In these stressful and challenging times, the Traumatic Loss Coalition would like to make you aware of a new program that provides support for the education community of New Jersey.

University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC), an integrated service delivery system of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), in collaboration with the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), is now offering AID-NJEA, a 24 hour telephone helpline and support system for educators, staff members and families who are affiliated with the New Jersey school systems. This free and confidential program is staffed by active and retired educators and school mental health professionals trained to counsel and support their colleagues. The AID- NJEA program began serving New Jersey schools in October 2002.

Callers dial 866-AID-NJEA or 866-243-6532 to access support services for professional, personal or global concerns. Sometimes listening to the callers meets their needs; sometimes information, referral, phone counseling, or crisis management is necessary.

On weekdays from noon until 8 pm, the line is staffed by trained active and retired educators. If calls are made at other times, the callers will be referred to the hours staffed by the educators or they can talk with mental health professionals (who are not educators). At all times, 24 hours each day, mental health professionals are available to handle emergencies.

Questions about the program can be directed to the Program Manager, Jacqueline M. Somma, by calling her at 732-235-2137. Materials (posters, brochures, magnets) to announce the program to school employees may be requested by local association presidents by 1) calling their local UniServ office, 2) calling NJEA at 609-599-4561, extension 2330, or 3) writing NJEA, PO Box 1211, Trenton, NJ 08607-1211, Attn: Karen Laning.