Online Help

If you're not comfortable using the phone, or would prefer to talk with someone online about your problems, then our online chat might be right for you.

Online Crisis Chat

Chat is available from 3pm - 10pm daily and is accessed in the top right corner of our home page.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're not ready to talk but are looking for some information, then the list below might be helpful. We've included a list of some of the most common questions and concerns we hear about as well as some basic information and referrals.

In addition to the resources below, you can always call our 24-hour crisis line at 403.266.HELP (4357). We are here to listen to your feelings and concerns and support you with your needs.

At Distress Centre, we are here to listen and support you with your needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

No matter who you are or what you’re facing, we can help. Whether it’s the stress of a new job, struggling with drugs or getting over a recent break-up, our volunteers and professional staff are always there when you need someone to talk to. Calls are confidential and non-judgemental, and no issue is too small to talk about with us. 

You can reach us 24 hours a day by calling our crisis line at 403-266-HELP (4357). Or, chat on-line with our volunteers between 5 pm - 10 pm MT, 7 days a week. Chat is accessed through the home page of www.distresscentre.com. When the green light is lit, chat is available.

If you'd prefer to receive information or support via email, contact help@distresscentre.com. Emails are not monitored 24 hours a day, however all emails are responded to within 24 - 48 hours. If the issue is urgent, please call our crisis line for an immediate response.

Being a teen can be tough. If you ever have a question, a problem or just need someone to talk to, our ConnecTeen youth volunteers are here to help. To speak directly with a youth peer, call 403-264-TEEN (8336) or visit www.CalgaryConnecTeen.com to chat on-line between 5 pm – 10 pm MT, 7 days a week. Or, e-mail ConnecTeen. Emails will receive a response within 24 - 48 hours, so this is best when the question is not urgent and no one is in danger.

If you prefer to talk to one of our professional crisis counsellors face-to-face, please call the crisis line 403-266-HELP (4357) to request an intake for counselling.

Going through a break-up can be a difficult time and it’s normal to go through a number of emotions. Many of us go through a grieving process over the loss of our relationships. Giving yourself time to grieve the loss and access supports if needed may be helpful.

Talking with someone you trust about your feelings can help. You may also find speaking with a professional counsellor helpful. Please call 211 to learn about counselling services available in Calgary.   

The break-up of a relationship is further complicated if there are children involved and there are custody issues, or personal possessions need to be divided. Some places you can access for support are Calgary Legal Guidance or Alberta Family Mediation Society.

Experiencing ups and downs in our mood is a normal part of life. Depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. You may also notice physical changes or changes in mood, thought patterns or behaviour.  It is important to remember that whatever you are feeling, you are not alone and help and support is available.

For information on some common signs and symptoms of depression from the Canadian Mental Health Association, please click here.

Only a doctor can diagnose depression so if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, the best idea is to talk to your doctor for more information. If you do not have a family doctor, you can call Health Link Alberta at 811 or visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find a walk-in clinic or a doctor accepting new patients. You can also call Access Mental Health at 403-943-1500 to be connected with professional mental health programs through Alberta Health Services. 

For more urgent situations requiring in-person intervention or support, you may want to call the Distress Centre crisis line at 403-266-HELP (4357) and ask for the Mobile Response Team (MRT). They are a mental health assessment team composed of psychologists, social workers, and nurses through Alberta Health Services, located in Calgary.

At times, you may have thoughts of suicide or self-harm and feel that there is no hope. You are not alone if you are feeling this way. Please read our section on suicide below if you are having thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm.


We all go through points in our lives where we feel down, but sometimes those feelings can become so overwhelming that you may consider ending your life. It is important to know that you are not alone in these feelings and that there is help. Our trained volunteers are available 24/7 at 403-266-HELP (4357) to talk with you when you feel like you have nowhere else to turn and to connect you with professional supports such as the Mobile Response Team (MRT), a team of psychologists, social workers, and nurses in Calgary.  Our volunteers can also complete an intake for counselling with Registered Social Workers at the Distress Centre. Our counselling services and crisis line are free of charge and confidential. 

If your thoughts of suicide are related to struggling with mental illness and you are not currently under the care of a Psychiatrist then you can also call Access Mental Health at 403-943-1500. They are able to connect you with professional mental health programs through Alberta Health Services.  Please note, this is not a crisis service but a point of access to receive mental health care within Alberta Health Services.

If you feel that you are immediately going to harm yourself it is important that you go to your nearest hospital’s emergency room. If you cannot make it to a hospital please call 911.

It can be hard to know what to do when someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide. You may be unsure whether it’s ok to ask someone whether they are suicidal, and where to go for help.

It is important to take any threat or talk of suicide seriously.  Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide shows you care about their well-being and does not increase risk for suicide. It is ok to ask the person directly if they are having thoughts of suicide, and to listen and let them talk about their feelings.  Every situation is different, and if you are unsure how to approach the situation, we encourage you to call our crisis line at 403-266-HELP (4357), chat or email  us to explore your specific situation and talk about what steps you can take next.

