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Distress Centre recruiting more volunteers as demand increases over the holidays

A few more volunteers are needed to make sure anyone struggling with their mental health in the Leeds-Grenville area has someone to talk to. 

Chloe Looyen, the Community and Engagement Coordinator for the Distress Centre of Leeds and Grenville, says her team is nearing its volunteer recruitment goals. 

“We have been getting volunteers fairly steadily,” Looyen explains, “although our goal is to have about 60 volunteers, and right now we’re sitting at about 45, although we do have quite a few that are currently being onboarded.” 

The Distress Centre runs a mental health support phone line from 5:00 PM until midnight every single day, including holidays. 

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Looyen says getting 60 total volunteers will mean there’s at least two people to work every shift the Distress Centre offers. 

“We’d ideally have two people working each shift so that we’re not having to have too many people wait in the queue, or not be able to get through,” she says. 

It’s also important to bring in more people, she says, since the Distress Centre sees an increase in demand and call volume during the holiday season. 

“People tend to be in more of an anxious state around this time of year,” Looyen explains. “Especially the winter holidays, although we do see an increase in calls over basically every holiday, but this time of year tends to be particularly difficult for a lot of people.” 

Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old, but Looyen says there are no other requirements. If you want to help, she says you can email Distress Centre staff.  

Looyen also encourages you to call the Distress Centre at 1-800-465-4442 if you need to talk to someone about your mental health.  

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