About the Learning Forums

LEARNING FORUMS (from Distress and Crisis Ontario) is an innovative website for sharing information, best practices and general knowledge about a variety of topics of interest to distress centres, crisis lines and various telephone support or hot lines.

This site allows volunteers and staff to view expert seminars, one-on-one interviews and mini documentaries on topics of interest in their work or volunteer situation. They can access this information anywhere they can access a computer. It could be in their homes, between calls at their workplace or volunteer place or from their school environment.

Currently this service is available free of charge to members in good standing of the Distress and Crisis Ontario (DCO) association and their staff, volunteers and boards.

Why develop the LEARNING FORUMS?

To address two questions:

  1. How do we transfer knowledge, provide information and deliver consistent in-service training and education to 1,500 staff and volunteers scattered across the province of Ontario?
    - and -

  2. How do we translate the knowledge that private practice experts, academics, researchers and various mental health practitioners possess into a readily accessible, entertaining and informative environment that will hold the interest of 20 something learners and 60+ year-old learners alike?

The answer seemed fairly simple. We use our assets creatively! We access technology to help us make maximum use of our limited financial resources while accessing the wealth of knowledge possessed by our partners, supporters and other like-minded organizations.

With the help of a local professional videographer, an experienced web designer and the program knowledge of the DCO educational committee, the LEARNING FORUMS concept was born. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care welcomed the concept and encouraged us with modest one-time funding.

The result - We created an electronic environment where learners will have access anytime to information, training and educators from anywhere they can access the internet.

Learners can access this information in 20 to 30 minute segments or spend hours watching the streaming videos, reading related resource material or access website or other internet resources on the topic of interest.

Learning in Partnership

DCO’s vision is to foster and maintain an environment where the social fabric of Ontario is supported and no Ontarian in emotional distress suffers in silence. LEARNING FORUMS are DCO’s vision in practice.

Partnerships with various mental health agencies, hospitals, academic institutions and private practice experts provided inexpensive and readily accessible knowledge and information. Many experienced and knowledgeable clinicians, educators and community leaders were happy to share with the Distress Centre and the telephone support line community.

The site is launched with several learning topics and each month a new topic will be introduced. At launch date, fourteen video vignettes have been filmed and edited, awaiting introduction on the website.

What does the FUTURE hold?

DCO believes strongly in the concept of MOVING FORWARD THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS. We understand that many organizations struggle with the same issues that brought about the development of this site. Maybe they face a lack of financial or human resources, strained training budgets, or staff and volunteers scattered across diverse geographic areas.

We know this information is of interest to anyone in a helping or care-giving environment. We realize that the LEARNING FORUMS are also suitable for use by the wider mental health and social services community, as well as educational institutions and government or health agencies. Any organization that sees the value in having their staff and volunteers have a broad understanding of social, emotional or mental health issues will be interested.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Learning Forums team.

Latest Comments on the Learning Topics:

Upcoming learning topics:

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Hard of Hearing