Crisis listening line Caring Contact recently completed training in suicide intervention for 23 people who came from as far as Pomptom Plains in Morris County and Mays Landing in Atlantic County. The training was held at Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, a grief support center in Mountainside.

Participants became certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), an internationally acclaimed two-day interactive training program in suicide first-aid designed to provide trainees with the hands-on skills to intervene in the case of suicide.

The backgrounds of the participants varied. Some were from Suicide Prevention and Awareness Resources for kids, or S.P.A.R.K.S., a nonprofit in Cape May County. Others included a first responder, a counselor, an educator, a nurse, a health care provider, a pharmacist, several business people, a parent and a student.

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"ASIST training is ideal for people with a variety of backgrounds, including first responders, teachers, school administrators, social workers, counselors, clergy, business managers, parents and a wide variety of community members," said Janet Sarkos, Caring Contact executive director.

"The variety of backgrounds of our participants in this class demonstrates how relevant our training can be for so many people and the distance some of them traveled reflects the value and quality they place on our training programs." 

Participants were impressed with the training.

"The training is incredible," said one. "Everyone was forced out of his or her comfort zone at least once. The workshop covered the topic of suicide thoroughly."

"I learned a lot during this training," added another participant. "In the past I may have directed an individual directly to emergency services but now I feel well prepared to deal with a situation after this course."

The suicide rate in the United States has been increasing every year since 1999, rising more than 24 percent between 1999 and 2014 and reaching a 30-year high in 2016. Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and more than 42,000 people died by suicide in 2013, including 4,600 young people.

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline and listening community, providing active listening support and best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. More than 100 trained volunteer listeners answered nearly 9,000 calls last year from people in crisis, having suicidal thoughts or simply feeling depressed and lonely.

The listening line regularly offers a variety of training to the public, including ASIST, Excellence in Listening, Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Awareness and Teenage Suicide Prevention. To learn more or to find our when training is available, visit www.caringcontact.org.

Caring Contact 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 Caring Contact by dialing 908-232-2880. Those preferring to seek supporting through texting may text “heart” to 741-741. The hotline also provides best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey Community.

If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call us at 908-232-2880.To learn more, visit www.caringcontact.org. Anyone interested in volunteering should visit http://caringcontact.org/give-support/volunteer/. There are non-listening volunteering opportunities, as well.

About Caring Contact

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline providing active listening support and best-in-class education to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. We attentively and compassionately serve those in emotional distress and educate our communities about the power of personal connection. We are affiliated with CONTACT USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology. If you are in crisis and need someoneto listen, call us at 908-232-2880.To learn more, visitwww.caringcontact.org.