Caring Contact Teaches Suicide Prevention at Renaissance Church

Two suicide prevention seminars were held by crisis listening line Caring Contact at Renaissance Church, 2 Kent Place Boulevard in Summit, New Jersey on Sunday January 28, 2018.
More than 50 adults attended the “Let’s Talk” seminar, which focused on sharing facts and data to bring awareness to the problem of suicide. The risk factors for suicide and the protective factors against suicide were described. In addition, participants were taught the warning signs to watch for and then provided with the ABCs of suicide intervention – a set of skills that anyone can use to make a difference in someone’s life.
“I feel like I have tangible resources and knowledge,” one participant said after the session. “I feel more enabled and empowered to help. I’m encouraged to hear others and know of this supportive Caring Contact community. I am much more aware of the problem of suicide now.”
Seventeen youth attended the Teens Helping Teens program, which is divided into two parts. The first focuses on prevention and helps teens focus on themselves and their emotional health. The second gives participants tools to recognize distress in others and how to intervene.
Both seminars provided a framework for understanding the problem of suicide, educated participants about the signs of emotional distress and suicidal ideation, and provided specific words and phrases to use to talk to a person about whom individual is concerned.
In response to a survey question, one teen responded, “Feelings are not good or bad, it’s what you do with them that matters.”
Another said, “This training will allow me to help others in the future. The ABCs are so important, Act, Be there, and Collaborate. It’s so important to remember these simple tools.”
“Depression and suicide are epidemics in America,” said Tom Hansen, Pastor of Student Ministry at Renaissance Church. “We want to change that. We care about our community and want everyone to know they are not alone. We want to help people be there for those in need.”
“Our community awareness events are powerful ways to educate individuals, congregations and other groups about mental health and suicide awareness and intervention,” said Janet Sarkos, executive director of Caring Contact. “We are seeing rising numbers of teen suicides in Union County alone. These events are our way of breaking the silence and giving people tools to help themselves and others. We invite other individuals and groups to reach out to us for education and training.”
Arlene Klemow, certified Master ASIST Trainer and director of training at Caring Contact, led the seminars.
Anyone wanting to learn more about Caring Contact’s suicide prevention seminars or schedule a session should contact Melinda Allen-Grote, the hotline’s outreach coordinator, at 908.301.1899 or
For information on Renaissance Church, please log onto their website at
Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline and listening community, providing active listening support and best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. More than 80 trained volunteer listeners answered more than 10,200 calls last year from people in crisis, having suicidal thoughts or simply feeling depressed and lonely.
If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call Caring Contact at 908.232.2880. To learn more, visit
Anyone interested in volunteering at Caring Contact should visit There are non-listening volunteering opportunities, as well.
Caring Contact serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention line,1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE, that originate in New Jersey. Callers also reach Caring Contact by dialing 908-232-2880. Those preferring to seek supporting through texting may text “heart” to 741-741. The hotline also provides best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey Community.

(above) Arlene Klemow, certified Master ASIST Trainer and director of training at Caring Contact, leads a suicide prevention seminar at Renaissance Church in Summit.