Dial Help crisis line supported with $10K grant from City Council

HOUGHTON – The City Council approved $10,000 for Dial Help on Wednesday to help with its funding needs.

Rebecca Crane, director of Dial Help, described the agency’s functions, which include responding to mental health issues and abuse situations.

“Sometimes when people are already in crisis or suicidal, they’re not their best advocate, they don’t know what resources are out there,” she said. “If there’s a barrier to a resource, they don’t know how to navigate around it. That’s our job, to help them do that.”

The agency is on call 24 hours a day, Crane said. Over the past year, Dial Help was called out 19 times, serving 40 people directly. Aside from some adult sexual assault programs, Dial Help must come up with funding itself for staff time, Crane said.

Dial Help also provides death notifications or stays behind with families in times of crisis to provide support.

While Dial Help receives some grants, many of the grants are restrictive in what they fund, Crane said.

“We have some very extensive obligations that we have to do to even keep our contract with our funders, but they’re not allowed to pay us for it,” Crane said. “They really just expect us to be able to figure out how to be able to bridge those funding gaps ourselves.”

Dial Help also raises money through fundraisers and donations, which this year has only covered about 16 percent of the gap, Crane said.

Houghton Police Chief John Donnelly said the department calls Dial Help on a regular basis.

“They can come over and stay with that victim,” he said. “They can call them. They can be the person that’s not there to judge or interrogate. The amount of services they provide is amazing.”

Houghton Police. Lt. Nick Roberts, a board member of Dial Help, said Dial Help will also go to other municipalities, law enforcement departments and hospitals in the three-county area.

“Without Dial Help here, lives could very well be lost.” he said. “If we lose Dial Help, we lose part of our community.”