Distress and Crisis Ontario is one of LifeLine International’s newest members, working to provide advocacy, networking and training for organisations delivering talk and text support in Ontario.
Executive Director of Distress and Crisis Ontario, Neta Gear, said she was proud to become part of the LifeLine International family.
Distress Centres across Ontario offer real-time support and a variety of other services that address the needs of their communities, such as free listening and referral services delivered by highly trained and committed volunteers.
Neta spoke with LifeLine International CEO Thilini Perera earlier in 2022, and they discussed the challenges of securing stable funding and the added pressures and demand for crisis services due to COVID-19.
“During COVID-19, no one knew how to catergorise calls coming through,” she said.
“Some tagged it as flu or seasonal allergies as we hadn’t experienced a pandemic before.”
Neta says, much like LifeLine International, one of the benefits they can bring to their members is shared data and collective analysis to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services.
“We are hoping that data will give us a better understanding of who we’re seeing, why we’re seeing them, and when we’re seeing them,” she said.
“To be able to understand where the training needs are and what trends are emerging will help us to respond sooner.”
Neta said a strength of Distress and Crisis Ontario were the many perspectives represented across their own member organisations, offering support to a range of communities across Canada.
“We are very excited about expanding our membership this year,” she said.
“We have a couple of First Nation’s Centres as members, and at this time in Canada’s history when we are trying to grapple with some of the concerns around reconciliation, it has been invaluable to have their perspectives and their presence in our membership.”
“We’re always looking at ways to build our membership to bring more perspectives and to continue to learn, share and grow.”