Distress Centres leadership and volunteers have a wealth of knowledge and in-depth personal stories that provide insights which are relevant on a variety of mental health, risk and crisis support, suicide prevention/postvention topics. We would be pleased to reserve a speaker for you or provide resources!



Alison is our Executive Director at Distress Centres and has dedicated her career to the non-profit and public sectors beginning as a literacy coordinator with the North York Public Library and the Children's Aid Society. 

She has held progressively senior positions in volunteer management with the University Health Network (i.e. Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Toronto Rehab hospitals).

She has been the Executive director of Serve (a charity that worked with marginalized youth from the priority neighbourhoods of Toronto), and Spectra Community Support Services (a 24/7 anonymous and confidential multilingual Distress and Crisis line service).

Alison is also currently President of the Board for the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service, and sits on the board for Distress Centres of Ontario.



Alex is our Survivor of Suicide Loss & Survivor of Homicide Loss Programs Lead for Distress Centres. 

A survivor of suicide loss himself, Alex has spent the last thirteen years building a community of support for those who have experienced a similar loss. He has spoken on a variety of topics pertaining to suicide and homicide loss as well as mental health for a wide range of highly acclaimed and grassroots organizations.

As personable as he is knowledgeable, Alex is personally invested in helping each program member find their personal pathway forward.



Melissa Bosman is our Manager, Helpline Programs at Distress Centres. She has 18 years of experience in crisis response, suicide prevention and intervention, as well as expertise in program development and evaluation. 

Melissa has an active interest in promoting leading practices in the field and continues to have a key role in the development of innovative programming at Distress Centres. She regularly provides community training and consultation on crisis intervention, suicide prevention as well as intervention and is an active member of several suicide prevention working groups and advisory committees.



Tanja is our Manager, ONTX and Caller Reassurance Programs at Distress Centres. She began her tenure with us in September 2010 as one of our compassionate & dedicated volunteers wanting to put her passion to support those in need into action, and over the years her positivity & genuine kindness has radiated throughout the halls in each of our offices.

Tanja has obtained both a Honours Bachelor of Science with a Specialist in Mental Health and a Masters in Social Work.  She's invested in making sure that no one struggles alone and is driven to make sure that everyone feels supported and cared for. 


To book a speaker please submit a request to Talia by filling out the form below and including:

  • Specifics of your event (short summary, location, date and audience details)
  • The topic(s) you're interested in exploring together
  • Your contact information
Name *

Dial 211

CONNECTING YOU TO THE HELP YOU NEED. Dial 2-1-1 and you will have access to an entire network of community, social and government-based services. Calls are answered by professional information and referral specialists who are trained to assess caller needs and refer callers to the most appropriate resources. This service is offered in over 200 languages. 



Clothing Services in the City of Toronto - The availability of clothing can vary. If possible, please call ahead to avoid disappointment.



Drop-In Services in the City of Toronto - Drop-ins provide a range of services that can include health care, recreational programs and housing support. These listings show which drop-ins have laundry, showers and harm reduction. 


Housing Help

Housing Help Centres in the City of TorontoHousing Help Centres are non-profit agencies that help people find and keep housing and avoid eviction. Housing Help services are also available in most shelters and many drop-ins.



Emergency 911 
Peel Regional Police 905-453-3311
Halton Regional Police 905-878-5511
Toronto Police 416-808-2222
Ontario Provincial Police 1-888-310-1122


Emergency Accommodation

Shelter Services in the City of Toronto - Call 311 or Central Intake at 416-338-47661-877-338-3398 for emergency shelter. The shelters listed can be contacted directly, but may not have available space.


Women and Children 

Interim Place l Mississauga 905-403-0864 
Interim Place ll Malton 905-676-8515
Interval House Toronto 416-924-1411
The Redwood Shelter Toronto 416-533-8538
Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter Toronto 416-746-3701

ShelterSafe.ca is an online resource to help women and their children seeking safety from violence and abuse. The clickable map will serve as a fast resource to connect women with the nearest shelter that can offer safety, hope and support. Access the map here.


Emergency Food

Food Services in the City of Toronto - Free or low cost meals are available throughout Toronto. You can search by day of the week to find the breakfast, lunch or dinner nearest you.

Mississauga Food Bank 905-270-5589 
Meadowvale Eden Community Food Bank 905-785-3651
St. Louis OutreachFood Bank 905-454-2144
Knights Table 905-454-8725
Salvation Army – Erin Mills 905-820-6868 
Salvation Army – Brampton 905-451-8840
SalvationArmy – Cawthra 905-279-3941
Salvation Army – Meadowvale 905-824-0450
The Compass – Port Credit 905-274-9309