Calgary's Distress Centre has launched a new online service that offers an alternative to those in crisis who are not comfortable talking to a counselor.

The Online Crisis Chat allows people to email in their problems and concerns to a highly trained volunteer at the centre.

The Distress Centre says that it recognizes that people have changed the way they communicate and are hoping the new service will ensure people have access to the support they need.

The online chat is available from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily on the Distress Centre's website.

"There are so many people who have a hard time verbalizing how they're feeling and verbalizing it really makes it a reality for that person. So typing it, it sort of gets them used to it and maybe when they can they can phone us," said Kim Thurn, Distress Centre Volunteer.

Last year, the centre had over 130,000 crisis calls.