Giving Back

Westfield-Based Suicide Prevention Hotline Offers Enhanced Training for New Volunteer Listeners

February 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline CONTACT We Care will be offering its next round of training for new volunteer listeners beginning March 12 in Westfield.

For the first time new volunteers will not only receive training in active listening skills and how to handle the broad range of calls received on the hotline but also will be provided Applied Suicide Intervention Training (ASIST), the internationally acclaimed two-day interactive training in suicide first-aid.

The next round of training begins Wednesday, March 12, 7:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Westfield at 170 Elm Street. The 12-week course begins with a three-hour orientation that is followed by three-hour evening classes once per week for 11 weeks, with a one-week break and a two-day ASIST training weekend. The only expense is $75 to cover the cost of training materials.

Sign Up for E-News

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer listener or seeking additional information should contact Sue Fasano, director of programs at the hotline, at 908.301.1899 or sue.fasano@contactwecare.org.

CONTACT We Care serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention line (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE) that originate in New Jersey. Callers also reach CONTACT by dialing 908-232-2880 or texting “CWC” to 839863.

The hotline relies on more than 140 volunteer trained listeners and texters to respond to be people feeling suicidal or in crisis with an empathetic ear and help them see they have options, according to Fasano.

“Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide,” she said. “More than 38,000 people died by suicide in 2010, more people than died in car accidents, including 4,600 young people. And for every one suicide there are 25 attempts.

“The suicide rate has been increasing every year since 1999, rising more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2010. More alarming, the rate of teen suicide has been rising since 1975. In addition, the suicide rate for middle-aged Americans has been rising, raising concerns about a wave of retiring baby boomers entering a stage of their lives when they begin to feel overwhelmed by life issues and life choices.”

Callers and texters to CONTACT We Care are of all ages, genders and economic backgrounds.

“Some are experiencing thoughts of suicide while many others are experiencing some crisis in their life, from a young person being bullied to an adult going through a divorce or a parent distraught over financial struggles,” she said.

“These people are our neighbors. They are reaching out to us and our listeners and texters are there when they need someone. Imagine how it would feel to be in crisis or thinking about suicide, want to talk to someone and have no one to turn to. We make sure that doesn’t happen.”

People who might think about volunteering to be a listener but are unsure of their ability to handle such a responsibility should not be concerned, according to Fasano. Volunteers attend 60 hours of training and then are teamed with an experienced listener before taking calls solo, she said.

Volunteer listeners at the hotline report they achieve a great sense of reward for their efforts in providing empathic support to people in turmoil. 

“People say we must be very special because we go on the line with people in distress but I look at it as a gift to me,” said Laurie Feinberg, a retired teacher.  “When you are on the line with someone who is depressed or suicidal, you walk away grateful you’re not making that call, grateful for what you have and grateful you can be there for them.  You can’t give anyone anything better than being a caring, empathic listener.”

About CONTACT We Care

CONTACT We Care is Central and Northern New Jersey’s crisis listening line, receiving more than 12,000 calls per year.  CONTACT brings comfort and hope to people in emotional distress through active, empathetic and nonjudgmental listening.  All calls are free, anonymous and confidential.  If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call our hotline at 908-232-2880.  We are affiliated with CONTACT USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the American Association of Suicidology.  For general information about CONTACT We Care or to become a volunteer, call us at 908-301-1899 or visit our website at www.contactwecare.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Co-Owner of Elizabeth Spa Charged with Sexually Assaulting Customer

January 17, 2017

ELIZABETH, NJ - German Lopez, 51, co-owner of the Bodies and Faces Spa in Elizabeth’s Elmora section, is charged with second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove jointly announced Jan. 17.  

Lopez has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a female adult ...

Conversion of Single Family Zoning to Multi-Family Zoning Could Start 'Gold Rush' of Development

January 14, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am writing to oppose the construction of a multi-family residence (6 residential units) at 1481 East Broad Street in Westfield.  The construction of a multi-family residence at this location (RS-12 zone district) is contradictory to the township’s 2005 Master Plan, which has zoned this district for single-family home construction only.  Additionally, it requires ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Shoplifting, Drug-Related Arrest & More

January 12, 2017

January 4, 2017 6:23 p.m.

