What is a PSI Coordinator? PSI Coordinators are the direct contacts and representatives of PSI in their communities. They respond to people who contact PSI for information and support through the PSI website support map, through our 800-944-4PPD warmline, firstname.lastname@example.org, our closed Facebook Support Page, or through the PSI office in Portland, Oregon, USA. Many areas have more than one Coordinator working together, and we encourage you to be open to others who want to volunteer.
What is the main role of a PSI Coordinator? The Coordinator’s primary task is to offer social support, information, and resources to moms, dads and families, helping them prevent or recover from perinatal mental health issues during pregnancy, postpartum, and post-loss. We are committed to replying to all calls and emails within 24 hours, even if we are still searching for resources when we make our first contact. Our role is not to offer medical advice, assessment, or evaluation. Coordinators offer community resources, reassurance and hope, but they don’t make clinical recommendations or assessments. When giving names of providers and other services, Coordinators refer to them as resources, not recommendations. If possible, Coordinators need to give names of three providers when sharing resources. Coordinators should develop and maintain a list of community resources and emergency numbers to share. This can be done on their own or in Coordination with other nearby Coordinators and their state chapter, if in the USA. Coordinators must also log your time/contacts in an online form provided by PSI.
Are Coordinators required to provide a certain model of support? No, PSI Coordinators provide support with different models, depending many factors, including the resources available in their area and their personal talents and experiences. The minimum expectation is that the Coordinator provides reassuring contact and reliable information about recovery to moms and their families, and works to build the connections and network in his or her area. While some Coordinators are able to offer support groups or classes, most others offer support by phone, text or email.
Do you need specific training or credentials to be a Coordinator? PSI Coordinators come from a wide range of backgrounds and no specific training or credentials are required. All Coordinators must attend mandatory PSI orientation upon completion of their application process. We encourage all Coordinators to attend trainings in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) when possible as these trainings are invaluable for networking and identifying resources. Coordinators must have a solid understanding of PMAD and recovery (given in orientation), but are certainly not required to have any specific clinical expertise or career. We have many Coordinators that are recovered moms or family members; you certainly
don’t need credentials to provide this support! Please check with the PSI Volunteer Services Manager, Carrie Banks at email@example.com to learn about available training opportunities.
What do Coordinators who are also clinicians need to know? Many Coordinators do have professional jobs in the healthcare field. In that case, it is imperative that the Coordinator explicitly states that she is acting in a support role as a volunteer — not as a clinician — while offering support to families that contact her or him through the PSI Website listing of Coordinators. These Coordinators may not refer to themselves unless you truly are the only clinician in your area. In that case, it is important to first find another individual who can provide volunteer support by phone or email or group, and then after that you can initiate a fee for service relationship. If you have any questions about this, please contact Carrie Banks.
How does PSI support the Coordinators? PSI has a Volunteer Services Manager, Carrie Banks, who manages the Coordinator Program. The manager reviews applications, checks references, provides training and orientation, and facilitates contact and support among Coordinators. You can call or email the Volunteer Services Manager for emotional support, debriefing, information, or questions at 919-428-7119 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If a Coordinator has a complaint or conflict with the the Volunteer Services Manager, they should contact the Executive Director, Wendy Davis, at email@example.com for assistance.
PSI also provides materials, contacts, technical assistance, guidance, suggestions for education, networking, assistance developing groups, and support.
PSI Coordinators receive discounts or free access to various PSI trainings.
PSI Coordinators help each other by providing emotional support, practical information, and by sharing materials. You can access other Coordinators by joining the Closed FaceBook Group for PSI Coordinators, or by sending an email to the Volunteer Services Manager, Carrie Banks cbanks@Postpartum.net and having her send it to all Coordinators or to other specific resources within PSI.
Does PSI provide any financial support to Coordinators? Coordinators can submit reimbursement requests for expenses directly related to their volunteer position as PSI Coordinator (e.g., long-distance calls, copies of brochures or cards, printing). Coordinators should not assume that reimbursement will be provided; it must be approved by the PSI treasurer. Check with the Volunteer Services Manager before making an expenditure for which you wish to be reimbursed. Get an estimate for the expense so that the amount can be considered for approval. The current yearly limit on reimbursement is $100.00 per Coordinator.
PSI does not pay any wages or fees to Coordinators. Consider working with other funding sources and contacts in your community to see if they can sponsor some of your materials expense. (e.g., the agency you for which you are providing a talk or training will usually agree to make copies of handouts or brochures.)
