Who We Are

Distress and Crisis Ontario (DCO) is an administrative membership association, registered as a non-profit charity in April of 1983, that supports advocacy, networking, and training for many Distress Centres (DCs) across Ontario. DCs offer instant support and a variety of services to their communities and are a place where you can find a listening ear for anyone who is feeling lonely, depressed, is struggling with suicidal ideation, or who is otherwise in need of support. Most centres operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and may include suicide survivor programs, LGBTQ+ friendly services, support services for youth, telephone call-out programs for seniors and other vulnerable populations, mental health crisis lines, and more.

Our values


Collaboration and empowerment




Distress Centres (DCs) across Ontario offer real-time support and a variety of other services that address the needs of their communities.

DCs provide their listening and referral services for free, primarily through highly trained and committed volunteers who are knowledgeable individuals who are dedicated to ensuring that the highest levels of support and innovation in service provision are offered to their communities.

In everything we do here at Distress and Crisis Ontario (DCO) we aim to provide advocacy for our Members and the distress/crisis sector, training for volunteers and leadership, and to foster networking among Member centres to allow for partnerships and growth among the sector.

Our strategic priorities for 2020-2022:


Strengthen collaboration and work in concert to bolster the sustainability of DCO and our member organizations.

Member benefits and services

Enhance the value of membership to ensure benefits and services meet members’ needs.

Marketing and communications

Engage members in employing marketing and communication more strategically.

Relationship building

Foster strategic relationships internally amongst members and externally with like-minded partners, while positioning DCO as an expert resource in the provision of rapid access to emotional, distress, crisis and suicide support.

DCO organizational structure

Review key organizational components to ensure currency, effectiveness and efficiency; then realign and reorganize where necessary.


To be an association that is the recognized leader in promotion, collaboration, and building capacity within organizations that provide distress and crisis response.


To foster an environment of collaboration and networking while providing universal access to support for individuals in distress and crisis.

Thank you to our major funder and supporter