Author Archives: Kristie Lui

National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8 to 14

September 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week, a week dedicated to informing the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide. 

Pain isn’t always obvious. Even surrounded by family and friends someone can feel isolated and alone; even when  successful in school and at work, someone can feel hopeless and without purpose; even with a smile on their face, someone can feel deep sadness and depression on the inside. 

During September, we want to emphasize that everyone can play a role in suicide prevention.This is an opportunity to learn the warning signs for suicide, find the words to express concerns to those we care about, connect with our friends, family and co-workers, and learn about local resources that are available to offer support. “Research shows that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way.” – National Suicide Prevention Line. 

Keep an eye out later this week for posts about how you can prevent suicide by communicating to someone #ImHereForYou. Topics include: 

  • It’s okay to talk about suicide
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Validate that a person’s feelings matter
  • Care for yourself and build resilience

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Join us on Thursday evening, Sept 19, for a panel presentation of San Mateo County’s first-ever graphic novel on mental health.

The Office of Diversity and Equity Storytelling Series worked with our community to create its first graphic novel on mental health. The graphic novel includes the lived experiences of some of the people with

 whom we work. These clients and peers shared their stories of resilience in a method that can make sense to everyone: comics. This way, more people in our county may benefit from the hope and resilience that transcends the experiences of hardships that inspired these stories.

In the workshop where the graphic novel was created, each artist had the opportunity

 to create a spread (inner panels of two facing pages). Looking at the book, one story illustrates the growth of a storyteller by showing the growth progression of a water lily, which metaphorically grows towards the light from underneath the water. Other stories include recounts of events and the positive impact that these events had on the lives of the storytellers.

While each story differs, they all hold a common theme: recovery is possible, and all of us are resilient. Further, these stories represent all of us because each of us has experienced hardship, and all of us have opportunities to practice resilience and self care.

On the 19th, we will read the graphic novel, host a panel in which the storytellers will answer questions, and discuss the ways that we all relate to the stories shared.

Join us for a healing and positive evening.

To learn more about September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Caltrain Proclaims September as Suicide Prevention and Rail Safety Month

As early as 2009, Caltrain has partnered with San Mateo County to prevent suicide in our local community. Caltrain’s suicide prevention work is featured in our 2017-2020 Suicide Prevention Roadmap

For September Suicide Prevention Month and Rail Safety Month, Caltrain and San Mateo County Health – Behavioral Health & Recovery Services is partnering in the following ways: 

  • Accepting September Suicide Prevention and Rail Safety Month Proclamation from Caltrain Board
  • Presenting on suicide prevention work to the Caltrain Citizens Adivisory Committee
  • Providing Question Persuade Refer (QPR) suicide prevention gatekeeper training to train staff for Caltrain staff

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Interfaith Day of Prayer For Faith Hope and Life: Celebrating Life, Hope, and Reasons to Live

In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, San Mateo County’s 4th annual Interfaith Day of Prayer will be hosted on Thursday, September 5th from 12pm to 1pm at 400 County Center Courtyard in Redwood City 

 At the Interfaith Day of Prayer for Faith, Hope and Life, faith and secular leaders will join together to share their faith perspective on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Faith leaders play a key role in supporting mental health and preventing suicide. These leaders are important sources of hope and strength for their congregants, counsel for those in crisis, and provide comfort and support in the aftermath of a suicide attempt or death. It is the faith leader who, at a memorial service or funeral, has a platform to encourage help-seeking by those at risk and remind all to be alert to the risk of suicide in their community.

According to Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders published by the American Psychiatric Association Foundation and the Mental Health and Faith Community Partnership Steering Committee, “Because religion and spirituality often play a vital role in healing, people experiencing mental health concerns often turn first to a faith leader. From a public health perspective, faith community leaders are gatekeepers or “first responders” when individuals and families face mental health or substance use problems.”  

List of presenters for the event include:

  • Rabbi Lisa Delson, Peninsula Temple Sholom
  • Fr. Lawrence Goode, St Francis of Assisi Church (EPA)
  • Scott Gilman, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) 
  • BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) – Native Indigenous Peoples Initiative and Pacific Islander Initiative
  • Wesley Mukoyama, Volunteer Buddhist Chaplain at Santa Clara County Jail
  • Akshat Sharma, Sanatan Mandir Hindu Temple
  • Rev. Mary Frazier, Bread of Life Evangelistic Outreach
  • Pamela Ward, Lived Experience Academy
  • Helene Zimmerman,  Executive Director of NAMI SMC
  • Ishaq Pathan, Islamic Network Group
  • & more! 

