About Us

Since 1967, as an initially modest outreach of a concerned group of community leaders, Distress Centres has provided 24-hour telephone support, 365 days a year, without a missed shift. Hundreds of thousands of calls later, this agency continues to offer round the clock response to those experiencing emotional distress or in need of crisis intervention and suicide prevention. We also provide face-to-face support and counseling to people dealing with the effects of suicide and homicide.

Distress Centres continues to expand, with call volume increasing each year.  As the home to the only 24 Hour Distress Line in Toronto, Distress Centres now receives more than 120,000 calls annually, with 600 highly trained volunteers providing round-the-clock coverage.  Distress Centres is the point of first access in the city for individuals in crisis requiring emotional first aid.

Some other things you may not have known about Distress Centres:

  • We have 600 volunteers at three locations (Downtown, North York and Scarborough)
  • More than 120,000 calls are placed each year to the Distress Centres helplines. We are able to respond to more than 80,000 of these, 80% of which are answered within Ministry of Health's best practice guidelines of 15 minutes
  • More than half of our calls are received after-hours and on weekends, when other services are closed.
  • We provide consultation and outreach to other organizations across Ontario in the area of suicide prevention.
  • We provide a Suicide Resource Library accessible to families, volunteers, staff and interested members of the community, both in-person and online.
  • Through our face-to-face Survivor Support Program, we counsel 500 family members and friends annually who are suffering from the pain of bereavement caused by suicide and/or homicide.




We foster hope and resilience one connection at a time.


To ensure that every individual in need receives life sustaining emotional support.


There’s a life on the line.

We will:

  • Provide crisis response and intervention to the emotionally vulnerable and at risk in our community.
  • Serve as a point of access for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
  • Provide volunteer delivered services, wherever possible, in recognition of the added value they contribute.
  • Collaborate and network with other agencies to create a continuum of care and support.
  • Provide links to emergency services when necessary.
  • Mitigate the impact of a mental health crisis by helping those with a history of vulnerability and risk make life-affirming choices.
  • Increase service access by operating within a framework of cultural competency, including the promotion of diversity in all areas of service.
  • Enhance emotional self-management and reduce risk by strengthening the coping skills of survivors.
  • Advocate on behalf of service users by reporting on current needs, gaps in service and emerging trends.
  • Build community capacity in emotional health response.