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Educational Forum Update Issue........
November 2007  

In This Issue

  • Youth in BC go online for support
  • Seminars equip DC staff and volunteers
  • Text Like a Pro -
    Web Speak
  • Peer Elder Abuse Support Program of Peel




Text Like a Pro - Web Speak



:)     = Happy face

:D    = super happy /

          toothy smile

:(     = sad face

;)     = wink

:/    = wry face

:P    = tongue out for

          just kidding

;*    = kiss

<g> = grin

ALL CAPS = shouting

                (not polite)


BYO   = bring your own

CU     = see you

ASAP = as soon as possible

B4     = before

L8R   = later

K       = okay

JJ     = just joking

LOL  = laugh out loud

LMHO = laughing my head off

YT    = (are) you there?

Did you know?

Text messaging is quickly becoming its own language

Schools in New Zealand are allowing text messaging terms on their exams, to which one politician (Judy Turner) replied: "Skoolz r ther 2 educ8 + raze litracy 2 certn standrds." (from

Having trouble? Translate with or

DC's cn hlp ppl

Visit the new website and remember to send notification of the events that may be upcoming in your centre or area to DCO

Youth in BC go online for support

When staff at the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC saw a 70 % drop in phone calls from youth over two years (2001 - 2003), they realized there was a problem.  They ran some focus groups, and quickly discovered that youth were looking for online support rather than a phone line.    In response, they created the website  As well as chat rooms, where youth can chat online with experienced volunteers, there are also resources about suicide, depression, stress, sexuality, bullying and other issues youth face. 

As youth communication continues to shift from phone to web-based text messaging, providing web-based suicide support is becoming exponentially important.  Distress Centres Ontario included a presentation about at its recent Fall Educational Forum, to share the innovative program with staff and volunteers.

The online chat service started with part time hours, and has already extended them to 2pm to midnight, seven days a week.  They hope to expand that to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Like distress line volunteers, chat room counselors are highly trained, but have a little more leniency to reveal personal details like age and gender.

Privacy is safeguarded by locating the server in Texas, and chat logs aren't reviewed except in special circumstances, although call sheets are filed.  Users identify themselves voluntarily with a user name and age.

The service won the Celebration of Community Award from the local United Way, for its innovative response to changing social conditions.  And hopefully their innovation is paving the way for many other Distress Centres to offer web-based support to their callers.  

Educational Forum sessions equip DC staff & volunteers

The Educational Forum’s Friday program featured three seminars about populations that are at a high risk for suicide. People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have experienced a trauma like a death or violence, but replay the event in their minds, resulting in numbness and hyperarousal. Screening questions and treatment options were discussed.   

Victims of childhood internet sexual exploitation experience difficulty in school, impaired skill development, emotional anxiety and fear which can intensify to hopelessness, leaving them vulnerable to suicide.  Effective responses include empathizing, asking non-leading questions and acceptance.  The provincial government has a comprehensive strategy to identify victims and provide resources for them.   

People with Borderline Personality Disorder are characterized by recurrent suicidal or self mutilating behavior, fear of abandonment, unstable intense relationships, identity disturbance, impulsivity, anger, and paranoid ideation or dissociation. Treatment methods include psychotherapy, medication and skills development.  

Distress Centre workers left the seminars more informed about some of the people they talk to on the phones.

Peel Elder Abuse Support Program of Peel 

On Wednesday November 28, 2007, Distress Centre Peel and Family Services of Peel launched the Peel Elder Abuse Support Program. Combining their core strengths, Distress Centre Peel and Family Services of Peel are partnering to provide a confidential telephone line with access to the services of a facilitator. Seniors who may be suffering abuse will be able to speak to a trained volunteer peer who is a senior themselves, discuss their problem confidentially, and be referred to the program facilitator for services.   

·         There are over 115,000 seniors aged 65 and over living in Peel Region. Older adults over the age of 55 are the fastest growing age cohort in Peel Region.

·         10% of seniors will experience some type of abuse or have experienced it already.

·        Until this service, there was nothing of the kind available in Peel. Abused seniors do not have a place to go for help.

·       Canadian literature shows that seniors want support groups and support lines.

·       When disclosing about abuse seniors prefer to speak to a peer for support. 

Funding from the United Way of Peel Region has made the Peel Elder Abuse Support program possible. Working with the Peel Elder Abuse Prevention Network (PEAPN), a consortium of fifty Peel agencies serving seniors, it is envisioned that this program will be the start of a foundation and infrastructure of much-needed services for abused seniors in Peel.   

For 34 years Distress Centre Peel has been providing emotional support to Peel citizens struggling with distress associated with everyday problems. Often, those who call are experiencing depression, living with mental health issues, dealing with loneliness/isolation, or may be feeling suicidal. Our trained volunteers offer emotional support and referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are anonymous, confidential and free of charge.  Last year volunteers responded to over 38, 000 calls.

Family Services of Peel (FSP) was established in 1971 as a non-profit, non-governmental agency to provide professional counselling and learning for living education services for the people of Peel. FSP is a multi-service agency that delivers a range of preventive, counselling, crisis, advocacy and educational services that focus on promoting and enhancing the well-being of individuals, couples and families.

submitted by:Linda Gerger,  Distress Centre Peel


Next Month

Education Committee Values Statement

Volunteer Management Working Group Terms of Reference and Work Plan 

Ontario Suicide Prevention Network, an update




Upcoming Events


Visioning Day

February 1st in Niagara Falls for senior staff, leadership personnel and Board Members of member centres.  We will be looking at the future of the Distress Line movement in Ontario.  Plan on participating and impacting the future! 

Networking Days for staff, leader volunteers and Board members at least twice a year



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DCO Distress Centres Ontario
700 Lawrence Ave W.
Suite 475 A
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