Executive Director's Message

The Distress Line movement is a vital and growing service in Ontario and throughout the country.  Based on the Samaritans model of listing, originally practiced in Britain, this active listening and befriending style of support has been extremely well accepted for the past 30+ years.

People who are depressed, lonely, or facing addiction, financial or marital issues may find their problems overwhelming.  Distress Centres offer a listening ear, letting struggling people know they are not alone.  People with mental health issues need to feel connected to community resources and supported when their clinical help is not readily available.  Crisis Lines provide support and referral. 

Across the world, almost 1 million people commit suicide every year. The World Health Organization calls suicide a “largely preventable public health problem.”   The devastation of family or friends of suicide victims can be profound.  Distress Centres are a vital link in helping to keep people safe.

Our Goals:

  • To encourage and empower each Distress Centre across the province
  • To be a tireless voice for the Distress Centre movement in Ontario, whether with government policy makers, partners, sponsors and the community at large
  • To promote Distress Centres and suicide prevention to the public
  • To provide resources and educational services for Distress Centre staff and volunteers
  • To facilitate communication, strategic planning and program development among Distress Centres


DCO, Distress and Crisis Ontario along with its many partners are dedicated to the people of Ontario and insuring that no one suffers in silence.  There is always a volunteer who is willing to listen, be empathic and offer referrals to supports in their community.

The next few years will be exciting times for DCO and its membership.  Emergent technologies are being used to develop more comprehensive training and education tools for our members.  New ways of delivering our core services are also being explored.   Our partnership network continues to grow and the numbers of people who depend on Distress Lines and their adjunct services continues to increase.