San Mateo County Community Members Show up, and Speak up to Save a Life

In recognition of September Suicide Prevention Month, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services partnered with local 24/7 crisis hotline StarVista and Caltrain to host Speak Up, Save a Life: Suicide Prevention Forum last Friday, September 25 at the San Mateo Main Library.

Over 130 San Mateo County community members showed up to the Suicide Prevention Forum to show they care and learn about suicide prevention from survivors. This event raised awareness about the warning signs of suicide and the help available for those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Last Friday’s Suicide Prevention Forum: Speak up, Save a Life featured a panel discussion with Alan Cochran, who fought back tears as he shared how his close friend died by suicide and about the warning signs that meant his friend had been thinking about taking his own life. Suicide survivor Rocio Cornejo shared how she started having thoughts of suicide as a young teenager, and how her culture and the stigma surrounding mental health continue to be a challenge during her recovery. Cornejo also shared what it is like to go through a suicide crisis, how she got help, and her journey to recovery.

The resounding message from the forum was if you see something, you can do or say something that could save a life. Sometimes all it takes is one person to check in and show they care. Other panelists included Salvador Zuno, Caltrain Transit Police and Narges Zohoury Dillon, StarVista Crisis Hotline, who urged the public to call StarVista’s 24/7 crisis line at 650-579-0350 if they are ever concerned about someone or think someone may harm himself or herself.

“Suicide is preventable and more and more people are showing they care and asking how they can help others or help themselves recover,” said Stephen Kaplan, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “Having people join together as a community of support to speak up and save a life is a great step towards suicide prevention. We are all in this together.”

The more we talk about mental health and how to best help someone, the more likely a loved one will feel empowered to reach out and recover. For more information on suicide prevention in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.

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