Get involved in the National Weekend of Prayer on September 6th and 7th by joining in a world wide prayer event in your faith gathering place. Learn more here.  

 For more information about this event, visit https://www.smchealth.org/spirituality-initiative or contact BHRS ODE Spirituality Initiative co-chair Melinda Riccosa at (650) 372 – 8573 or MAParker@smcgov.org and Bill Kruse at (510) 506- 3815 or bkruse@churchfortoday.net

To learn more about September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Suicide Prevention Month #IMHEREFORYOU: CONNECTION TO SUICIDE PREVENTION

September is Suicide Prevention Month (SPM), which includes National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-14) and World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). This month, individuals and organizations around the country join their voices to amplify the message that suicide can be prevented, and that resources are available to support ourselves and others.

San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) is partnering with the San Mateo County Libraries, Peninsula Library System and community agencies in San Mateo County to host 20 free events and promote the #IMHEREFORYOU: Connection to Suicide Prevention campaign that aims to equip individuals with words and resources to connect with people who may be thinking about suicide. Events include support groups, informational presentations, volunteer opportunities, day of prayer, film screenings and craft workshops. 

“With the support of the Mental Health Services Act, San Mateo County needs to build our suicide prevention community through community education, provider trainings and conversations about suicide prevention.  In general, we need to reduce stigma around suicide, build partnerships and take a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention,” says the co-chair of the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee, Sylvia Tang.

Our theme for Suicide Prevention Month is interpersonal connectedness. Studies show that “[c]onnectedness between individuals can lead to increased frequency of social contact, lowered levels of social isolation or loneliness, and an increased number of positive relationships,” making it an important protective factor to prevent suicide. 

One San Mateo County community member has said “I wanted to die, and for the first time in my life, I plotted how would be the easiest and most painless way to go. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought. But the pain of not choosing my life and leaving my daughter to fend for life alone was even more terrifying. I chose MY life.” We know that interpersonal connections are a strong protective factor in suicide prevention and this month we want to highlight how we can support SMC in developing those connections. 

You Can Prevent Suicide

In the last couple of years several well-known figures in the food and entertainment industries died by suicide, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide rates rose in nearly every state in the U.S. Many of us have been personally impacted by the death of someone we know or someone we love. The problem can sometimes seem insurmountable.

While not every suicide can be prevented, by joining together throughout communities, we can reduce risk. Everyone has a role to play and a contribution to make. You can make contributions, big or small, including:  

  • Forge connections within your community.  Check in with friends, family members, co-workers or neighbors who are struggling. Offer your ear, shoulder and love to communicate to them that #ImHereForYou.
  • Learn the warning signs and how to help by visiting suicideispreventable.org or by participating in a local training. For more information on trainings, contact Sylvia Tang (stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165).

  • Share local crisis hotlines. These are key 24/7 crisis hotlines that would be good to have handy (e.g. on your phone or in your wallet). These numbers are there for you whether you (or a loved one) are in a crisis or just want to talk.
    • StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County)​ – 650-579-0350
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741

  • Promote September Suicide Prevention Month. Attend or spread the word about one of the September Suicide Prevention Month events or wear purple or teal. You can reach out to the Office of Diversity and Equity to pick up purple/teal ribbons. For updates and details, please visit smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention. 
  • Join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee. To help prevent suicide year-round, please consider joining the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee. The Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) provides oversight and direction to suicide prevention efforts in the County. The coalition usually meets the 1st Tuesday of the month 1:30-3pm. Meeting schedule can be found here.

If you or someone you know considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

Parent Project Fall 2019 All Class Flyer

The Parent Project® is a free, 12-week course that is offered in English and Spanish to anyone who cares for a child or adolescent. The classes meet for three hours each week. Parents learn parenting skills and get information about resources and other support available in their communities. Parents/caregivers learn and practice skills such as:

  • appropriate ways to discipline
  • preventing or stopping alcohol, drug and tobacco use
  • improving communication skills
  • improving grades and school attendance

Each class also provides free dinner and childcare to make it as accessible as possible to all parents/guardians.

Please help share Parent Project’s Fall 2019 All Class Flyer with your networks!

Suicide Prevention Month Mini-Grants and Call for Events – Applications Due July 12

We are three months away from September Suicide Prevention Month (SPM) (and Recovery Month!) which includes National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-14) and World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). SPM aims to empower everyone in the community to prevent suicide.

