History & Awards


  • 1963


    The county Mental Health Association starts a program in which mental health professionals, nurses, and other volunteers answer calls at home from depressed and suicidal people.

  • 1969

    Board members are recruited, incorporation papers are filed, office space is rented, a staff person is hired, and the Crisis Center is born.



  • 1973


    We implement our face-to-face grief counseling program. Today it’s one of the largest bereavement services in California.

  • 1976

    We begin answering all after-hours child abuse calls to Children’s Protective Services. Also, Leftovers Thrift Shop, a Crisis Center auxiliary, is founded.



  • 1979


    The county Mental Health Department begins contracting with us to provide 24-hour crisis intervention services. Also, we start a jail counseling program to help inmates deal with incarceration. Despite notable results, the program ends a year later when funding expires.

  • 1983

    We begin providing face-to-face counseling and referral services to unemployed workers. The program operates successfully for four years, until government budget cuts cause funding to end.



  • 1989


    We purchase, remodel, and move into our current office space in Walnut Creek.

  • 1993

    Our 24-hour crisis lines are certified by the American Association of Suicidology.



  • 1996


    We begin answering the county’s 24-hour homeless hotline.

  • 1997

    We begin publishing a phone book-size directory of local health and social services. Also, crisis line volunteers receive Diablo Magazine’s “Threads of Hope” award.



  • 1999


    We begin answering all after-hours elder abuse calls to Adult Protective Services. We also begin accepting calls to a new national suicide hotline (800-SUICIDE). In addition, grief counseling volunteers receive the “Threads of Hope” award from Diablo Magazine.

  • 2000

    We purchase 4,000 square feet of additional office space, doubling our facility.



  • 2001


    We launch an annual fundraising gala that today raises more than $200,000 per year.

  • 2002

    The Contra Costa County Office of Education contracts with us to start operating a 24-hour school violence tipline. Unfortunately, funding ends a year later due to state budget cuts.



  • 2004


    Our application is approved to provide 211 phone service in Contra Costa County.

  • 2005

    Long-time Crisis Center volunteer Jim Hernandez is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Also, a second national suicide is launched (800-273-TALK) with all local calls again routed to us.



  • 2007


    We publicly launch 211. We also co-sponsor the first suicide prevention conference in Contra Costa County; today it’s the largest local mental health conference of the year.

  • 2008

    We’re one of six crisis centers in the U.S. to be awarded three-year grants from SAMHSA to make follow-up calls to hotline clients (with their consent) who are suicidal.



  • 2009


    We’re awarded Mental Health Services Act funding to expand the multilingual and multicultural capacity of our crisis lines.

  • 2010

    Six large health care providers collaborate on a project to promote 211 in eastern Contra Costa to people who are newly uninsured. Also, we start three new on-campus support groups for high-risk teenage girls, making a total of four altogether.



  • 2011


    We launched a successful 1st walkathon “Help, Hope, Walk” attracting 150 participants of all ages and raising $30,000. We were also named one of the winners of Thomson Reuter’s 2011 Community Champion Awards – nominated by, one of our deeply committed volunteer grief counselors.

  • 2012

    We become one of six national lines invited to manage the overflow calls for the National Vet Admin. We launched our online crisis chat program.



  • 2013


    As the co-chair of the county-wide Suicide Prevention Committee, we launch the Contra Costa County Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan.

    All full-time call specialists achieve AIRS Certification (Alliance of Information & Referral Services).

  • 2014

    Expand Linea de Crisis – the Bay Area Spanish language crisis line to 8 hours per day.

    We complete a remodel of our call center to another section of the building, adding modern furniture and equipment upgrades.

    We retire our mortgage with help from Leftovers Thrift Shop and The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation.

    Reaccredited for five years by the American Association of Suicidology.

    Completed our VA contract.

    Launched the Help Me Grow project with Frist5 Contra Costa and partners.



  • 2015


    Replaced emergency generator that supports the Crisis Center’s work and enables continuous access to our resource database by the entire county.

  • 2016

    The Crisis Center becomes the new home for two Volunteer Center of the East Bay projects- Corporate Caring Volunteer Week and Share the Spirit nonprofit grant making.