In 1969 this area was deemed a good site in which to begin research on suicide. Dr. Richard McGee, of the University of Florida Clinical Psychology Department, administered a grant funded with federal, local and university money to study the incidence of suicide. Early on it was noted that not only was this a good research site, but also a community in need of assistance. Thus, in December 1969, the Suicide and Crisis Intervention Service (SCIS) was opened.
The Information & Referral Service (I&R) was founded in 1972. These services merged in 1975 to form the Alachua County Crisis Center. In 1983, I&R became a separate program under United Way. The Victim Services & Rape Crisis Programs were added to the Center in 1979 and 1981 respectively. In October 1982, the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) became conjoined with the Center to form the Department of Volunteer Services. In 1984, the Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center became a separate program under the Department of Volunteer Services.
Since 1991, the Crisis Center has functioned as an office of the Department of Community Support Services, which is administered by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. The Center offers most of its direct services through the use of highly trained volunteers and graduate students in mental health fields. Five professional staff share responsibility for administration, supervision, coordination of direct services to clients, pre-service and in-service training of approximately 120 volunteers per year as well as community consultation and education. These staff positions include the Director, a clinical coordinator, a volunteer coordinator, a training coordinator and a special projects coordinator.
The Alachua County Crisis Center continues to offer 24 hr/day phone crisis and suicide intervention counseling to all residents of Alachua County. In 2004, the Center responded to over 60,000 calls on our crisis lines and another 45,000 calls on our Rumor Control system during hurricane season. 41,700 hours were required by volunteers and staff to fully operate our programs. For more information about our range of services, please visit the services section or contact us at 352-264-6785.