Rodrigo Oliveras Director EMPACT – Suicide Prevention Centre

  • Rodrigo Oliveras Director EMPACT   –            Suicide Prevention Centre image

As the dedicated Director of LA FRONTERA ARIZONA EMPACT – Suicide Prevention Centre, Rodrigo Oliveras leads a compassionate team committed to making a positive impact for a very diverse community. Their mission? To provide 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis support through a hotline, mobile crisis intervention, and critical incident debriefing. Their strong team cultures enables the staff to feel supported, and ensures they have the hope and optimism to keep doing their best.

We recently sat down with Rodrigo to delve into the challenges of working in a critical space and explore the motivation behind our Members’ impactful work:

Q: What is it about how you operate that brings something unique in crisis support to your community?  

RA: I am a strong believer in collaborative solutions, which include our internal partners (frontline employees) and our external stakeholders (recipient community).  We provide crisis support to a very diverse group of community members and understand that one size does not fit all, we like to assure we are providing the best support at the right time.  

Q: What do help seekers value the most from your service? 

RA: Help seekers value our openness to help all individuals from our community and ability to serve “NOW”.  We are present and available at every minute of the day and night.  In addition to this, our organization has a legacy and incredible story of helping and supporting individuals in crisis- this brings value and confidence for our help seekers to reach out with greater ease and optimism. 

Q: This work can be exhausting – what keeps bringing your staff and/or volunteers back to take calls and provide service?  

RA: This work is exhausting, and we aren’t able to do it without our incredible staff who do this well on a daily basis.  Our management team has created an incredible culture which cultivates support, hope and optimism to keep doing our best.  We have a variety of outlets where our staff can seek support and respite both during and after their workdays.  

Q: How have you adapted to better serve your community needs? 

RA: In the recent years we adopted chat/text as an important part of our prevention needs and services.  As technology continues to evolve, we have aligned closer to our community partners who have sounded off the need for more support and help via chat/text.  With this we have built a strong infrastructure focused on various platform trainings, immersion exercises and super user support for all seeking to support our communities via chat/text. 

Q: Is there an innovation your service had developed of which you are especially proud?

RA: We are very proud of initiatives we have spurred along with first responders to include police, fire and other public safety officers.  Our goal has been to create a greater avenue for them to seek help and connection.  This has been an invaluable experience of which we continue to grow.  

Q: Are the specific vulnerable populations on which your service is focused? What are their specific needs, and what special responses have you developed to meet them? 

RA: We are focused on all populations to include tribal nations, large universities, bilingual communities, and other healthcare organizations to name a few.  We are diligent and work closely with each population to help understand and develop what responses are best fit and best practice.  There is an overarching respect to culture, expectations and active resources.  

Q: What’s a fun fact about you that you usually share with colleagues? 

RA:  I have had the honour of meeting some incredible professionals during my 22-year career as a social worker.  One fun fact I have shared during my career with them is my love for cars and music.  When I am “off” from work, I enjoy cruising in my Chevelle with music on full blast ready to take the world.  This is a very therapeutic time for me, on the radio would be either some Whitney Houston or Lionel Ritchie.  

To read more about our Members valuable work visit LA FRONTEREA ARIZONA EMPACT- Suicide Prevention Centre here