maintain a non-judgmental attitude when interacting with contacts, displaying sensitivity to all cultural backgrounds.
• Referral process consists of assessing the needs of the inquirer, identifying appropriate resources, and providing enough information about resources to help the inquirer make an informed decision.
• In line with 988 policy and procedures, follows-up with designated at-risk callers to determine referral outcomes.

Experience/Position Requirements:

• Lived experience with mental health crisis, hopelessness, or suicidal intensity
• State of Florida Certified Recovery Peer Specialist or eligible to pursue certification
• High school diploma/GED, with a minimum one year experience in the human services, social work, or customer services field required
• Bachelor’s degree in social work, sociology or related field preferred. Crisis, Screening and Suicide prevention work experience highly desirable.
• Ability to pass and maintain a Level 2 background check is required. This is a security background investigation requiring submitting fingerprints to be screened through state law enforcement agencies and the FBI for national criminal history records
• Must pass pre-employment drug screening.
• High level of proficiency in web-based systems, real time communication systems (i.e. chat/text), Microsoft Office, and other client record management systems.
• Able to troubleshoot basic technical issues.
• Adaptable and able to move with change while maintaining a positive attitude.
• Self-directed to take initiative in follow-up and resolution of daily issues.
• Active listening and interviewing skills
• Ability to conduct approved suicide assessment
• Ability to work with people in great need.
• Capacity to perform work calmly and effectively in emotionally intense environment.
• Clear, concise and effective written and verbal communication.
• Relate and interact successfully with persons of various social, cultural, economic,
• and educational backgrounds.
• Deal with people in a manner that shows sensitivity, tact and professionalism.
• Ability to problem solve multifaceted difficulties.
• 988 LIFE LINE is a 24/7 operation open 365 days per year with a variety of shifts available. Work schedule may include evenings, overnights, weekends, and holidays. Schedule may be changed as necessary to meet the needs of 988 LIFE LINEs clients. Must be responsive and able to work shifts as much as 12 hours in length during call surges and declared emergencies.
• 988 LIFE LINE is a hybrid work environment. The possibility of remote work is dependent on performance, reliability, and a private work space which may include access to a private, secure and stable internet connection.

Compensation and Benefits:

• Competitive Pay – Commensurate with education and experience based on current market
• Health Insurance – Generous zero to low-cost Medical, Dental, and Vision for employees and dependents
• 403(b) Matching – Generous matching up to 6% of annual pay
• Holidays – 11 paid holidays, three personal holidays, and four year-end bonus days
• Vacation – Two weeks paid vacation
• Flexible Schedule – Hybrid working environment with the ability to modify as needed
• Vibrant Work Environment – office space in The Jessie in downtown Jacksonville, a nonprofit and community gathering space in a sustainable, state-of-the-art facility with free monthly parking
• Purpose – Help United Way transform NEFL into a community of opportunity and hope for ALL people
• Employee Assistance Program
• A fun, challenging, and inclusive culture

General Physical Requirements for Essential Functions of the Job:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job the employee is regularly required to sit, talk, and/or hear. Continual use of the hands with wrist and finger movement using a keyboard is required. Specific vision abilities required by this job include long hours viewing a computer monitor screen. The employee may occasionally travel using personal vehicle and/or work outside normal office environment.

This description is not designed to contain a comprehensive inventory of all responsibilities and qualifications required of all team members assigned to this position. It is intended only to describe the key elements relative to each section. Also, duties and/or requirements of this position may be modified, added or deleted at any time. This supersedes all descriptions previously written for the same position. Unique equivalent skills and experience may possibly substitute for required position requirements.

Additional Information:

The attributes listed above represent our current thinking for the role. You can be a great candidate even if you don’t fit everything we’ve described. You can also have important skills we haven’t thought of. If that’s you – even if you’re on the fence – we encourage you to apply and tell us about yourself! Unique equivalent skills and experience may possibly substitute for required position requirements.

We have built an environment that celebrates the differences in backgrounds and experiences. United Way invests in activities that lead to greater inclusion, diversity, and equity. We are an equal-opportunity employer and we especially encourage and invite members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply.

United Way of Northeast Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a Drug Free Work Environment.
UWNEFL reserves the right to adjust work location.