One of San Mateo County’s most used suicide prevention resources, and part of StarVista’s Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Center, is a suicide crisis hotline that operates 24-hour-a-day, 365 days per year.
Call center staff field calls from county residents in emotional distress, dealing with depression, experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety and those having thoughts of suicide.
More than 11,000 calls were answered last year alone, an amazing accomplishment considering that the call center is comprised of a single desk staffed by just one person per shift who juggles multiple call.
In the most recent issue of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters”, a call center counselor shares an inside look into the crisis counseling experience as well as his own story of recovery. You can find that article by clicking here.
If you’re looking to help others and give back to the community, StarVista has the perfect opportunity for you. The StarVista Crisis Center is looking for volunteers who will talk with individuals in need of counseling through their crisis line. As a volunteer, you will receive comprehensive training, 4 hours/week of hands-on experience, a flexible schedule, letters of recommendation and much more.
Volunteers for the Crisis Line must be at least 21 years old. For those who are under 21 years old and want to volunteer, there are positions as a Teen Chat Volunteer for youth ages 14-17, and a Teen Chat Supervisor Volunteer for adults ages 18-20.
The next training is Jan. 15th, 2019.
If interested, contact the Crisis Center Volunteer Coordinator at: (650) 579-0359 ext. 13 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the Crisis Center volunteer flyer.
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.