Distress Centres at a Glance


For 50 years, Distress Centres has provided 24-hour telephone support, 365 days a year. We are the point of first access in the city for individuals in crisis requiring emotional first aid.

Starting initially as the modest outreach of a concerned group of community leaders, our organization has become the oldest and largest front-line volunteer delivered crisis and suicide prevention support service agency in Canada. Hundreds of thousands of calls later, Distress Centres 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, and our call volume increases each year. As the home to the only 24 Hour Distress Line in Toronto, Distress Centres now receives more than 120,000 calls annually to our helpline. Our team consists of 600 highly trained volunteers at three locations (Downtown, North York and Scarborough) who provide round-the-clock coverage.  


Additional Facts:

  • 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


Programs & Services:


  • 408 HELP Line
  • Caller Reassurance Program
  • Survivor Support Program
  • ONTX Chat/Text Support Program
  • Crisis Link 
  • EMS Warm Transfer Line
  • PARO Helpline
  • Community Outreach & Education