|UPCOMING EVENTS FOR DISTRESS CENTRES ONTARIO MEMBER CENTRES||ACTIVE LISTENING|
The Preferred Response to those Experiencing
an Act of Terrorism or Mass Violence
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
50 East Valhalla Drive
Markham, ON L3R 0A3
Please invite your Board Members to attend and join us for the Networking Dinner to follow that evening.
DCO MEMBER CENTRES
- NETWORKING DAY
Registration information available on the website week of September 5, 2007.
DCO FALL EDUCATIONAL FORUM
- THE PARTNERSHIP TOOLKIT
Internet Child Explotation (ICE) Counselling Program-program manager
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-staff of the PTSD Clinic, McMaster UniversityBorderline Personality Disorder-staff of the BPD Clinic, CAMH, Toronto
Learn with Laughter-a light-hearted end to the day, Trina Hasenclever, humorist
Program details and Registration information available on the website week of September 5, 2007.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
publishes a FIELD GUIDE intended for a variety of service providers who
help survivors and families during the aftermath of mass violence and
terrorism. The Guide provides the basics of responding to those in crisis
and helping restore their dignity and sense of control by interacting with
sensitivity, kindness and respect.
Seasoned crime victim assistance and disaster mental health professions are aware of these key principles:
Distress Centres in Ontario has been at the forefront of providing compassionate support to individuals in distress or crisis for many years. The psychological first aid and supporting skills that the FIELD GUIDE suggests mirror many of the values and practices of our organizations and volunteers.
It suggests that workers should approach survivors and family members with compassion and regard for their humanity and dignity, including honouring families’ and survivors’ wishes to be left alone or deal privately with their suffering.
Workers enhance survivors’ sense of control over their situation through recognizing and reinforcing their coping strengths, providing clear information, and offering choices when appropriate. When survivors feel more secure and in control, they can better address immediate challenges. Crisis support involves guiding, listening, reassuring, and providing practical assistance.
Establishing rapport is crucial, and all such attempts must convey genuine interest and concern and a calm response. Providing comfort, support and non-judgemental response to expressed immediate needs is important. Trust and safety are enhanced by listening to what distressed survivors and family members choose to discuss and avoiding asking intrusive questions.
Listening is the practice recommended in these
situations. Specifically, they suggest these tips for
Possible Do’s and Definite Don’ts
√ You have temporarily lost your sense of safety and security. You will feel better over time.
√ It is understandable that you feel this way.
√ This is your body’s and mind’s way of dealing with what has happened to you. Your reactions are normal.
√ Feeling intense emotions and having thoughts that you have never had before is normal.
√ You are not going
√ You didn’t do anything wrong. It wasn’t your fault. You did the best you could.
√ Things will never be the same as they were, but you will gradually feel better.
≠ It could have been worse. You’re lucky that….
≠ It’s best if you just stay busy.
≠ You should count your blessings, it will make you feel better.
≠ I know just how you feel.
≠ He/she is in a better place now.
≠ You need to get on with your life.
WEBSITES, TEXT MESSAGING
An innovative addition to the resources for people in emotional distress
Distress Centres in Ontario were originally based on the befriending style of listening practiced by the Befrienders and Samaritans in the U.K. Those organizations continue to be strong resources in the British Isles, Europe and in South Eastern Countries. Recently, many of their member organizations have added SMS text messaging to their offerings of electronic services to people in emotional distress.
Their website, http://cts.vresp.com/c/?DCO/abbf2613f0/TEST/3ae5c92e24 contains self-help sections on topics such as depression, helping a suicidal friend or relative, warning signs of suicide and more. These sections are presented in 22 languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi and Finnish. Polish and Lithuanian were recently added, since according to their research Eastern Europe has some of the world’s worst suicide rates.
They recently published their statistics from the website and around 80,000 to 100,000 people use the website each month. Their highest usage month was November 2006 with over 200,000 hits. Their most popular non-English section usage included Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Finnish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese and Arabic. 92% of website visitors used Google as their search engine, followed by MSM at 3.5% and Yahoo at 2.9%.
Considering the significant resources in North America, where known, the origin of 35% of their users was the USA, followed by Japan (26.2%). Over 50% of their users were from North America, with only 0.6% from Africa.
The use of SMS, text messaging has been a service that the Samaritans have been pioneering for over a year. In April 2007 they received 11,302 text messages bringing their total messages to 156,000 texts from over 3,949 unique callers. In reviewing this service they note that text exchanges are fast, direct and to the point. For a variety of reasons including the limited number of characters or perhaps the anonymity of writing from a mobile phone, people “very quickly get to the heart of the matter”. Most of those who establish contact via text “rapidly and bluntly disclose their feelings about their situation”. Their volunteers are also reporting that the proportion of suicidal callers appears higher than on the telephones.
This method of delivering service is still in its infancy and there are improvements that need to be considered. The providers are working hard to achieve consistently low waiting times so that callers will receive a quality response quickly. While young people consider a response within 10 minutes a good response time, the average response time at present is under 90 minutes. Some of the issues affecting the response time include availability of volunteers to response on line, and volunteers may be busy responding on the telephone.
The pilot leaders are very concerned with insuring that they do not sacrifice quality or control while they engage in building a robust and reliable system. This appears to be an emergent and intriguing method of providing support to those in emotional distress. More detailed information on the U.K. pilot will be available at the Networking Day for DCO member centres in late October.
As one Samaritan volunteer said at their 2006 conference; “Looking at the texts coming in, it is wrong to say that young people don’t talk about their problems. They do, we just haven’t been listening in the right way.”
Looking Beyond Our
Periodically we find ourselves in very challenging circumstances.
We lose our jobs, get sick, experience the death of a love one, or end a long-term relationship.
We become immersed in our own pain, and our minds notice all the disappointing elements of our lives.
Our attention seems to become trapped
within the limited boundaries of our suffering.
Remember to send this newsletter to your partner agencies and all your board members and volunteers.
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|Distress Centres Ontario (DCO)
700 Lawrence Avenue West
Suite 475 A
Toronto, Ontario M6A 3B4
Phone: (416) 486-2242
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