HOUGHTON — Dial Help is a nonprofit crisis center serving the Upper Peninsula, located in Houghton, which offers a wide array of services to residents in need. Among the programs it offers are: youth services, victim services, substance use disorder peer recovery coaching, in-school prevention, in-home family support and education and training programs. It also offers crisis counseling and suicide prevention skills training.
Dial Help was formed in 1971 by a group of citizens concerned about drug abuse. From that original group of volunteers who manned the crisis line, it has grown into a nonprofit organization of over 50 staff and volunteers offering a variety of services. The mission of Dial Help is to promote the physical, emotional and social well-being of its communities. It accomplishes this goal by providing problem assistance, crisis intervention, referrals, education and training.
Virginia Lambert, MS, with Dial Help’s Victim Services, said the crisis line is what people most associate with Dial Help. The line, she said, went Upper Peninsula-wide in 1976. Lambert spoke at a public program about mental health services and challenges in the community, that took place on May 11 at the Portage Lake District Library. Representatives from three agencies and an organization provided information on resources available to those seeking help or information on mental illness and treatment.
“We have 24-hour access to trained crisis specialists,” Lambert said at a public presentation at the library in Houghton last week. In addition to calling, she added, people can now text and also instant message through the website (https://dialhelp.org/).
“We are able to reach a broader group of people because, as you know, a lot of our kids don’t want to pick up the phone and call us, they’d rather shoot you a text,” she said. “So, we’re trying to keep up with the times and be relatable to the folks that want to reach out for help.”
Lambert said Dial Help also operates a Safety Net Program that offers follow-up support by phone call or text message for people dealing with suicide risk or loss, addiction or complex crisis.
Follow up includes:
– Emotional support
– On-going assessment of mood and potential suicide risk or relapse
– Assistance with safety planning
– Connection to resources to overcome barriers.
“The program offers follow-up support for folks that are having some problems — maybe some suicidal ideation, some complex trauma — maybe you lost somebody to suicide and you just want somebody to follow up with you.”
Sometimes, it is difficult to make an appointment with counselors, she said, adding, “In between, you can have somebody from our agency reach out to you, kind of check in, safety plan with you, find you resources you might need, in the middle of waiting for your next counseling appointment.”
The Safety Net Program is available throughout the U.P., according to Lambert.
In addition, there is the National Suicide Crisis Line that Dial Help answers.
“We are hearing stuff from all across the nation,” said Lambert, “and it’s really incredible and exciting to see people reaching out when they need help — like, the stigma can stop now.”
Dial Help operates its Youth One-Stop Program, which is a mental health counseling therapy group, family support and other clinical supports for youth in crises, Lambert said.
The website states that the program offers specialized services for risk dealing with mental health, substance use, or other issues; includes crisis intervention, referrals, follow-up, family support and counseling.
Lambert said Dial Help has people at many schools in the area who are there for specific purposes. They can receive support for kids in crisis or that may be on the verge of crisis.
Lambert said the program operates in at least five area schools and continues to grow.
“The more people who have been hearing about this program — the benefits that they’re seeing from it,” she said, “the more schools are signing on and letting us in, and letting us help the youth.”
Dial Help also conducts emergency room suicide assessments through U.P. Health Systems.
Another program significant to the community offered by Dial Help is its Support for Victims of Crimes. These include sexual assault, child abuse, as well as other crimes, including elder abuse and domestic violence.
The Support for Victims of Crimes program will be examined in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Mining Gazette.
For more information on Dial Help and its services, visit its website at https://dialhelp.org/ or
Business Line: 906-482-9077
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org (This email is not continually monitored, use crisis contacts above for crisis services)
– Crisis call: 800-562-7622 or 906-482-HELP
– Crisis text: 35NEEDS (906-356-3337)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series that will explore services available for mental health-related issues, including assessments, insurance and programs available in the four-county area.