Pietro Maioriello, age 20, of Scotch Plains, NJ, was arrested for possession a controlled dangerous substance under 50 grams pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on a summons.

January 4, 2017 9:21 p.m.

Stephen Thomas, age 21, of Plainfield, NJ, was arrested on the strength of two outstanding warrants for his arrest from Highland ...

Clara Gives Warm Hugs

January 18, 2017

Please meet our Senior Girl Clara.

Clara was rescued when we noticed her at a city shelter begging for help.  We were there to rescue a 13-year-old dog who was dumped by an owner who suddenly had no time for him and we noticed this beauty reaching out to us.

Clara's owner passed away and she found herself stuck at the city shelter.  The fate for a 14-year-old girl is not good ...

Schools to Offer Free Time Management Tips for Westfield Parents

The Westfield Public Schools, in conjunction with Youth and Family Counseling Service, are offering a free time management presentation for all Westfield parents.  It will be hosted by Westfield School Parent Teacher Organizations in two locations:  
 

Franklin School, 700 Prospect Street, on Thursday, January 26, at 7 p.m. and 
Tamaques School, 641 ...

Testing Your Resolve

Now that the ball has dropped in Times Square it is time for another annual tradition – New Year’s resolutions. So, along with improving your diet and exercising more, consider adding these:

“Will” you? – I have lost count of how many clients with whom I have met that have a spouse, children and substantial assets but an outdated or even no will at all.

5 Questions to Ask at an Open House

When you go to your next open house, ask the listing agent these key questions to help you make an informed decision. When a property is hot, a public open house may be your best opportunity for due diligence before submitting an offer. While the hosting agent may not be able to answer all of your questions, there is a lot you can learn.

1. How long has it been on the market?  You may ...

Today’s Bond Market - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

2016’s final days left bond investors unsettled.

Just a few months ago, with the backdrop of the surprise July Brexit vote, U.S. Treasury yields hit record lows. Donald Trump’s election as president has increased concerns of a new round of tax cuts and greater government spending, which could stimulate inflation. The Federal Reserve has finally raised interest rates and is ...

It Even Happened to Me

Beware of credit card fraud — it can happen to anyone.

I was shopping at a retail establishment over the holidays and purchased some items with my business credit card. The next day, I was downloading my credit card activity into QuickBooks and spotted some strange charges - they were not large amounts, but they originated from establishments I don't frequent, like ...

Video: Mistreated, Harassed, Abused, Discriminated Against or Retaliated Against at Work?

Have you been mistreated, harassed, abused, discriminated against or retaliated against by your employer?

Watch this video to learn how Westfield employment attorney Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, who for the last 25 years has aggressively represented employees, can help you.

If you are the victim of prejudice or spend every day in a hostile work environment, you can give him a call for ...

Westfield Area YMCA is Ready to 'Bring on Summer'

It may be cold outside but the Westfield Area YMCA is gearing up for summer camp!  In-person registration is now underway.  Each year campers ages 3-15 try new activities, learn new skills, get creative, have a blast and make new friends in a safe environment.

 

 

The Y is excited to offer new S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) ...

Holy Trinity School Spotlight - 6th Grade

Sixth grade is a transitional year for students as they enter middle school.  Holy Trinity School embraces this change through its continued commitment to creating an environment in which its students can grow and develop academically, socially, and spiritually. 

In sixth grade, the curriculum becomes more departmentalized with students rotating classes for various subjects and ...

Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck on Route 22 is Fourth in Six Months

January 17, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - An unidentified male died Sunday after he was struck by a vehicle on Route 22 near North Gaston Avenue at about 11:55 p.m., according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police. The man is the fourth pedestrian killed in that section of the roadway since August. In August, two pedestrians were fatally struck and another pedestrian was killed in the westbound lanes in ...