Distress Centre sees increase in calls from new clients following Robin Williams' death

In the wake of the suicide of comedian Robin Williams the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region has seen an increase in calls for help, including from new callers.

The Distress Centre said callers are making specific mention of Robin Williams when they talk about what prompted their call.

"It's pretty normal for people to include that in a conversation or include what's going on in the community in a conversation, just because it is a worldwide topic and it's definitely something that we're quite aware of," said Leslie Scott, the community relations coordinator for the Distress Centre.

Scott said the increase in new callers may be because more people now know the centre exists.

"That's what our hope is, is that people have been hearing us or seeing us on the news this week and are listening to the message to reach out before their struggle becomes too much," she said.

In 2013 roughly 15 per cent of the 43,000 calls received by the Distress Centre were connected to suicidal thoughts, risk of suicide, and survivors who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Scott said the highly trained volunteers are able to de-escalate nearly every call they receive.

The Distress Centre can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 613-238-3311 in Ottawa.

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