In 1963, the Reverend Dr. Alan Walker of Sydney, Australia, founded the Life Line Program. Life Line was designed to train volunteers to be available by telephone to callers 24 hours a day. On the heels of this program, a similar program was created at the Munger Place United Methodist Church in Dallas under the name CONTACT. In the fall of 1966, a class of 150 people began their extensive training as telephone help line volunteers. On March 27, 1967, CONTACT Dallas became the first center in the United States and the model agency for a nationwide network of crisis intervention lines known as CONTACT USA.
Since that time our leadership has endeavored to meet the recognized need of the community gathered from the base of caller concerns. Over the past 47 years, the CONTACT board has successfully created program services derived from the core crisis help line program to enhance our role in the overall continuum of care for our callers. Through those efforts the following services were established:
1983 – Emergency Assistance and Safe Rides
Emergency safe transportation provided to those individuals in dangerous or life-threatening situations to the safety of local teen runaway, domestic violence and homeless shelters or hospitals; and emergency new and refill prescription assistance provided for life-sustaining medications.
1986 – Teen CONTACT
Education and outreach programs to approximately 20,000 young people, their parents and educators annually including; two dedicated crisis lines, nationally recognized Just Talk About It Suicide Prevention Toolkit, Teen Board, sync. Summer Leadership training and Support Groups for teens diagnosed with depression or bipolar and their parents/guardians.
2009 – Spanish Language Lines
Two crisis lines dedicated to the growing population of Spanish speaking individuals in our community. The lines are currently available on a limited bases.
2010 – Follow Up/Aftercare
Through a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) calls are now provided to callers who present on the crisis lines with mid to high suicidal ideation to ensure sustained safety from self-harm and to reassess the need for emergent intervention from community resources. Additionally, in partnership with Parkland Health and Hospital System’s psychiatric emergency department follow up calls made patients discharged who presented with suicidal ideation to increase attendance to outpatient visits and to connect those patients with on-going non emergent resources, the CONTACT crisis lines.
CONTACT Crisis Line is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit agency funded by contributions from religious and civic organizations, individuals, foundations, and corporations. CONTACT does not receive financial support from United Way. The board, staff, and volunteers are committed to offering the caring, positive human contact we believe is an essential resource for individuals, families and communities dealing with everyday life challenges