What is Contact Community Services?
Contact Community Services Inc. is a multi-faceted organization that supports the social, emotional, behavioral and mental health of children, youth, and adults. For instance, we deliver this support through three broad program areas:
From the start, contact began in 1971 as a volunteer-based telephone counseling service for Central New York. Since then, our scope of services and staff has steadily expanded. In the early 1980s, we created classroom programs focusing on social and emotional learning. These included interpersonal skills and managing emotions. We continued to expand our children and youth development programming into broader community settings. Then, we began collaborating with educators, mental health professionals and other community members. We worked to improve learning environments through school and district-wide training and consultation. In addition, we were addressing nonacademic barriers to learning. In 2009, Contact affiliated with the Mental Health Association of Onondaga County (MHA,) brought an expansion of services that included mental health workshops for adults. During these decades, telephone services has steadily grown to include the 24-hour telephone counseling, suicide and crisis line; staffing of Helpline; the Onondaga County telephone and web-based information and referral service; mental health information and referral; hotline coverage for a nearby county, and other special lines.
Contact Community Services is a multi-faceted organization that supports the social, emotional, behavioral and mental health of children, youth and adults. We deliver this support through three broad program areas: Crisis Services, School Services and Training & Education. These are the tiers that support Contact Community Services, along with the community members that support us.
We provide a free, confidential 24-hour, 7-day a week counseling, suicide and crisis hotline and referral service. We offer resources for individuals looking for information on health and human services agencies. We answer calls on the local Contact Hotline, 211CNY. We also serve as a crisis call center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline throughout the Central New York region. We work in conjunction with locations such as Westchester, Albany, Greene and Columbia counties.
In addition, we support academic achievement by addressing barriers to learning. We provide evidence-based school programs. Some examples of this are youth development, behavioral intervention, social and emotional learning, school-based mental health and substance abuse counseling and school-wide substance abuse awareness programs. We are currently located in five school districts throughout Central New York. We offer these support services to administrators, teachers, students and families.
Finally, Contact provides suicide prevention and mental health training to community organizations, business and school districts free of charge throughout CNY. Our classes teach individuals how to recognize suicide warning signs, assess risk, respond in a supportive manner, intervene, connect a person with a trained professional or community resource and develop a safety plan.
In Conclusion, we are proud of the work we do to help create a suicide-safer community and reduce barriers associated with mental health challenges.
Affiliations and Certifications
To begin, The Contact Hotline is one of approximately 80 centers nationally that meets the strict standards and criteria that is required to be certified by The American Association of Suicidology (AAS). AAS accreditation validates service delivery programs that are performing according to nationally recognized standards and best practices. Contact Community Services has been certified since 1991 and undergoes re-certification every five years, most recently in 2021.
Contact has also been certified to provide Crisis Chat since 2016.
Additionally, our program is a member of The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a nationwide network of crisis centers. Similarly, outgoing calls originating from anywhere in the country are routed 24-hours a day to the nearest available crisis center. The Contact Hotline is the call center for nine counties in Central and Northern New York State.
Contact is a member of The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS.) AIRS sets standards for information and referral services. Contact was most recently accredited in 2021.
Our nonprofit also holds an operating certificate from The New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. This certificate is required so that we may provide prevention services through our Student Assistance Program.
Seven staff members are certified instructors of Mental Health First Aid. Certified instructors may teach the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid to any interested audiences in their communities. Instructors undergo tight credentialing by the national authorities to guarantee strict fidelity to the core Mental Health First Aid USA program model. They accomplish this while also maintaining the flexibility necessary to reach unique audience needs and allows these instructors to direct individuals, instructors, families, and youth to local resources for help.
Furthermore, Contact Community Services coordinates Primary Project for East Syracuse Minoa Central School District, Liverpool Central School District and Syracuse City School District. Primary Project developed by the Children’s Institute is recognized by The U.S. and New York State Departments of Education as an exemplary prevention program.
Our staff members also participate in a wide range of community task forces and initiatives.
Our Administrative Office and Training Center
Contact opened its own administrative office and training center back in 2012. We are located at 6311 Court Street Road, East Syracuse.
To begin, A large training center for school and community workshops was furnished and equipped, in part, by a grant from The Central New York Community Foundation. Our space has allowed us to expand capacity, improve comfort and increase effectiveness of our educational and mental health services. Now, many of our programs operate off-site at area schools and staff members maintain offices at school locations as well as at our administrative office.
Make a Donation
In honor of Contact’s 50th anniversary, consider making a donation today. Help us continue to bring hope and light to those in need in our community.