To meet the unique needs of first responders and health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey state Department of Human Services and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care announced this week it will operate helplines staffed by crisis counselors.

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS professionals may call RISE: NJ First Responders COVID Hope & Healing Helpline at 1-833-237-4325, also from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They may learn more about support groups and other resources by visiting

There is a separate line for health care workers, reports.

After hours, professionals in crisis may dial “1,″ which will link them to the NJ Suicide Prevention Hopeline. It may be dialed directly: 1-855-654-6735.

“Our doctors, nurses, frontline hospital staff, first responders, and nursing home workers are risking their lives every day in this battle against COVID. Each day while caring for our families, they worry about the health and well-being of their own families. They have seen far too much heartbreak and tragedy, and we want to be sure that they have a safe place to talk about their experiences, anxieties and trauma,” Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said in the announcement Monday.