Today is International Day of Happiness, which is a day that promotes awareness about the social determinants that support happiness and or general well-being.The United Nations celebrates  International Day of Happiness “as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015 the UN launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness”. With respect to the first two aspects of well-being and happiness (ending poverty and reducing inequality), the World Health Organization  notes that “an overwhelming majority of people with mental and psycho-social disabilities are living in poverty, poor physical health, and are subject to human rights violations ,[and] mental health issues cannot be considered in isolation from other areas of development, such as education, employment, emergency responses and human rights capacity building”. With this in mind, on this International Day Of Happiness I want to draw attention to an organization that is promoting happiness in Ontario, through social and mental health support.


Many people in Ontario (and worldwide) who struggle with social isolation, or who might have a mental health or psychosocial disability, have come to rely on support from the Distress Centres  . The Distress Centres provides much needed social support, to help reduce the loneliness and or social isolation that can negatively impact someones mental health and overall well-being.

The Distress Centres has been around since 1967, and  provides 24-hour, 365 days a year, response to those experiencing emotional distress or in need of crisis intervention and suicide prevention. They also provide face-to-face support and counseling to people dealing with the effects of suicide and homicide. The Distress Centres continues to expand, with call volume increasing each year.  As the home to the only 24 Hour Distress Line in Toronto, Distress Centres now receives more than 120,000 calls annually, with 600 highly trained volunteers providing round-the-clock coverage.  Distress Centres is the point of first access in the city for individuals in crisis requiring emotional first aid.

Also, did you know that the Distress Centres is a great place to volunteer?  If you want to give back to your community why not contact them to volunteer. This is a great role for those in the helping professions (i.e. social workers, physiologists, nurses, etc.), or anyone who likes supporting and engaging with others in a meaningful way.

Wishing you good mental health on this International Day of Happiness, and beyond!


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