News and Events

New Executive Director Announcement 

The Board of Directors of the Toronto Distress Centres is very pleased to announce that Ms. Alison Caird will be joining our team on June 5th, 2017 as our new Executive Director.

Alison comes to us from Spectra Helpline – Peel Region, where she has been Executive Director since 2013. While at Spectra Alison’s accomplishments have been numerous. As the ED, Alison took the lead role in the operationalization of the Distress Center Peel and Telecare Brampton merger. She was also the driving force behind the introduction of significant service improvements both through process and technology advances including the ONTX online/text support collaborative, language line specialization and transitioning TeleCheck for Seniors’ into a peer program. Alison was also the Lead for their Marketing, Communications, Media Relations and as the “public face” of Spectra, was actively involved with all stakeholders.

Alison has dedicated her career to the non-profit and public sectors where she began as a literacy coordinator with the North York Public Library and the Children’s Aid Society, and then held progressively senior positions in volunteer management with the Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Toronto Rehab hospitals.  In 2009 she became Executive Director of Serve!, a charity that worked with marginalized youth from the priority neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Alison is a lifelong learner with studies in human resources management at Ryerson University, executive leadership at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and fundraising with the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  Recently Alison and her colleagues published Measuring the Impact of Volunteers: A Balanced and Strategic Approach, which won the 2016 Terry McAdam Book Award.

The results of Alison’s work have been acknowledged several times with awards and best practice designations in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, standards and service development. 

As Chair of the Board of Directors I would like to thank Karen Letofsky for her undying dedication to the Distress Centres for the many years she was with us, and welcome Alison who will lead us into the future. I look forward to this exciting next chapter in the Distress Centres role as we continue to ensure every individual in need receives life-sustaining emotional support.

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Every November, in cities worldwide, survivors of suicide loss have been recognized in special events, in order to both honour those who have died and to bring public awareness to a public health crisis. Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide in the world and every 41 seconds there are other individuals left behind to make sense of it. 
To commemorate International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, Saturday November 19, Distress Centres’ Survivor Support Program hosts 2 events:
Annual Flag Raising at City Hall-Nathan Phillips Square
Upper Podium
November 18th noon*
*For those who can make it, we will be meeting outside 10 Trinity Square at 11:30 am, the location of Canada’s first survivor program, and walking from there.
First Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference*
—“Support Through Connection: A Healing Conference for Survivors of Suicide Loss”
Metro Hall, 55 John Street
Saturday November 19, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm
*This conference is for survivors of suicide loss
For more information please contact Alex Shendelman, Program Manager, Survivor Support Program, 416-595-1716,

World Suicide Prevention Day

800,000 people die worldwide by suicide annually, including 3,500-4,000 in Canada. Many more are left behind struggling to make sense of this tragedy.

As a recognized leader in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, Distress Centres acknowledges and partners with events designed to bring attention to a public health crisis and to the impact on those left behind.

On Saturday, September 10th, Distress Centres is joining with others around the world who are working towards the common goal of preventing suicide. This year’s theme is ‘Connect, Communication, Care’.

World Suicide Prevention Day Events:

Mysterious Barricades is a Canada wide free series of concerts that will be live streamed in 13 venues across the country in order to raise awareness of the barricades between mental illness and health and to encourage public discourse about the prevalence of suicide and measures for suicide prevention.

Toronto’s Concert will take place at Walter Hall at the University of Toronto from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10th.

For more information, please visit their website:

Public Health Information

Partnership event between Distress Centres, Toronto Public Health, and CMHA.

September 9th is declared Suicide Prevention Day in Toronto in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.

We will be launching an awareness campaign targeting suicide risk in working age males.

City of Toronto Sign

The City of Toronto Sign, located in Nathan Phillips Square is to be lit in agency colours to bring awareness to suicide prevention issues on September 10th.

Outreach Wellness Events at Chrysler for Suicide Prevention

Distress Centres is partnering with GTA Chrysler at their Mississauga, Etobicoke and Brampton locations as part of their workplace awareness campaign from September 13 & 14th.  


Read our current and past newsletters!

Distress Centres 2016 August Newsletter

Distress Centres 2016 February Newsletter

Distress Centres 2015 Newsletter 

Distress Centres 2014 Newsletter

Distress Centres 2013 Newsletter

Distress Centres 2012 Newsletter

Distress Centres 2011 Newsletter

Distress Centres 2010 Newsletter


Distress Centres 2015 Annual Report now Available

You can now download our 2015 Annual Report from our website here