SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Members of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Ministerium and first responders met at CEO Suites (1812 Front St.) last week for a suicide prevention training session presented by Caring Contact. Westfield-based Caring Contact provides award-winning comprehensive training to both our volunteers and the community, including parents, first responders, educators, community groups and members of the clergy.

Arlene Klemow, director of training at Caring Contact, led the seminar, which covered statistics on suicide and how to identify someone who might attempt it. She said that 90 percent of suicide victims are Caucasian, and the majority are men ages 45-64. Members of the training session noted that the most powerful segment of the American population (middle aged white males) were the ones most prone to suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control:

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  • Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S. and claimed the lives of nearly 45,000 people in 2016.
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • There were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the U.S. as there were homicides (19,362).

Klemow said that motivating factors for suicide attempts can include:

  • loss of a job
  • loss of a relationship
  • financial difficulties
  • death of a loved one or pet
  • uncertainty
  • chronic stress
  • mental disorders

"(Callers) don't want to die; they're seeking a solution to a problem," Klemow said. "They just want the pain to go away. If someone threatens suicide, take it seriously."

Participants learned the ABC's of Suicide Prevention:

  • Ask directly about suicide.
  • Be there for the person at risk.
  • Collaborate with the person.

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline and listening community in Central and Northern New Jersey. Since 1975, the organization and its volunteer listeners have received numerous awards, including:

  • New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Awards for Good Neighbor (2012) and for Emergency Service (2010)
  • Union County Human Relations Commission Unity Award for Achievement by a Community Organization (2010)
  • Best Statewide Volunteer Organization by the New Jersey Governor’s Office of Volunteerism (2008)
  • GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Health Award

Caring Contact is devoted to promoting emotional wellbeing and preventing emotional crises by providing opportunities for people to express themselves to compassionate listeners in a safe environment.