Our History

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.
  • 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 2018, 9 advanced training sessions are planned.
  • 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. Two more “Breaking the Silence” events are planned for 2018 in Millburn/Short Hills, NJ and Scotch Plains, NJ.