Caldwell University will expand the services it provides through its Counseling HelpLine, made possible through a grant from Partners for Health. Graduate students provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Dr. Thomson Ling, professor of psychology and supervisor of the graduate students, says they are very pleased that Partners for Health is able to help expand “this valuable service which helps to promote positive mental health in the community.”
The HelpLine is a free, anonymous, and non-judgmental telephone hotline where callers can speak to a peer-counselor in confidence about any matter that concerns them. “Callers don’t have to provide their name or any identifying information. All calls made to the HelpLine are kept confidential and answered by highly trained volunteers who can provide a listening ear,” said Dr. Ling. “It serves the dual purpose of serving the community and giving our graduate students real hands-on crisis counseling experience.”
With the grant, Dr. Ling is putting plans together to double the number of highly trained counseling graduate students who volunteer and double the number of hours of services to the public.
Dr. Ling says that over the last several years the HelpLine has grown in the number of graduate student volunteers who provide over 2,000 hours of service annually. “Each year the center responds to thousands of calls from northern New Jersey and beyond.”