special to Digital Journal:
Volunteers are being trained to deal with more distressed callers who are suffering the effects of the recession. Calls have been up 30 per cent since last October and they’re steadily increasing every month since.
During a phone interview, Karen Letofsky, Executive Director of the Toronto Distress Centres, said they are amping up the number of volunteers on the Hotline. They are also educating the volunteers on the issues that the recession are bringing and arming them with more resources to help callers. Callers can now receive more referral numbers because of this information.
In areas where the auto industry is increasing the ranks of unemployment suicide calls have risen dramatically. Ms. Letofsky said that in the areas hardest hit by the recession calls have increased. In these times many people first try to carry their problems alone which is why more calls are starting to come into the centre.
Distress Centres is dealing with more relationship issues and suicides than in the past as well as more distress calls in general. They are also seeing an increase in newer needs from people who have never called crisis centres before.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Letofsky.
Distress Centres is an anonymous safe haven for those that are in crisis. The only time that outside help is called into play is when there is a high risk and intervention is needed.
In Toronto, if you are needing to talk with someone the Distress Centres number is 416-408-HELP. There are volunteers manning the phone lines 24 hours a day. Also in Ontario 211 is a number to call if you have needs for social service programs.