Does PSI provide administrative support? The PSI office does not perform office tasks for Coordinators. PSI does provide templates or downloads for the following: PSI business cards, bulletin board flyers for groups, PSI
membership materials, PMAD informational brochures for families, and PSI awareness posters. Coordinators can request up to 50 brochures per year mailed to you or you can download and print from your computer. You may request reimbursement for printing up to the $100 annual limit. You can request brochures from firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the rules of conduct for Coordinators? 1. The Coordinator must keep confidential any identifying information regarding their contacts. You must not share with others any names, occupations, or locations that might identify your contact, unless you get specific permission for the sake of advocacy that the contact has requested.
- The Coordinator must do his or her best to provide respectful, non-judgmental, and informed service to those who make contact and to the larger community. Respond to contacts as soon as you can in a timely fashion (within 24 hours), even if you don’t have resources for them. If you need time to research resources for them, make a contact first and let them know you are working to find more resources. You can let them know that you are checking with others, but offer social/emotional support in the meantime.
- If Coordinators feel unsure of their ability to perform their tasks in a professional and timely manner, it is imperative that they contact the Volunteer Services Manager. Assistance will be given in the form of professional input, peer support and/or guidance. Coordinators may take a leave of absence at any time for up to one year. PSI’s is committed to helping moms find the care they need and Coordinators play a vital role in that mission. Therefore, after assistance is offered, the Volunteer Services Manager may ask you to resign from the role if she assesses that you are not fulfilling the tasks as described.
- PSI encourages Coordinators to practice healthy self-care: ask for help and take breaks when you need it. We have a strong Coordinator network and can always find back-up if you need to take a personal leave. PSI wants to support your health and wellbeing.
What are the steps to becoming a Coordinator? 1. Become a member of PSI. Your tax-deductible membership dues help support the mission of PSI and give you access to member benefits. You can join online at http://www.postpartum.net/become-member.html, or you can contact email@example.com for questions about membership. We have a number of scholarships available! Please write to the Volunteer Services Manager at cbanks@Postpartum.net to discuss.
- Fill out a Coordinator application and submit. Once received, the Volunteer Services Manager will communicate with you, making sure that you understand the role and feel ready to engage at this time. She will let you know if you are approved to be listed as a Coordinator, or if she suggests more training or another volunteer role.
- After being selected as a Coordinator, you will read and sign the PSI Volunteer Agreement, which will be sent and signed electronically.
- The Volunteer Services Manager will send you a form to fill out for your listing on your state (USA) or province (Canada) page of the PSI website.
How do PSI Coordinators receive training and education? 1. First, go to Jane Honikman’s website at http://www.janehonikman.com. Read her books, “Community Support for New Families” and “I’m Listening.” You can order them from her website. Consider ordering PSI’s Guidebook to Developing a Perinatal Support Network in Your Community. You can order it from the PSI website. http://www.postpartum.net/resources/psi-guidebook/
- Participate in any phone or email trainings provided by PSI. Ask the Volunteer Services Manager for upcoming trainings. You will be able to download and listen to previously recorded Coordinator training calls for further info and education.
- Make use of educational and training opportunities: go to trainings in perinatal mood disorders; interview resources in your community; take online courses; read articles and books from the reading list on the PSI website. Ask the Volunteer Services Manager for trainings near you. PSI has a standardized curriculum that offers a certificate of course completion, and an social support training webinar series. Ask questions and consult with others on the Closed FaceBook Group for PSI Coordinators. Ask for materials or links if you don’t have them. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
- We are all in a process of continuous learning and education in this field. Join the Closed FaceBook Group so that you can have access to a great resource for connection, information, support, and materials. If you have any trouble signing up, you can contact the Volunteer Services Manager.
- Come to the annual PSI conference and attend the Coordinator’s meeting held the day before the main conference begins, or the pre-conference training held two days before the main conference.
- Stay in touch and ask questions. You can receive information from the website, the office, the Volunteer Services Manager, the Closed FaceBook Group, or the websites and blogs linked to PSI.
What is the process for taking a leave or resigning? Let PSI know when you need to take a leave, want to stop being a Coordinator, or would like help finding a Co-Coordinator. Remember that we can add a Co-Coordinator in your area if you don’t want to stop completely, but would like additional support. If you know someone that you think is a good candidate for being a Co-Coordinator, have him or her contact the Volunteer Services Manager.
You can also suggest someone as a PSI volunteer and have them apply, even if they are not ready to be listed as a Coordinator on the website. They can be part of your resource network, get training, and offer support with guidance from you and the PSI organization. Contact the Volunteer Services Manager for a volunteer application.
If you would like to stop being a Coordinator, please try to give at least one month’s notice and do your best to help PSI find a new Coordinator for your area.
PSI thanks all Coordinators for their invaluable service, dedication, and heart.
The organization would not exist without you.