This year, we are partnering with libraries and community agencies in San Mateo County to promote the theme of interpersonal connectedness (positive relationships between individuals). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that studies show that connectedness is overall an important protective factor for suicide and states, “[c]onnectedness between individuals can lead to increased frequency of social contact, lowered levels of social isolation or loneliness, and an increased number of positive relationships.”

Each year, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity & Equity and Suicide Prevention Committee publishes a Calendar of Events which promotes the SPM events broadly across local providers, partners and community in San Mateo County. For the first time, we will also be offering mini-grants for selected recipients.

  • If you would like your SPM event listed on the printed calendar AND would like to apply for the mini-grant for your event, please complete this online application by  Friday, July 12, 2019.
  • If you would like your SPM event listed on the printed calendar ONLY, please complete this online application by  Friday, July 12, 2019.

Any events submitted after this deadline will likely not be on the printed calendar but can be posted on our county suicide prevention website at smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.

If you have any questions, please contact Suicide Prevention Committee Co-Chairs Islam Hassanein (islam.hassanein@star-vista.org)  and/or Sylvia Tang (stang@smcgov.org).

Mental Health Monday: Events Reminder #4

Mental Health Awareness Month 2019 is now in its 4th week!
Check out some upcoming events below, and enter in our raffle to win lime green swag! All you have to do is like this post, comment below, and share the post with your friends!

Mon, 5/20 1pm Introduction to Mental Health with NAMI
Woodside Library 
3140 Woodside Rd, Woodside
Details: NAMI San Mateo will present a mental health program discussing mental illness, as well as the services and programs that NAMI offers. Following this discussion, a person living well with their mental health diagnosis will be sharing their story.
Languages: English
Contact: Kayla Marie; Paula Teixeira | teixeira@smcl.org

Mon, 5/20 4pm Design and Bind Journals (Teens)*
Menlo Park Belle Haven Branch Library
413 Ivy Drive, Menlo Park
Details: Take some time out of your hectic schedule to enjoy some art therapy with Christie Inocencio from Christie’s Creative Cupboard. She will bring all the supplies for you to design and bind your own journal. For grades 5-12.
Languages: English
Contact: Gina Feil | gifeil@menlopark.org
For pre- registration click here.

Tue, 5/21 6pm Design and Bind Journals (Teens)*
Menlo Park Main Library
800 Alma Street, Menlo Park
Details: Take some time out of your hectic schedule to enjoy some art therapy with Christie Inocencio from Christie’s Creative Cupboard. She will bring all the supplies for you to design and bind your own journal. For grades 5-12.
Language: English 
Contact: Gina Feil | gifeil@menlopark.org
For pre- registration click here. 

Wed, 5/22 6:30pm Mental Health Self Care with StarVista
Sharp Park Library
104 Hilton Way, Pacifica
Details: Learn techniques for self care! Each participant will create their own self care kit to take home. 
Languages: English
Contact: Paula Teixeiral | teixeira@smcl.org

Wed, 5/22 7:45pm Wed, 12th Annual Break-Fast event ​
Westmoor High School – Cafeteria
131 Westmoor Avenue, Daly City
Details: This event is to bring community together to share a meal and celebrate the month of Ramadan. This event helps bridge community members of all faiths or no faiths and is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 
Languages: English
Contact: Islam Hassanein | islam.hassanein@star-vista.org

Thu, 5/23 10:30am – 12pm Millbrae Library: Story time​
Millbrae Library 
1 Library Ave, Millbrae
Details: Come to Story Time to hear stories related to social emotional development to children and families at Millbrae library. This can be a Chinese and English bilingual story time. 
Languages: English, Chinese Mandarin if requested
Contact: Shiyu Zhang | zhan1502@umn.edu

Thu, 5/23 3pm Felton Early Psychosis/BEAM Open House
1108 S El Camino Real, San Mateo CA
Details: Felton Early Psychosis and BEAM Programs of San Mateo will be hosting an annual Open House celebration. Come and learn about the program, the services offered, and the dynamic team that provides the services. Included in this year’s Open House Agenda will be an announcement about exciting changes coming to the program. You will not want to miss it!
Languages: English (Spanish and Mandarin available upon request) 
Contact: Rod Cooper | rcooper@felton.org

