In reporting on suicides, media should protect the most vulnerable and foster informed discussion, not encourage stigma.
Ms. Letofsky is the Executive Director of [Distress Centres and the Survivor Support Program](http://www.torontodistresscentre.com) in Toronto – Canada’s oldest 24-hour crisis response and suicide prevention helpline, and a critical component of the city's emotional safety net. Over her 35 years of experience as a grief counselor, she has developed innovative suicide prevention/postvention, crisis response, and telephone counseling programs, to pioneer the development and delivery of Tragic Events Response protocols within a variety of organizational settings. In 1979, she created the Canadian Pioneer Survivor Support Programme – a counseling service for individuals and families bereaved by suicide. In 2001 she expanded its mandate, in response to an identified gap in services, to support those impacted by a death by homicide. The support model continues to be innovative and has responded to the high-risk needs of more than 15,000 people impacted by sudden violent death. It has also served as a prototype for other communities developing similar types of support. In 1995, she became Co-Executive Director of the Distress Centres. Under her stewardship, beginning in 2001, all of the telephone distress centers in Toronto merged into one networked, community-based agency, which today employs 500 volunteers responding to 120,000 calls annually. With access as a priority, a dedicated line for the hearing impaired and the use of the 151- language interpreter service were added. In 2003, she became the Executive Director. To date, she has helped develop the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, the PAIRO Helpline for distressed doctors-in-training and their families, and the EMS Helpline. She completed an honours BA, along with coursework toward a MA, at the University of Toronto. She is winner of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention's National Service Award and the Doug Lear Memorial Award for her work as a member of the Bloor Viaduct Barrier Steering Committee. In 2007, she was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.