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.

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 200 volunteers answering over 54,000 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.

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.