Telecare Distress Centres
by Theresa Wojtasiewicz
Newcomers to Canada can face many challenges when settling here. You might be having a hard time finding a place to live or a job and you are getting depressed about your lack of success. You might be able to find a job right away, but you are feeling stressed and unhappy because you are having difficulties adjusting to the Canadian workplace. You might have come over alone, leaving your family in your country of origin while you work to save money to bring them over, and you are feeling lonely without them. You are living where there are few, if any, people who speak your language and share your culture, and you feel isolated without the kind of community support you know and understand.
The late Reverend Dr. Sir Alan Walker recognized the need for a crisis line where people could call when they needed someone to talk to, after a man who had called him, distressed and in need of help, committed suicide. He was determined that this should not happen again, and so, in March, 1963, the first Lifeline centre was opened in Sydney, Australia, with the a announcement “help is as close as the telephone.”
In Canada, the first Lifeline crisis centre was opened in Sudbury, Ontario in 1965, by the Rev. D. Bruce MacDougall of St. Peter’s United Church. In 1970, it was renamed Telecare Distress Centres of Canada. There are now eight centres in Canada offering assistance for people who need someone to talk to when they are feeling lonely or distressed.
While Telecare was founded as a telephone ministry based on Christian principles and values, the service itself is multi-faith and the trained volunteers and staff reflect the communities they serve. The crisis lines are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and some centres are staffed by people who speak other languages. There is no charge for the service; Telecare is a non-profit organization funded by donations from a variety of organizations and individuals.
Those who call are not judged on their faith, ethnicity, or circumstances. You can call Telecare and talk to them about anything; calls are confidential, and you do not have to give any information about yourself at all.
If you are being abused by someone in your home, if you have alcohol or drug problems, if you feel lonely, isolated or depressed, are having suicidal thoughts, or problems with your physical or mental health, give the Telecare crisis line a call.
When you call Telecare, you will find someone who will listen to you in a caring, compassionate way, who will offer comfort and understanding of your situation and assist you in finding help if that is what you need or want.
Even if you just want to talk to someone about ordinary, everyday things that you are finding difficult, Telecare is there to listen, to help, to care.