CONTACT We Care offers tips during suicide prevention week

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Suicide Prevention Week is this week, Sept. 7 to 13, and CONTACT We Care is offering tips for coping with suicidal thoughts. In addition, the crisis hotline’s listeners and texters are available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to provide a trained empathetic ear to those who call or text looking for help when in crisis.

The hotline also will be offering Mental Health First Aid Training to the public Saturday, Sept. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the RWJ Fitness Wellness Center in Clark. The cost is $75; for more information or to enroll, call 908-301-1899 or visit

This eight-hour course that teaches participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps participants identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This training is ideal for first responders, educators, clergy, leaders of community groups and business professionals, as well as for families with members suffering from mental illness or mental health issues.
than 15,000 calls and texts annually at CONTACT We Care. Just $15 pays to answer one call or text to the hotline from someone in crisis or contemplating suicide.

“Someone dies by suicide every 14.2 minutes and more than 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year,” said Joanne Oppelt, CONTACT executive director. “In addition, one in four American adults experiences mental health illness in any given year. Our mission is to both help people cope with these feelings and to be here when they call for our help.”

CONTACT offers these tips for coping with suicidal thoughts:
• Promise not to do anything now.
• Try problem-solving. You may have more control over the situation than you think. If it seems insurmountable, try baby steps.
• Make your environment safe. Remove items you might be tempted to use to hurt yourself.
• Go through reasons for living.
• Seek human contact, even if it is just by going shopping. Don’t isolate yourself.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs.
• Speak with someone your trust or seek professional help.
• Call CONTACT We Care or another suicide hotline. CONTACT has listeners and texters are trained in helping those in crisis to find a solution and can also refer them to additional professional help.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer listener or text consultant at CONTACT We Care should contact the agency at 908-301-1899.

CONTACT We Care serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention line at 800-273-8255 or 800-784-2433 that originate in New Jersey. Callers also reach CONTACT by dialing 908-232-2880 or texting “CWC” to 839863.