Pam Van Alstyne started with the Community Helpline 15 years ago. It was begun in Palos Verdes in 1957 by a clinical psychologist to help teens with emotional & drug issues. Calls are answered for social service referrals, depression, anxiety, and crisis/suicide calls. The Suicide Prevention Hotline refers callers to the Community Helpline if they need talking support, and the Helpline can refer high-risk callers to the Suicide Prevention Hotline. The Helpline is open 7 days from 7 AM-10 PM.
Volunteers are required to attend a 6-week 45-hour "Listening and Communications" training program. They learn empathetic non-judgmental listening. Mental health professionals instruct them about common caller issues like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide. The volunteers are trained to set good boundaries by not giving personal information or opinions. Volunteers are asked to serve 3 shifts of about 3 hours monthly and commit to at least one year of service. Training programs are offered 3 times a year, in spring, summer, and fall, on Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8:30 PM in Redondo Beach. Applications are available at (310) 793-1415 or
The Helpline receives about 10,000 calls/day, often from elderly and middle-aged people as well as young adults in college. Volunteers try to focus on what the caller can do to help him/herself. Referrals can be made to psychologists and social services, and if there is serious suicide risk, they can ask the Sheriff's Department to send out an officer.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Directory helps support Community Helpline and Palos Verdes Hills Nursery School. (Sticky notes are put on the covers as reminders of donation envelopes.) The 2016 Palos Verdes Peninsula Directory will be delivered by volunteers on Saturday, February 27th, 7-9:30 AM, from Rancho Vista at 4323 PV Drive North in Rolling Hills Estates. Each driver will transport several student volunteer “runners” to distribute Directories in their designated neighborhoods. Call (310) 793-1415 or (310) 686-0899 by February 20 to volunteer as a driver.