Distress Centres of Greater Toronto


Business Number: 107021016RR0001


Since 1967, Distress Centres of Greater Toronto has provided 24-hour support, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to individuals in our community at risk and their most vulnerable. We are Canada’s oldest volunteer delivered crisis, emotional support and suicide prevention + intervention + postvention service agency.


Our crisis and emotional distress services are available via hotline, online chat, and text. We also offer face-to-face individual as well as group support and counselling to those who have lost a loved one to suicide or homicide and are navigating the aftermath. Distress Centres of Greater Toronto continues to expand, and our program participants & call volume increases each year.


After amalgamating with Spectra Helplines (founded 1973 in Peel), our reach and breadth of our services has now expanded to include multilingual language lines, enhanced support for isolated seniors and a transitional support program for those aged 16+. In total we make 86,000 outbound calls to new & existing clients across the GTA each year. 


We are very proud of our combined history of providing support to persons in distress and need. With a combined history of more than 100 years, our distress lines have been there 24/7 for anyone experiencing isolation, stress, anxiety, abuse, depression, emotional pain, mental health issues


Distress Centres of Greater Toronto now answers more than 110,500 calls annually, places more than 64,000 calls to vulnerable seniors and youth and answers the majority of crisis calls, SMS messages and online interactions through the National Suicide Hotline via Crisis Service Canada (Canadian Suicide Prevention Service).

What People Are Saying

"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."

— Service User

"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. "

— Distress Centres Volunteer

"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. "

— Service User

"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. "

— 408-HELP Line Volunteer Responder

"There aren’t many places that are filled with such caring & empathetic people! Volunteering for Distress Centres has become more than just a volunteer position; it has become part of who I am. Most importantly, I’ve learned that one phone call can truly make a difference in someone’s life."

— 408-HELP Line Volunteer Responder

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