About Us

When you hear of the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, it may be that you're learning about our services for the first time or that you have seen our advertisements around the city. Perhaps you or someone in your life has used our services in recent months. Some people think our services are only for people who are having suicidal thoughts. It’s true that we hear from individuals who feel that they have nowhere else to turn, but we also hear so much more. Allow us to explain.

our vision

The Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region plays a key role in establishing a community where individuals in need are supported and empowered to meet life’s challenges.

our mission

Working within the continuum of mental health services, the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region contributes to a healthier and safer community by providing suicide prevention, crisis intervention, psychological stabilization, emotional support, information, referral and education services, without judgement, to individuals in need.

Look at our numbers!

Calls answered in 2022

Who are we?

We are the people who are here 24/7 to answer calls from those who are reaching out for help. Regardless of their issue, individuals are welcome to call our confidential, non-judgmental and open-minded telephone lines to talk about what they're facing in their lives. Sometimes, callers have simple questions or they may be in a mental health crisis that requires more attention. No matter what the nature of each call might be, the Distress Centre has approximately 210 volunteers answering over 60,000 calls a year, thus providing an integral, important and vital service in our community.

Who counts on us?

You do, as does your family, your friend, your colleague, your neighbour, the person sitting next to you in the movie theatre, your former professor, the person you see on television – everyone counts on us during challenging times. The need may not be here today or tomorrow, but being available for our community when they need us most is our main priority. Our phones are answered by a supportive and caring individual, ready to listen and support. People of all ages, races, genders and social economic groups use our confidential services, and you can too.

You talk. We'll listen. That's a 24/7 promise.

Our Guiding Principles

Recognizing the outstanding volunteer workforce that delivers the core of its services.

Protecting the confidentiality of all callers.

Ensuring access to its services 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Ensuring access to its services is free-of-charge for individuals residing in the geographic areas covered by DCOR.

Evolving its services to meet the changing needs of the community.

Being accountable to the community it serves and reporting regularly on current needs, gaps in services and emerging trends.

Transparency, accountability and diversity throughout the organization.

Leadership and experience.

Who do we count on?

The people who are answering our phone lines - our wonderful volunteer responders.  We couldn't do what we do without them. Although they come from all walks of life, they do have something in common - their desire to be there for those who need someone to turn to. Patient, understanding and giving, Distress Centre volunteers are trained to listen, talk through concerns and provide appropriate community resources. In other words, our volunteers are there for whatever is needed.

We also count on our community. The Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region is a not-for-profit charitable organization that relies in part on funding from our partners and donations from individuals and businesses. Every dollar donated to the Distress Centre is invested in our organization to ensure that we are always there to answer every call that comes to us.

What else do we do?

We provide training, not only for our own volunteers, but for other groups as well, including colleges, universities, social service agencies, businesses, government departments and first responders. Our professional trainers, renowned for their expertise and knowledge, have trained on topics as diverse as conflict management, communication skills, stress management, suicide prevention and intervention, crisis intervention and more.

Our Board of Directors

Allow us to introduce our Board of Directors.  These individuals are an integral part of what we do, as they dedicate their time and effort in assisting the Distress Centre stay true to its goals and objectives.

Media Gallery

See photos from our past events such as our Chocolate Affairs Gala, our Mindful Ink fundraiser and other community events we've attended. Also, watch us local on TV or listen to our radio interviews.

Community Outreach

From fairs that cater to the 55+ groups, to universities and colleges, and everything in between, we're more than happy to attend your event! We proudly participate in as many community fairs as possible each year.

Our Generous Funders

In 2020, the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region answered over 60,000 calls for support from people in our community. This would not have been possible without the financial contribution of our generous funders who help us maintain this vital service for the community. Their support also ensures that we continue to train and supervise our volunteer Responders who selflessly donate their time to help those in need. We are so very thankful for the continued support of the following organizations, and we encourage you to learn more about each of them.