History of the Center
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. Several professional staff share responsibility for administration, supervision, coordination of direct services to clients, training of volunteers, consultation, and education. These staff positions include a director, volunteer program team members, mobile response team members, clinical staff, call center interventionists, and staff that oversee volunteer training, projects, and data management.
History of 311 Critical Information
First activated in 1990 after the student murders, 311 Critical Information, originally known as "Rumor Control", has consistently offered a 24/7 number to anyone seeking information or assistance during times of community trauma. Over the years, 311 Critical Information has been activated for wildfires, storm threats, toxic spills, September 11th, and miscellaneous threatening rumors encountered by our schools or community. 311 Critical Information is available 24/7 to respond to concerns arising from any type of actual or potential tragedy or disaster that might impact our community. During Hurricane Season 2004, 45,000 calls were received from concerned and distressed citizens. At peak times, phone counselors handled over 500 calls per hour. Most recently, 311 Critical Information was activated for during the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.