Our Story

Four Decades of Proud Service!

Dial Help Community Support and Outreach Center is located in historic Houghton, MI in the heart of the Copper Country at the top of Michigan’s beautiful 16,000 square mile Upper Peninsula. Dial Help is one of only a handful of independent crisis centers in the state and the only one located in the U.P. Dial Help is non-profit, 501(c)(3) managed by a Board of Directors.


Dial Help provides services to the entire U.P., including:

  • Crisis Line: 24/7 talk/text/instant message crisis and referral line that is part of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) and serves thousands of individuals throughout the U.P.
  • Safety Net Program: Follow-up support to individuals at risk of suicide, who have lost a loved one to suicide, or who are dealing with intense crisis
  • Sexual and Domestic Violence Crisis Support: A new grant funded program that allows us to collaborate with all U.P. domestic violence shelters and act as a central hub for sexual and domestic violence victims seeking support services
  • U.P. Wide Suicide Prevention: In collaboration with Local Public Health Departments, Dial Help assisted in the formation of Suicide Prevention Coalitions in all 15 counties, and continues to assist outreach, intervention, follow-up, training and prevention strategies that target youth at risk.

Dial Help provides these additional services to the four-county area of Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties:

  • School and Community Based Prevention: Works with hundreds of local youth in schools, parents, and with local community coalitions to help provide life skills and prevent substance abuse and other risky behaviors
  • Family Support Services: Intensive in-home services to at-risk families to help prevent the neglect and abuse of children
  • Victim Services: Crime victim advocates on call 24/7 to assist victims with filing police reports, undergoing sexual assault exams, court support, and other help; counseling for crime victims is also available
  • Mobile Crisis Response Team: Responds to law enforcement, hospital, and agency requests for assistance supporting victims of violent crimes, death notifications to family members, and community tragedies
  • Substance Abuse Services: Outpatient counseling, driver’s license restoration, and alcohol/drug assessments for individuals
  • Mental Health Counseling: General counseling services for individuals, couples, and families
  • Adult Education: Includes the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Alcohol Highway Safety, Anger Management, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
  • On-Site Crisis Intervention: A new program provided by grant funding from the Portage Health Foundation, to respond in-person to crisis situations in schools and agencies in the four-county area, as well as offering training on crisis intervention/suicide prevention to community members and parents

Rooted in the Community

A group of local citizens concerned about drug abuse problems in the Copper Country can be credited as the founders of what would become Dial Help.  Originally called Dial Drug, crisis line operations were established in 1971 to address crisis intervention, information, and referrals related to substance abuse.  It was staffed completely by volunteers and funded by private donations and fundraisers. Crisis line services were utilized primarily by high school and college students.

Dial Drug received its initial state support from the Michigan Department of Mental Health in 1973. As time went by, with increased demand for services and the realization that alcohol and drug abuse are symptomatic of larger problems, the agency changed its name to Dial Help. In 1974, services were expanded to implement substance abuse prevention programs in area schools. In 1981, in response to the needs of sexual assault victims and their families/significant others, a Rape Victim Support Team, funded through a government grant, was developed. Ten years later, in 1991, the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission expanded the program to include victims of all crimes.

In the early days Michigan Tech Student Volunteers assisted the helpline. Today not much has changed.

Over the years, Dial Help has transformed from an all-volunteer organization to an agency which maintains a professional, well-trained staff, although volunteer services are a crucial part of agency success. In 1999, Dial Help purchased a building in downtown Houghton, increasing visibility and adding walk-in access to clients. In 2017 Dial Help entered it’s 46th year, and over those years has helped hundreds of thousands of people help themselves, providing stable services while demonstrating an unwavering flexibility and responsiveness to community needs.

Dial Help Timeline

1971 – Dial Drug founded and helpline initiated (906) 482-DRUG

1972 – Volunteer Training, education programs, counseling, and drop-in services begin

1973 – Dial Drug hires a full time Executive Director

1974 – Dial Drug changes its name to Dial Help and expands services to more generalized crisis intervention services changing its helpline number to (906) 482-HELP

1976 – “Dial Helpline” begins running weekly in “The Daily Mining Gazette”

1976 – The Dial Help Helpline begins offering 24/7 services for the first time

1977 – Helpline services are offered to the entire Upper Peninsula

1999 – Dial Help moves to new location in downtown Houghton, allowing for 24 hour walk-in crisis intervention

2005 – Victim Services Unit launched as a cooperative with the Houghton County Sheriff Department

2005 – Dial Help joins the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK and (800) SUICIDE as a regional call center

2006 – Sexual Assault Response Team is launched

2008 – 24/7 Victim Services Helpline is launched

2009 – Dial Help begins using web-based crisis intervention software to increase efficiency in providing resources and other intervention services

2010 – Dial Help officially receives its state license as an Outpatient Substance Abuse Facility, returning to its roots as “Dial Drug”

2010 – Instant message (aka chat) crisis intervention is launched, the first major enhancement to the helpline in 34 years

2010 – Dial Help launches the Domestic Violence Intervention Program based on the Duluth Model

2010 – Dial Help, in collaboration with other U.P. organizations, launches the Upper Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition in response to community needs

2011 – Dial Help celebrates its 40th anniversary serving the Copper Country and the Upper Peninsula

2012 – Dial Help completes a major building renovations including new windows, mortar repair, and, front door

2012 – New texting crisis intervention service is launched in partnership with United Way of Marquette County

2013 – With funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), Dial Help launches a suicide prevention follow-up program designed to assure individuals in crisis connect with critical follow up services

2014 – Dial Help Prevention Services is awarded a Michigan Hometown Health Hero Award, recognizing Dial Help’s commitment to prevention services

2015 – With funds from the Portage Health Foundation and Superior Health Foundation, Dial Help renamed their suicide risk follow up program “The Safety Net Program” and expanded it to include individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide, individuals dealing with intense crisis, and youth under 14

2016 – With funds from the Superior Health Foundation, Dial Help partnered with Local Public Health Departments to help create Suicide Prevention Coalitions, and host the first annual U.P. Suicide Prevention Conference

2017 – With funds from the Portage Health Foundation, Dial Help prepares to offer new On-Site Crisis Response Specialists and community-wide suicide prevention and crisis intervention training

2017 – With funds from the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Treatment Board, Dial Help prepares to collaborate with local shelters to act as a central hub for domestic violence victims

2017 – Green Bay Packers announce Dial Help as the beneficiary for their 2017 Tailgate Tour in April