Distress Centre Calgary is now offering 24-hour chat and text support, an important expansion of their services.
The centre’s free 24-hour general crisis line has been available since 1975, with chat being introduced in 2012. In September they launched text support with limited hours, then made it 24-7 in October along with chat services.
It’s an important expansion because many people, especially young people, are more comfortable discussing difficult topics via text rather than an in-person call.
The Distress Centre notes that suicide has been a present issue in 52 per cent of chats, which is one reason Trevor Landsburg, the online services team lead, believes the online chat and text service is critical.
“Suicidal ideation is presenting a lot higher in chats, meaning that folks are much more comfortable possibly speaking about some of these things [through chat or text] rather than calling in,” Landsburg says.
Landsburg is also aware that the 24-hour text service can be more convenient to those seeking help.
“A lot of people might be experiencing stress or distress throughout the day, while they’re multitasking and doing other things,” Landsburg says.
Marva Ferguson, a professor at Mount Royal University who teaches about topics like mental health, supports the distress centre’s recent expansion of services.
“I applaud the distress centre for providing this modality so that they’re more accessible to different people in the community,” Ferguson says.
The services are available by texting or calling (403) 266-4357.