How a phone call saved John’s life


John “The Milkman” Mielke is one of the more than one million people helped by the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region over the past 49 years.

A career radio broadcaster and entrepreneur, John spends much of his time in front of a microphone speaking to a large audience. But underneath his energetic personality, John struggles with depression and once tried to end his own life.

The first call John made after his suicide attempt was to the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region. The Distress Centre is a 24/7 crisis support line for people looking for help of all kinds. Whether it’s an urgent crisis or someone looking to vent after a frustrating day at work, this United Way partner has over 200 volunteers answering over 50,000 calls each year.

Though John’s battle with depression resurfaces from time to time, it has inspired him to speak more openly about his mental health challenges on his radio show, Blast the Radio. By reducing the stigma and educating others about where they can turn for help, John’s goal is to help anyone who might be struggling find the help they need.

People of all ages, education, income levels and cultures can experience mental health difficulties. Your donations to United Way directly support critical, community-based services like 24/7 crisis lines, counselling and peer support groups – the mental health support people need, when they need it most.

Since 2011, United Way-funded programs gave 150,469 people in crisis a place to turn to for help. This includes women escaping domestic violence, children recovering from trauma and people of all backgrounds seeking support.



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