This is not the quarterly update I planned on writing. When I thought of looking back on the first quarter of 2020, I wanted to tell you that our team had successfully moved 115 staff and 200+ volunteers from 1010 8th Avenue to 999 8th Street SW. I wanted to tell you that we are preparing for our 50th Anniversary celebration on May 13, and that we can’t wait to see you there. I wanted to tell you that while our city continues to recover from a prolonged economic downturn, we continue to be there to support the people who are left behind.
Instead, I am writing to tell you about how the Distress Centre team pulled together in the face of a global pandemic to move a fully on-premises contact centre to one that is now entirely virtual. I want to tell you that there was no interruption to our services in spite of this colossal change in our day-to-day operations, and that thousands of calls for help have been answered remotely. I want to tell you that the pride and love I feel for the team of staff, volunteers, and volunteer board of directors at Distress Centre is immeasurable, and unimaginable prior to this crisis.
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Distress Centre continues to support people who are in crisis around the clock. We encourage everyone feeling the impact of this pandemic to access support sooner rather than later; no one is immune to being significantly impacted by this pandemic in one way or another. We must come together and support each other in order to make it through this. Reach out to someone in your life if you are struggling and reach out to those people who you think might be struggling. Check in with them; let them know you care. Our crisis services are available 24/7 if it’s easier for you or for them to talk to someone confidentially. If you are reading this, please help us make sure people know there are supports available; they can visit www.distresscentre.com to learn more.
We urge everyone to have the courage to say, “I need help.” Some days, you might be the one providing the help: to a friend who is struggling with the loss of their job, to a colleague who is having a hard time working and homeschooling their kids, to a family member who is having thoughts of suicide. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to need help. And if you are the one struggling with the loss of your job, homeschooling your kids, or having thoughts of suicide, Distress Centre is here for you. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We are stronger together, and we will get through this together. Take care, and be well.