Providing crisis support to Calgary’s diverse communities


Distress Centre has been around since about 1970 and we are Calgary’s only 24-hour Crisis Support. That is primarily the phone line but we also offer crisis text, crisis chat, email, and we have a counselling program as well. On top of that, we have our “211 Program” that offers information for all communities, social and government services 24 hours a day.

At Distress Centre we feel it`s really important that the people who are serving Calgarians are reflective of the people that we serve. It`s really important to us that we have the diversity within our organization that exists within the community. The way I think of it is that if you were missing diversity of perspectives, you don`t know what you are missing! Diversity builds strength, and builds different opinions, approaches and perspectives, that strengthens your practice. For Distress Centre, focusing on, and emphasizing diversity in terms of setting goals around being a culturally competent workplace has really opened up opportunities for us. Opportunities for us to see things differently, to ensure that we are getting a wide variety of perspectives, and this is at all levels of the organization including our leadership team. We are increasing our work on incorporating diversity into our board as well.

Distress Centre’s goal is to hire the best candidate regardless of their cultural background and amount of Canadian experience. We hire people based on their competencies and skills. When we recruit volunteers and new staff, we welcome diversity by collaborating with local immigrant serving agencies like Immigrant Services Calgary; we like to tap into their diverse client base. For example, we collaborate with CIWA in their Office Administration Program by hosting their practicum students, and providing them valuable work experience. Currently we have employed four staff through this program!