Caring Contact (formerly Contact We Care) was founded in 1975.
Our roots stretch to a movement begun in Australia in the 1960s to provide anonymous, confidential telephone service where anyone in distress could call to speak with someone about their problems.
- In 2005 we were certified as a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and began taking calls from the Lifeline.
- In 2007 we established a second listening hub in Middlesex County through an affiliation with the Scarlet Listeners at Rutgers University.
- In 2008 we added Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to our core training by nationally certifying our Training Director as an ASIST instructor. Also in 2008, we were voted Statewide Volunteer Program of the Year by the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism.
- In 2010, we received the Union County Human Relations Community Unity Award for achievement by a community organization. Also in 2010 and 2011, one of our volunteers was a New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award winner in the category of Emergency Services.
- In 2012 we established a third listening hub in Essex County through an agreement with Caldwell University in Caldwell, New Jersey. That spring we launched our Save Our Youth campaign.
- In 2013 we established a fourth listening hub in Morris County through a new call center in Morristown, New Jersey. We created and introduced our Learning to Prevent Teenage Suicide training and began targeted outreach to middle and high schools. We also added Mental Health First Aid to as a core training program.
- In 2015 we became inaugural members of the New Jersey Mental Health First Aid Leadership Council.
- In October 2015 we changed our name to “Caring Contact – A Listening Community” and changed our look to more clearly articulate our vision and core values.
- In 2017 we stepped up our advanced training of hotline listeners by adding 7 opportunities, covering topics including anxiety & depression, shame, grief, and ASIST skills review.
- In 2017, we prioritized community awareness, by presenting “Breaking the Silence” in Westfield, NJ. This is a free, two-part event that provided an intimate evening understanding the problem of suicide with Steve and Wendy Sefcik, followed by community training to provide immediate life-saving skills with our Suicide Awareness & Intervention course.
- In 2018, we were awarded certificates of recognition for our work in crisis intervention from the towns of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, and from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Also in 2018, we conducted two more “Breaking the Silence” events in Millburn/Short Hills, NJ and Scotch Plains, NJ. and held 10 advanced training sessions.