If the person tells you that they are feeling as though they are going to act on their suicidal thoughts,  it is important to help get that person to a hospital emergency room, where they can be assessed by a mental health professional. If you feel unable to assist the person to the hospital then call 911 and tell them what is happening.

If that person is having thoughts of suicide but has no plan on hurting themself, then it is important to connect that person with professional supports. You can provide them with our crisis line number, 403-266-HELP (4357) or suicide hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2344) (toll free in Southern Alberta), where trained volunteers can provide specific referrals to meet individual needs.  Our volunteers are also available to talk with you about the situation should you need the support.


The passing of someone you care about is painful. Grieving a loss is normal, and everyone will experience this process differently. There is no right or wrong way for a person to grieve. Some people deal with their grief quickly and for others the grief will last longer. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many places you can go for support to deal with this loss.

Alberta Health Services’ Grief Support Services offers individual and grief support groups. You can also access our counselling services. Hospice Calgary also offers counselling services specializing in helping people through the passing of a loved one.

You can also call 211 to learn about other counselling services available in Calgary.

Financial struggles can be really stressful, and not knowing where to turn or how to get help can be overwhelming. Below are some quick tips on where you can go to get help with common financial issues.

Rent & Utilities: Call 211 for help connecting with financial assistance programs in Calgary.

Food: If you find yourself unable or struggling to pay for food there are several resources in the city of Calgary that may be of help to you, including The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank and The Alex Community Health Centre, where you can ask to be connected with various community food programs. Calgary Meals on Wheels can prepare and deliver nutritious and affordable meals to your door providing you with meals for up to seven days a week regardless of your age or finances. The Community Kitchen Program of Calgary also has multiple options for making food more affordable for you and your family.

Shelter: If you find yourself with no money and no place to stay, you can access Calgary’s Homeless Shelters, including The Calgary Drop-In Centre, The Mustard Seed, The Centre of Hope, or the Salvation Army: Women’s Integrated Supportive Housing (contact by phone at 403-930-2711). These shelters also provide transitional programs to help you get back on your feet and find a home.

If you have questions or have accessed these services and are still in need, please call 211 and explain your situation. An information and referral specialist will help you determine your next step.

Substance use and gambling can be tough subjects for many people as different people may have different values and ideas about how much is too much. One question you may want to ask yourself is whether the desire or need to use alcohol, drugs or gambling is something you control or whether it controls you? Are you physically or psychologically dependent on it? Does it affect major areas of your life like family, friends, work, school, health, finances or spirituality in a negative way, and yet you are compelled to keep doing it?  If it’s impacting one or more of these areas then it could be an issue or concern for you.

Something to consider doing is a self-assessment as a starting point, such as the World Health Organization’s AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identifications Test). Ask a doctor about doing this assessment or take the test yourself.

There are many options available including detox and treatment programs, support groups and more. You may find it helpful to speak with your family doctor, or to call Alberta Health Services Mental Health and Addiction at 403-297-3071 or Access Mental Health at 403-943-1500 to explore your options or to access counselling and support.

Feeling really overwhelmed and stressed is a tough place to be. Some symptoms of stress may be that you are not able to sleep, eat or perform daily activities, and you may find it hard to concentrate. It may also mean that you are worrying about something and it could be creating some anxiety for you. Under the circumstances, these can be normal feelings to have when really overwhelmed and sometimes talking with someone about these feelings can help you to organize your thoughts and find ways to cope, as well as provide support.

Talking to a close friend, family member or someone you trust about your stress may be a good place to start. Talking to your family doctor about your stress can also be helpful as they can recommend appropriate referrals for counselling support. If you do not have a family doctor, you can call Health Link Alberta at 811 or visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find a walk-in clinic or a doctor accepting new patients.

In addition, there are many agencies in Calgary that offer professional counselling, either on a drop-in basis or through appointment. Distress Centre offers free, short term crisis-focused counselling that can be accessed by calling our 24-hour crisis line at 403-266-HELP (4357) and asking for an intake for counselling. You can also call 211 to learn about other counselling services available in Calgary.

Abuse can come in different forms, from neglect and verbal assaults that are painful and hurtful to the person receiving them, to emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual and financial abuse. Someone who is being abused may recognize that something isn't right about how they are being treated, but they may be afraid to name it as abuse or to seek help.

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, please don’t hesitate to call 911. If you are not comfortable calling police or there is no immediate risk of harm, you can call the Distress Centre crisis line at 403-266-HELP (4357) or the 24 hour Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818. They also have chat available from noon to 8pm daily.

To report situations involving child abuse, you can call Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-387-KIDS (5437). If youth are involved, the Community Resource Team (CRT) at 403-299-9699 is a 24-hour support service based out of Calgary that specializes in working with youth. If you are experiencing sexual abuse, contact Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse at 403-237-5888.

The Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network provides support for those experiencing or who suspect elder abuse. The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters provides a list of women’s shelters and their contact information in Alberta.

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