San Francisco Suicide Prevention is the oldest community-based telephone crisis center in the United States. Founded in 1962 by a journalist from the British Broadcasting Corporation, the organization adopted a crisis management model developed by the Samaritans Centers in Great Britain and Europe. To this day the agency trains local volunteers who provide suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to callers. Over 500 other crisis centers across the United States now utilize the same concept.
After the collapse of the State mental health system in California, San Francisco Suicide Prevention stepped forward to fill the demand created by insufficient community service funding. Over time, the agency’s workload grew to its current total number of volunteers trained since the agency began now tops 3,500, and the total number of calls answered exceeds 1,000,000.
With a talented staff of 12 FTE, 100 volunteers, and an annual budget just under $800,000, San Francisco Suicide Prevention is one of the most cost-effective crisis care agencies in the country.