Community Cares Listening Line Is There for First Responders, Essential Workers

Nov 2, 2020

In times like these who wouldn’t want to talk to someone who listens and cares?

The Institute of the Black World for the 21st Century and the Black Family Summit have come up with just that -- the Community Cares Listening Line. It offers free mental and emotional support for first responders and essential workers with a culturally responsive team of trained volunteers, currently in New York and New Jersey but it hopes to go national in the months ahead. Dr. Lisa Zakiya Newland is in charge.

“It’s not a therapeutic service that we’re offering,” she said, “but in terms of listening to the needs that people would present or even just how they choose to share, we realize that someone may call because they just want to unburden a little bit about the day that they had at work.”

The number is 877-719-1117, and Newland encourages those who might need help to call, saying it’s gotten off to a bit of a slow start since it began operating in July.

Newland said that while the service does not provide clinical intervention, it is staffed by professionals who can point people in the right direction. “The fact that there are largely an amount of clinicians who service on this line, they have a keen ear for being able to talk people through if they’re requesting mental health services,” she said. “We’re providing referrals to people if they’re asking specifically to work with a clinician, then it’s directly referring them based on where they are in their area.”

Newland said they’ve come up with a tag line. “Free mental and emotional support for first responders and essential workers to help keep you going, while you keep everyone else going.”