Many fans and followers of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are still in shock this week, mourning their unexpected deaths. Suicide among such well-known, talented, and apparently successful individuals reminds us that public personas often conceal personal struggles. Although most people who die by suicide are not famous, they too may be masking their despair, feelings of inadequacy, or hopelessness. Additionally, their relationship problems, financial concerns, or health issues may contribute to feeling overwhelmed.
For anyone struggling- – trained, compassionate people are ready to listen to you:
Call anytime: 1-800-273-8255 or text to 741741. [En Espanol: 888-628-9454]
At the same time, these well-publicized deaths are motivating many individuals to begin to reveal their own struggles to their friends—on social media and in personal conversations. These are essential steps to help overcome the isolation that often accompanies suicidal feelings and such revelations can be responded to with compassion and understanding.
BHRS encourages you to reach out to any of your friends, family and co-workers who may be having difficulty coping. Visit www.suicideispreventable.org to know the signs, find the words to start a conversation with someone you are concerned about, and to find resources you can reach out to for help and support. Check the Each Mind Matters “Say This Not That” tip sheet for more advice. Pain isn’t always obvious: know the signs, find the words and reach out.
For more information and additional resources, visit www.smchealth.org/suicide-prevention.
Our thoughts go out to anyone impacted by the deaths of fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a steady increase in suicide rates throughout the US since 1999.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or are concerned about a loved one who might be, you are not alone. Help is available right now:
BHRS Mental Health Program Specialist, Betty Ortiz-Gallardo, and Health System Emergency Preparedness Manager, Shruti Dhapodkar, recently sat down with Pen Voice to discuss San Mateo County’s response to the North Bay Wildfires and the county’s own emergency preparedness program. Check out the video above for more.
Remembrance and Resilience in the Transgender Community
On July 16, The San Mateo County Pride Center hosted a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil to honor the 25 people whose lives were taken by anti-transgender violence, in this year alone. Statistics show that transgender people also face higher rates of suicidal ideation, homelessness, substance abuse, isolation, discrimination, job insecurity and violence.
“We’re not just mourning the lives that have been lost, but really coming together and saying, ‘we are a resilient community,'” said ODE director, Jei Africa. Check out this article in The San Mateo Daily Journal for more.
Our hearts go out to those affected by the massive wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and Yuba Counties.
A traumatic event such as this is unexpected and often brings out strong emotions. People can call the Disaster Distress Helpline’s toll-free number (1-800-985-5990) and receive immediate counseling. This free, confidential, and multilingual crisis support service is also available via SMS (text TalkWithUs to 66746) to anyone experiencing psychological distress as a result of this event. People who call and text are connected to trained and caring professionals from crisis counseling centers in the network. The Helpline staff provides confidential counseling, referrals, and other needed support services. Read more
The African American Community Initiative would like to acknowledge the lives that were taken as a result of one of the worse acts of violence in a place of worship in more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Washington Post, 6/2015). It is always very difficult to understand violent crimes such as these. There are no answers that can adequately explain why or how these things happen. In times like these we must remember that only love can overcome hate. As a community we can take a moment to recognize the impact an event like this has had on our community and band together in strength, moving forward in order to bring a better tomorrow.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any discomfort or unmovable sadness or if you need immediate assistance you can call the San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services ACCESS call center at 1-800-686-0101 or visit our website at smchealth.org/mentalhealth or ReachOutHere.com
For more information about the African American Community Initiative, check out our website at http://smchealth.org/bhrs/ode/aaci
The next BHRS Crisis Collaboration meeting will be held on Thursday, April 23rd from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Sobrato Center; 330 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City. This continues to be a ripe forum for diverse agencies throughout the county to come together and work to improve system-wide crisis collaboration.
Based on feedback from the current work groups and a desire to further connect as a system, we are hosting an informative panel discussion on 5150’s. Panel participants will share unique experiences from very different viewpoints: as a client/consumer, a family member, police officer, and psychiatric emergency services staff. The goal is to educate one another on what works well, raise awareness about needs/challenges faced by the multiple parties involved and learn how we can better support one another in a 5150.
Also – for those of you anxiously awaiting for the MH 911 Brochures & Wallet Cards in Spanish they are in development! We will post updates here as soon as they are available, likely in May 2015.
Materials developed by Behavioral Health and Recovery Services educating San Mateo County residents on what to do in a Mental Health Emergency are now available. Information includes what to do and say before and during the 9-1-1 call and what to expect when the police arrives. Visit the Mental Health Emergency webpage to view and print copies of the brochure and wallet card. If you work with the community and would like to order a supply of printed materials for distribution, you may submit a request on the webpage.
Great to see the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) being provided to officers in San Mateo County on how to respond to individuals needing mental health assistance is making a difference. In a recent stand off with an individual who was distraught and threatened to harm himself and others, the San Mateo Police worked together with the County’s SMART team (San Mateo County Mental Health Assessment and Referral Team) to prevent the situation from ending in a tragedy. Kudos to the San Mateo Police for the sensitivity shown in handling a situation that could have easily gone sideways. Read the full story here.