Distress Centres of Greater Toronto

Registered Name: DISTRESS CENTRES OF GREATER TORONTO

Business Number: 107021016RR0001

COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness

As Canada's largest and oldest emotional crisis and support agency, Distress Centres of Greater Toronto is taking immediate steps to ensure that our essential services are accessible by as many people as possible.

As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are committed to providing seamless services that help people across the GTA and Canada. The support of the community & our partners is so very important at this critical time. We know that isolation has a wide range of negative effects. Recent studies have connected loneliness and social isolation with a range of health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, drug abuse, alcoholism, anxiety and depression. In fact, studies have shown that a lack of social connections was as great a risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Critically, depression and suicide are a major effect of loneliness.

During this difficult time, our volunteer responders have still been helping hundreds of afraid and isolated individuals who are facing depression, anxiety, loneliness and more. Our staff have been working hard to fill the gaps in service delivery and maintain seamless operations. As we continue to live in isolation and anxiety increases we anticipate an increase of approximately 30% to our phone lines. The strong results show that our services are essential and make a huge impact. Our staff are working hard to increase our capacity to provide our critical services remotely. Like other essential services, we look for ways to minimize contact where possible, but still provide the services our callers and program participants rely upon.

We are seeking the support of the community to enable us to continue to adapt our services and ensure we are ready to provide emotional support in an environment characterized by a heightened state of anxiety, volatility and general uncertainty.

Immediately, these funds will be used to help us in the following ways:

-- Provide virtual counselling to over 100 Survivors of Suicide Loss / Homicide Loss

-- Protect the health of our volunteers who are on the front-line providing support on our 408-HELP Line

-- Ensure our volunteers can work remotely, for example, VOIP Phones for Language Line volunteers

-- Allow us to continue providing support to isolated seniors and at-risk individuals in the community

-- Adapt and upgrade current technology to enable staff to work remotely and, importantly, securely

We've committed to continue to provide our essential services to those who need it most at this critical time. Show your commitment by donating & sharing today. Thank you.