2017 was another challenging year for Calgarians, as we faced an economy that has been slow to recover. We continue to see the impact of this prolonged recession on our crisis lines, in our counselling program and Basic Needs Fund.
Compared to 2016, last year was a year of increased demand right across the board, which kept our dedicated volunteers and staff very busy. Overall, we experienced a 8% increase in crisis contact volume. ConnecTeen saw a huge increase in demand – a 115% increase in ConnecTeen contacts, and in particular a 210.7% increase in texts to ConnecTeen.
Our counselling program also saw substantial growth this year. Contacts increased by 19% compared to 2016 (as of November 30, 2017).
Along with this increase in demand we can say quite confidently that more people are aware of Distress Centre and our services which means we are supporting thousands more people in distress.
“2017 was a challenging year for many Calgarians,” said Jerilyn Dressler, Executive Director at Distress Centre. “Distress Centre’s services are available to anyone who needs support, 24/7. We feel honoured to support those who reach out for our help – we know it takes courage – and we’re proud of our staff and volunteers for responding to the increased demand for our services.
“Every day, we strive to ensure that everyone is heard.”
Here are a few more highlights from the year:
- In June we said farewell to Joan Roy, our Executive Director, as she retired after a 25 year career at Distress Centre.
- We welcomed our new Executive Director, Jerilyn Dressler, in the same month. Jerilyn first got involved with DC in 2001.
- ConnecTeen and the Calgary Hitmen celebrated their 8 year partnership at the March 12th.
- ConnecTeen launched a new, refreshed brand and logo, to better appeal to teens and youth.
- On World Suicide Prevention Day, we encouraged those experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out to us.
- Comedian David Granirer headlined our 7th annual Lend An Ear Breakfast.
- A new partnership was developed with The Way In Network. Calls to the 403-SENIORS line are now answered by our 211 Information & Referral Specialists.
- Distress Centre launched their new website in October, designed by Hike Digital.
- Outrun the Stigma raised a record $33,000 at their annual run/walk in support of our crisis services.
Distress Centre is here for everyone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To those who had the courage and strength to make the call, write that email or send that text, thank you.
As we head into 2018, we feel confident that we will continue to provide compassionate, accessible crisis support that enhances the health, well-being and resiliency of individuals in distress.