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Distress Centre Calgary / Crisis  / Distress Centre turns 50 TODAY!

Distress Centre turns 50 TODAY!

Happy birthday Distress Centre! We first opened our doors 50 years ago on April 14th, 1970. We’ve changed names and locations many times over the years, but our focus on listening and volunteerism remains the same. Watch the video below to experience 50 years of answering the call for help.

Distress Centre has an exciting and storied history that we’ve been exploring in our 50 Stories series. Here are a few highlights from our 50 years:

  • April 14, 1970: We opened our doors as the Drug Information Centre, with the goal of providing unbiased drug information and education, crisis intervention and research.
  • 1975: By the mid-70s our focus had shifted from purely drug-based education to human crisis in general. With that we changed our name to the Distress Centre/Drug Centre.
  • 1983: The Teen Line was launched to provide the youth of Calgary with a place to call for peer-to-peer support. This service was the first of its kind in Canada. The Teen Line rebranded as ConnecTeen in 2011.
  • 1990s: Free counselling with short wait times became a significant part of the services provided by the DC/DC in the 90s, along with specific lines for gambling and drug addiction, men’s and seniors’ issues.
  • 2005: 211 launched in Calgary! 211 is an information and referral service that connects Calgarians to the right service for their issue. 211 Calgary is celebrating their 15th Anniversary this year!
  • 2010: We became Distress Centre Calgary, introducing the brand and logo we have today and consolidated our lines to one memorable number: 403-266-HELP
  • 2020: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we mobilized our staff to work remotely so they could continue to provide crisis, 211 and counselling services to the community during this uncertain time.

In 1970, 60 volunteers responded to 3,837 calls and 1,724 drop-ins. In 2019, 240 volunteers and 80 staff responded to 133,834 contacts. We are eternally grateful for the countless people over our 50-year history who volunteered or worked at Distress Centre and shaped it into the agency it is today.

Our continued work would not be possible without the support of our funders, donors and community partners. Thank you!

Throughout our 50-year history, we have responded to over 2.5 million contacts.

That’s 2.5 million calls, emails, chats, texts as well as assisting clients who need counselling or help with urgent financial issues. The one thing that hasn’t changed is our core values. Our 24 hour service is free, confidential, volunteer driven, accessible, and provided by a team of dedicated individuals.

We have survived economic downturns, funding challenges, and local disasters. Today we will survive COVID-19.

To support our continued work and response to the current pandemic, please donate now:

Our Impact Funders: