Mom of a special needs child? NJ has a helpline just for you
Simply being a mom is a difficult enough task on its own.
The stress involved and energy required can be even greater when one's child has special needs.
At the same time, mothers of special needs children and adults may have a greater number of questions and concerns, and feel isolated in their situation.
But there is a New Jersey outlet specifically for these women who just need a place to vent, or want to start on a path of improving their life as a mother.
"This is about supporting moms who support everyone else," Cherie Castellano, director for the National Center for Peer Support at Rutgers University, told New Jersey 101.5.
Under that peer support umbrella is the Mom2Mom helpline, which pairs mothers of special needs individuals with peer counselors who've lived through similar circumstances.
"We really are who we serve," Castellano said.
The moms on the other line are trained in a support model and paired with a licensed clinician.
Mom2Mom isn't meant to be a "one call and you're done" program, Castellano noted. At the end of the call, moms who dialed in are asked whether they'd like to continue with peer counseling calls.
"Seventy percent of the time, the moms say yes, and then they're assigned a mom peer who calls them, usually over six months about 15 times," Castellano said.
Mom peer counselors and clinicians field about 18,000 contacts per year in New Jersey, Castellano said. That includes incoming and outgoing calls.
The helpline is live with counselors and clinicians from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the week. On weekends and overnights, the line gives callers the ability to access emergency care.
Mom2Mom can be reached by dialing 1-877-914-6662. Email and chat options are available as well.