Community Helpline provides a safe, nonjudgmental "lifeline of hope" to callers who are in crisis or need support. This life is created through an empowering collaboration between the caller and the listener.
Community Helpline operates as a toll-free, Crisis and Referral Hotline established as a "Lifeline of Hope" in 1971. Our mission is to provide hope to individuals and communities in crisis and need.
Community Helpline's goal is to support individuals and families in crisis and in need throughout the community while also outreaching and educating the community about mental health issues, support, and services. As a not-for-profit organization, Community Helpline is staffed with a dedicated team of highly and rigorously trained Volunteer and Intern Crisis Listeners who support and listen to the callers daily, providing callers with someone to listen non-judgmentally and empathetically to them.
Individuals call the crisis line regarding issues like feeling stressed and overwhelmed, struggling with their identity, experiencing conflicts in their families and relationships, and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance use, and feeling suicidal. Community Helpline serves thousands of callers in crisis and needs every year throughout California and the United States. Most of our callers are of the at-risk population, those who cannot find and afford mental health services, those coping with the daily stressors of having a mental disorder, and the elderly population.
Community Helpline, previously known as the Palos Verdes Switchboard, opened its doors in December of 1971 in response to a community need for a program sensitive to the concerns and interests of young people and adults of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Switchboard was an outgrowth of Palos Verdes Hotline, established several years before in the heat of the drug crisis, and loyally staffed by a group of dedicated clergy and lay people in the Community.
The Switchboard program was conceived with a new emphasis. A group of caring teenagers and adults, under the guidance of professionals in the community, set about to share each other’s expertise. In that sharing, hoped to provide a credible hotline program to young people and adults. A mental health professional, Dr. Ronald Summit, developed the format that is still used to train volunteers three times a year. The volunteers are recruited from throughout the South Bay area.
In 1985, Switchboard Helpline changed its name to Community Helpline. In the same year, it became a United Way agency; it is now a 12-hour general and confidential crisis helpline in the South Bay with teens and adults working together.