The History of Caring Contact

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.

  • 2005Contact We Care (CWC) Becomes Part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    In 2005 we were certified as a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and began taking calls from the Lifeline. (Now known as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline)
  • 2007CWC Establishes a Second
    Listening Hub

    In 2007 we established a second listening hub in Middlesex County through an affiliation with the Scarlet Listeners (no longer in service) at Rutgers University.
  • 2008CWC Adds Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

    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.
  • 2010CWC Receives the Union County Human Relations Community
    Unity Award

    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.
  • 2012CWC Launches
    "Save Our Youth" Program

    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. Our relationship with Caldwell University continues to this day.
  • 2013CWC Introduces "Learning to Prevent Teenage Suicide" Training

    In 2013 we established a fourth listening hub in Morris County through a new call center in Morristown, New Jersey (now closed). We created and introduced our Learning to Prevent Teenage Suicide training and began targeted outreach to middle and high schools.
  • 2015CWC Joins New Jersey Mental Health First Aid Leadership Council

    In 2015 we became inaugural members of the New Jersey Mental Health First Aid Leadership Council.
  • 2015Contact We Care Rebrands
    to Caring Contact

    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.
  • 2017Caring Contact Adds
    Advanced Training

    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.
  • 2017Caring Contact Presents
    "Breaking the Silence"

    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.
  • 2018Caring Contact Receives Certificates
    of Recognition

    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.
  • 2019Caring Contact Grows Community Outreach Efforts

    Caring Contact grew its community outreach significantly, reaching over 4000 youth and adults directly through training and awareness programs and distributing over 12,000 materials in the community including resource cards, posters, informational coffee sleeves, stickers and magnets.
  • 2020Caring Contact Handles Record Number of Calls During
    the Pandemic

    In the face of a global pandemic, Caring Contact continued to answer the Caring and Crisis Line. We never missed a day, and handled more calls than ever in Caring Contact's history. Caring Contact also pivots to Zoom Trainings and adds remote listening options for our volunteers.
  • 2021Caring Contact Starts Planning for New 3-Digit Lifeline Code

    Caring Contact partners with the NJ Department of Health and Human Services, Vibrant Emotional Health, and the other National Suicide Prevention Lifeline centers in the state to plan how to adapt for the new 3-digit Lifeline code mandated by Congress to take effect by 2022.
  • 20222022 Caring Contact celebrates the graduation of Class #100!

    We celebrate a milestone year with the graduation of Class #100 as 988 rolls into effect.

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