Caring Contact Crisis Hotline Graduates Residents from Westfield & Scotch Plains

(above, l-r) Back row: Ryan Hinderliter, Amit Trivedi, Michael Coleman, Shailesh Lal, Carolyn Paznek, Derek Cooke, Marc Julius, David Burman, Charles Christophel. Middle row: Laurie Feinberg, Sarah Lindell, Sasha Singh, Ananya Jain, Kaelin Stoll, Kacie Neilson, Jaimie Radakovich, Larry Kornreich, Arlene Klemow. Front row: Bisrat Mekbeb, Jasmine Dursun, Michelle Mendoza, Pam Webb, Kate Gorelick, Payl Patel

Caring Contact Crisis Line Graduates 96th Class

Next training to begin March 17

Submitted by Mary Claire Givelber

Six residents from Westfield and Scotch Plains completed training in December 2019 to become volunteers on the Caring Contact crisis hotline. During the 52 hours of training the graduates developed the ability to listen actively, assess the needs of someone in crisis and provide empathy and support. The training included dynamic and interactive presentations by guest experts in active listening, grief recovery, mental health issues and suicide intervention. Volunteer Listener Training is taught by trainers who are long-time listeners and nationally certified instructors in Mental Health First Aid and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

“I trained to become a caring contact listener in an effort to connect with those that need to feel human connection in order to cope with whatever struggles they are going through whether it be mental health, family crisis, chronic physical pain or economic hardship,” stated Bisrat Mekbeb of Scotch Plains. “I am fortunate to be in a position to give back to my community through Caring Contact in this way.”

When asked why he was drawn to this work, Ryan Hinderliter of Westfield said, “I wanted to channel my love for psychology and my passion for making a difference in the community into something meaningful.”

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed crisis hotline and listening community that supports the Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Located in Westfield, NJ, they provide active listening support and best-in-class education to central and northern New Jersey.

The next volunteer training will begin on March 17, 2020. For more information about this training call 908-301-1899 or visit

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