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2023 in review

2023 in review

Before we dive completely into the new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on 2023.  

In 2023, we responded to over 144,000 contacts, including: 

  • Over 54,000 crisis contacts (calls, chats, texts), which includes over 4,100 ConnecTeen contacts 
  • Over 50,000 211 contacts. This includes the contacts answered and transferred through our 211/911 colocation work with Calgary Police, the City of Calgary, Alpha House Society and The Alex Community Health Centre, diverting 911 calls to more appropriate supports 
  • Over 2,000 counselling contacts  
  • Over 14,000 Coordinated Entry contacts  
  • Over 11,800 Talk Suicide and 988 contacts (988 replaced Talk Suicide when it launched on November 30) 
  • Over 11,800 contacts for partner agencies, which includes the Family Violence Info Line, Bullying Helpline, Red Deer Social Diversion and The Way-In 
Current and former ConnecTeen volunteers and staff at the CT 40th Anniversary event in September.

At the heart of these numbers and at the heart of all the work we do, is human connection. A human connecting with another human to offer kindness, guidance and a safe space to turn to during dark times.  

We know how difficult it is out there right now. People are struggling to find housing, afford basic needs, manage relationship stress and take care of their mental health. Many are dealing with multiple issues at once.  

If you or someone you know needs support, you can contact us for 24/7 crisis or 211 support, submit an intake for counselling or access our Coordinated Entry services. 

While recognizing the challenges our community and world are facing right now, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of our wins from the past year.  

Representatives from the agencies that founded SORCe at the 10 year anniversary event in August.
  • 988 launched in Canada! 9-8-8 is a new national three-digit helpline that provides urgent, live support by phone and text for anyone who is thinking about suicide, or who is worried about someone they know. Distress Centre Calgary is a 9-8-8 partner and part of the network of crisis lines across the country whose responders take 9-8-8 calls and texts   
  • This year we celebrated 40 years of our ConnecTeen program. ConnecTeen first launched as the Teen Line in 1983 as a first-of-its-kind space in Canada where teens could talk to other teens who could understand and relate to the problems they were going through. In the last decade alone, ConnecTeen has responded to over 45,000 contacts 
  • We celebrated this milestone by launching a new modern brand for ConnecTeen  
  • We also celebrated the 10 year anniversary of SORCe! SORCe (Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre) opened its doors on June 18th, 2013, with the goal of creating one location where multiple agencies work together to help people experiencing or facing homelessness. Distress Centre has been at SORCe serving Calgary’s most vulnerable since the beginning – from the 2013 flood that unfolded days after SORCe opened, to COVID-19 response, to the housing and addictions crises we face today in our city 
  • In June we held the first annual Drive for Distress Golf Tournament and had such a ball (or two, if you count the mulligans) that we are bringing it back for 2024 – stay tuned for more information coming soon! 
  • We also launched our Proactive Conversations Training and provided evidence-based external training on how to handle crises and navigate difficult conversations to 192 people 
  • Thanks to the incredible support of the PODvocate Project, we were able to launch two new websites, for Distress Centre and ConnecTeen. These were two projects of many that POD helped us with over the course of the year and we are so grateful they chose us as their charity
  • We continued to respond to crisis, 211 and partner contacts, provide professional counselling and support people experiencing or facing homelessness through our Coordinated Entry program

So much more happened in 2023 that it cannot be contained in one article. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook) to stay up-to-date on our work.  

We’re excited for what 2024 holds for our agency. We couldn’t do the work we do without our people, the staff and volunteers of Distress Centre, as well as the donors, funders, community partners and advocates who support our mission. We also want to acknowledge every person who reached out for help in 2023. Thank you for your bravery. 

To support our work, consider donating or signing up to volunteer.  

In the spirit of respect, reciprocity and truth, Distress Centre Calgary would like to honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we acknowledge all Nations – Indigenous and non – who live, work and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.