Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Friendly Calls program?
  • The Canadian Red Cross Friendly Calls program helps address issues of isolation and loneliness which have become heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The program pairs a trained Red Cross volunteer or staff member with someone who is feeling isolated or lonely, who may have limited social and family connections, or who feels they could benefit from more social interaction. 
  • At a regularly scheduled time, Red Cross personnel call the people with whom they are paired, offering an opportunity to form connections, check on the person’s wellbeing, and, if needed, connect them with resources available in their community.
  • Services offered vary as provinces and territories tailor the program to best meet the needs of participants. Service offerings may include some or all of the following:
    • Socialization for participants through regularly scheduled phone calls and referrals to other Red Cross programs or external community resources as needed;
    • Wellness checks to assess a participant’s wellbeing, offer psychosocial support and/or referrals to professional mental health community resources as needed.
  • The Friendly Calls program is the first national health program of Canadian Red Cross.
Who can participate in the Friendly Calls program?
  • The Friendly Calls program is open to any adult who may be feeling isolated or lonely, who may have limited social and family connections, or who feels they could benefit from more social interaction. The age of participants may vary from province to province.
Can a family member use the program to seek advice about their loved one?
  • If a family member feels a loved one could benefit from the Friendly Calls program, we encourage them to help their loved one register, either directly or through their health care provider.
Is there any cost to participate in the Friendly Calls program?
  • There is no cost to participate in the Friendly Calls program.
How often will Red Cross volunteers/staff be calling participants?
  • The frequency and length of phone calls is tailored to suit a participant’s individual needs. Generally, phone calls occur on a weekly basis and can last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.
What languages are being offered?
  • Currently, phones calls are being conducted in English and French. There is the potential to offer additional languages in select locations as the program grows.
How can someone register to participate in the Friendly Calls program?
  • For information on how to register for the Friendly Calls program where you live, visit the “In Your Community” section of the Canadian Red Cross website (https://www.redcross.ca/in-your-community), click on your province or territory, and follow the links.
How can someone sign up to volunteer for the Friendly Calls program?
  • For information on how to volunteer for the Friendly Calls program where you live, visit the “In Your Community” section of the Canadian Red Cross website (https://www.redcross.ca/in-your-community), click on your province or territory, and then the “Volunteer Opportunities” section.
Do Red Cross staff or volunteers require a background in mental health to participate?
  • Red Cross staff and volunteers receive appropriate training, including psychological first aid and safety and wellbeing and do not require a background in mental health to participate in the Friendly Calls program.
What is the time commitment being asked of a volunteer?
  • In general, a volunteer with the Friendly Calls program is expected to volunteer at least one hour per week. One phone call can last between 20 to 60 minutes.
  • Volunteers are asked to remain with the program for a minimum of six months.
Can volunteers visit the person they are partnered with?
  • This is a phone-based program and any communication between a volunteer and participant will take place over the phone. Should a participant request a video chat, that will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
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