Thu, 5/23 6-7:30m Youth Mental Health: Assessing Resources for Yourself and Others
Half Moon Bay Library, Community Room
620 Correas St, Half Moon Bay
Language: English
Contact: Smitha Gundavajhala | sgundavajhala@yli.org

Fri, 5/24 7pm Building a Community of Healers: An Open Mic Night
PRIDE Center
1021 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
Details: Join CORA and the PRIDE Center for an open mic night focused on healing, self-care, and mental health. 
Languages: English
Contact: Sagarika Gami | sagarikag@corasupport.org

Fri, 5/24 7:15pm Mental Health Open Mic
Café Zoë, 1929 Menalto Ave, Menlo Park
Details: San Mateo County poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto joins the Menlo Park Library at Café Zoë to help break the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. Enjoy some coffee or tea while you share your own words and/or listen to others.
Languages: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Sat, 5/25 3pm Film Screening & Panel: The S- Word
San Carlos Library Upstairs Community Rooms A&B
610 Elm St, San Carlos
Details: Screening of the S-Word Film “It is not the word suicide that is the problem; it is the silence that so often follows.” This film follows people who are surviving and thriving. Q and A to follow. 
Languages: English
Contact: Rhea Bradley | bradley@smcl.org

For a complete list of events and more information about Mental Health Awareness month, visit www.smchealth.org/mentalhealthmonth
To find mental health and substance use services and resources in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrsservices

#WordsOfWellness#BeTheOneSMC

Words of Wellness Wednesday: Affirmation Cards from Each Mind Matters

Along with our own county mental health awareness month initiative, San Mateo County also participates in our statewide initiative: Each Mind Matters. This year, Each Mind Matter’s theme for MHAM is strength in community. As part of their theme and also aligning with San Mateo County’s theme Words of Wellness, Each Mind Matters created message cards for people to share inspirational messages with each other or affirm for themselves. A total of 10 designs are provided: two bilingual, four in English and four in Spanish.

The affirmation/ support cards create an easy way to show support and bridge the distance between someone who is struggling and someone who would like to help.

Visit here to see the full set of message cards!

For a complete list of events and more information about Mental Health Awareness month, visit www.smchealth.org/mentalhealthmonth.  To find mental health and substance use services and resources in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrsservices

**Enter in our raffle to win lime green swag! All you have to do is “like” this post, comment below, and share the post on social media!**

#WordsOfWellness #BeTheOneSMC

Mental Health Monday: Events Reminder #3

Event Reminders!

Mental Health Awareness Month 2019 is now on its 3rd week!

Here’s a friendly reminder of all the exciting events happening this week!

Mon, 5/13 7pm Singer-Songwriter Gaby Castro: Songs of Hope and Healing
Menlo Park Main Library
800 Alma Street, Menlo Park
Details: Castro combines introspective song writing with a contemporary style. An advocate for mental health awareness, many of Gaby’s songs touch on her personal struggles and the trials of those around her. 
Languages: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Fri, 5/17 6:30pm Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Randolph M. Nesse, M.D.
Menlo Park City Council Chambers
701 Laurel St, Menlo Park
Languages: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Sat, 5/18 1pm Introduction to Mental Health with NAMI
Portola Valley Library 
765 Portola Rd, Portola Valley
Details: Nami  San Mateo will present a mental health program discussing mental illness, as well as the services and programs that NAMI offers. Following this discussion, a person living well with their mental health diagnosis will be sharing their story.
Languages: English
Contact: Sherry Markrow; Paula Teixeira| teixeira@smcl.org

Sat, 5/18 1pm Str8jacket Hip Hop Dance Performance
Menlo Park Belle Haven Branch Library
413 Ivy Drive, Menlo Park
Details: Enjoy a performance by a dance team that values passion, and promotes mental health and acceptance. As a no-audition competitive dance team, Str8jacket promotes a real sense of family and community. Performance will be followed by a fun dance tutorial! 
Languages: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Sun, 5/19 2:15pm Walgreens presents Exercise & Physical Activity
South San Francisco Main Library
840 W. Orange Ave., South San Francisco
Details: Learn about the benefits of physical exercise for your mood and well being.
Languages: English
Contact: Stacy Lein | lein@plsinfo.org


For a complete list of events and more information about Mental Health Awareness month, visit www.smchealth.org/mentalhealthmonth.  To find mental health and substance use services and resources in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrsservices

**Enter in our raffle to win lime green swag! All you have to do is “like” this post, comment below, and share the post on social media!**

#WordsOfWellness #BeTheOneSMC

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