Distress Line Outputs and Outcomes

Our outputs - comparable with other charities

According to a survey carried out in 2012 which was funded by the Canadian Commission on Mental Health, Distress Centres is the largest helpline in Canada and responds to more helpline calls than any other similar service.

Our output timelines – dated and recent

The 408-HELP Line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Our output - goals

Our long-term goal is to decrease the risk of suicide by improving the emotional well-being and personal resiliency of those who call.

Our output - definition and calculations

The outputs for the 408-HELP Line are defined as the number of service users/calls that reach out to Distress Centres services through our distress help line.

Our outcomes - mentioned

Outcomes for the 408-HELP Line include: de-escalation of callers; callers feeling psychologically more comfortable; callers feeling emotionally safe; decrease in the risk of suicide attempts and completions.

Our outcomes - quantified

Of our callers in 2016 8% were new, 21% were occasional callers, 23% continued to need continuous support and 33% were intensive service users.

More than 40% of the callers in 2015 experienced emotional de-escalation.

Almost all of the medium- to high-risk callers indicated that their risk levels had decreased significantly following their call.

93.5% of callers experienced a positive outcome in 2016.

Our outcomes - call stats

65% of calls were from females and 33% from males in 2015.

In 2016 4% of calls were from callers under 24 years of age, 33% from callers 25 to 44, 28% from callers 45 to 64, 14% from callers 65 years of age and older and 20% were of an unknown age.

In 2016 the marital status of our callers was divided as follows: 57% were single, 11% were seperated/divorced, 1% widowed, 9% married/partnered and 22% of unknown status.

The economic status of our callers in 2016 was 11% working full-time, 2% working part-time, 6% unemployed, 39% receiving benefits of some type, 6% retired and 31% unsure of their economic status.

Our outcomes - caller concerns

The top 3 caller concerns in 2015 were interpersonal, mental health and physical health.

Our outcomes - call responses/action

In 2015 there were many calls that required multiple responses/actions to be taken.  For all calls the following responses/actions where taken:

  • Emotional support 45%
  • Distress management 29%
  • Mental health support 28%
  • Review of coping mechanisms 24%
  • Explorations of options / action plan 19%
  • Crisis intervention 11%
  • Provide information 3%
  • 911 intervention initiated <1%

Our outcomes - call outcomes

  • Reduced emotional distress 40%
  • Reduced isolation/loneliness 32%
  • Coping mechanisms in place 18%
  • Changed insight/perspective 12%
  • Decreased suicide intent/risk 5%

Our outcomes - comparable to other charities

Best practice outcome measures within the mental health movement are not currently in place, however we do know that all distress centres in Ontario manage outputs within their own catchment regions effectively and efficiently.

Our outcome timelines – dated and recent

All callers are assessed at the end of their call and the content evaluated.

Our outcome timing - post-completion

Medium- to high-risk callers receive a follow-up call a few days following their initial contact. We encourage our callers to reconnect with us to inform us of their current ability to manage and to provide follow-up support as necessary.

Our outcome - goals

Long-term goal: To decrease the risk of suicide by improving the emotional well-being and personal resiliency of those who call.

Short-term goals: 1. To provide vulnerable individuals in the community experiencing situational distress or emotional crisis with 24/7 access to life-sustaining support. 2. To increase the sense of personal safety and resiliency of individuals in crisis. 3. To improve the emotional quality of life of isolated/marginalized individuals through emotional support and community linkages. 4. To ensure that all emotional first aid is provided in a culturally competent and inclusive manner.