Our 408-HELP line has 550+ highly trained Distress Centres’ volunteers that provide telephone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with the support of professional staff. Many of our callers are individuals experiencing emotional distress, marginalization, social isolation and those who may require crisis intervention and suicide/family violence intervention services. 

 

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If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal or need emotional support

Please call our 408-HELP line now at 416-408-4357.

If this is an emergency - Please call 911.

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Our 408-HELP line provides:

  • Emotional support service for those with chronic mental health problems

  • Support & crisis intervention services for those currently experiencing distress or crisis

  • Family violence response

  • Suicide prevention services

  • Emergency intervention and response
 
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become a 408-HELP LINE Volunteer RESPONDER

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WE ALSO HAVE AN ONLINE CHAT & TEXT CRISIS & SUPPORT SERVICE

 
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IMPACT Stories

THANK YOU. Talking to one of you over the phone lifted weight off of me when I was feeling lonely and like I was losing who I was. Having someone truly listen gave me energy and strength to see how doing some things to take care of myself better is possible, and it is not all so overwhelming. I am completing a Bachelor of Social Work and have been accepted into a Master of Social Work program. I have been feeling the effects of giving too much without debriefing and re-energizing, and was hurting a lot when I called you at Distress Centres. I know that the work I do can give energy and strength to others, just like you gave to me. I appreciate the anonymity, though I wish I could praise and give credit to the counsellor who I spoke to. She was excellent, thanks to your thoughtful, amazing training, I’m sure. Thank you and take care of yourself by talking to each other (as the counsellor on the phone suggested).
— Jesse – 408 HELP Line Responder
THANK YOU. Talking to one of you over the phone lifted weight off of me when I was feeling lonely and like I was losing who I was. Having someone truly listen gave me energy and strength to see how doing some things to take care of myself better is possible, and it is not all so overwhelming. I am completing a Bachelor of Social Work and have been accepted into a Master of Social Work program. I have been feeling the effects of giving too much without debriefing and re-energizing, and was hurting a lot when I called you at Distress Centres. I know that the work I do can give energy and strength to others, just like you gave to me. I appreciate the anonymity, though I wish I could praise and give credit to the counsellor who I spoke to. She was excellent, thanks to your thoughtful, amazing training, I’m sure. Thank you and take care of yourself by talking to each other (as the counsellor on the phone suggested).
— A peer & service user
When I began volunteering at Distress Centres, I never imagined what a positive impact this type of work would have on the lives of others as well as on my own life. Distress Centres has provided me with the opportunity to refine my listening and helping skills, to become a more empathetic and nonjudgmental listener, and to be involved in something that I am truly passionate about. I always look forward to my shifts at Distress Centres, not only because I enjoy the work I do in the phone room, but because the staff members and other volunteers provide such a warm and inviting environment. There aren’t too many places that are filled with such caring and empathetic people in one room! Volunteering for Distress Centres has become more than just a volunteer position for me; it has become part of who I am. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that one phone call can truly make a difference in someone’s life.
— Alycia - 408 HELP Line Responder
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Outcomes & Outputs

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.

 

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.

 

Call Statistics

  • 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 separated/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.

 

Call Responses/Actions

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

Caller Concerns

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

 

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.

 

Call Outcomes

 

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.

 
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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.
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