Category Archives: Events

Connecting Those in Need to Treatment Services

During this 30th anniversary of Recovery Month, communities across the nation are reflecting on their positive strides and plans to make recovery support services more accessible so that people can live meaningful and productive lives. Over the years, recovery-oriented organizations have also played an essential role in states, cities, towns, and neighborhoods to help countless people start and sustain their recovery.

Specifically here, in San Mateo County, there are numerous treatment options and recovery pathways for those dealing with mental and substance use disorders.

Each recovery journey is unique. If you, a family member, or a friend needs help, resources are available. You are not alone.

Click here for a list of local mental health and substance use recovery resources.

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #4: Self-Care and Resilience

On our last day of Suicide Prevention Week, we would like to remind us all that, as we take action to support others, it is also vital that we take the time to support and care for ourselves. 

The Importance of Building Resiliency. Practicing self-care is one part of building resilience and does not mean you are being selfish or choosing yourself over your loved one. It means that you are simply being mindful of your own needs, so you are better able to support others. You are better able to take care of the needs of others when you take care of yourself. 

Self-care can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed. By maintaining your physical and mental wellness, you will likely be better equipped to handle the stressors that come along with supporting someone you care about.

Self-Care Strategies to Build Resiliency and Manage Stress. 

When we are most stressed, we have a tendency to ignore taking care of ourselves, so it is important to set time to care for ourselves in big and little ways. 

  • Remain socially connected. When you are supporting someone else, it can be easy to lose sight of your other social connections. Stay in touch with your family and friends who can offer support. Recognize the importance of setting time with positive support networks. 
  • Make time for yourself. When caring for someone who may be suicidal, it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself. However, to be a productive caregiver, it is important to have some “me time.” Healthy activities that makes you feel better is worth a little bit of time out of your day.
  • Know when you need to ask for help. When caring for someone with suicidal thoughts, it is possible to become overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed does not make you a bad caregiver, family member, or friend, it makes you human. There are various resources for caregivers such as NAMI Family Support Groups. These groups offer support for people with loved ones who have experienced mental health conditions or issues. In addition, you can talk to trained counselors who provide free and confidential support by contacting one of the below 24/7 hotlines: 
    • 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

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

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #3: Validate that a Person’s Feelings Matter

It is important to let another person know what they may be feeling is okay and that you believe in them. 

When reaching out to someone, remember to validate their feelings and acknowledge that they are real. Feelings may not always seem rational or easy to explain, but they are always valid. Understand that people can not control their feelings like they may be able to their thoughts or behaviors. If you are able to show someone that you acknowledge their feelings, it will allow them to feel more receptive to help and support. 

How do I show someone that I validate their feelings? 

Let the person know you hear them and are listening. You may do so by mirroring/echoing/paraphrasing rephrasing their sentiments. Repeat their own words back to them regarding how they’re feeling or what they’re going through. 

Other ways to express validation: 

  • “That makes sense.”
  • “That sounds difficult.”
  • “I’m sorry you are struggling right now.”
  • “I believe you.”
  • “I hear you.”
  • “It seems like you’re having a particularly hard moment.”
  • “It makes a lot of sense that you are stressed.”
  • “You have a lot on your plate.”
  • “Sounds like you’re having a really tough time right now.”
  • “I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling right now.”
  • “That must be really difficult to cope with.”

For an example of how to validate a person’s feelings when reaching out, watch this video from Active Minds. 

Resource: 

Recovery Month Officially Recognized

As you may know by now, September is Recovery Month – a nationally recognized event, now in its’ 30th year.

Recovery Month promotes the message that recovery in all forms is possible, celebrates individuals who have reclaimed their lives through recovery, and honors the prevention, treatment and recovery providers who make it possible.

Annual Recovery Proclamation 2018

Speakers from the recovery community will address the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the annual proclamation will be issued at a Recovery Proclamation Ceremony September 17th. It will be immediately followed by a Resource fair. Join us first for the Recovery Breakfast and Philomena Walk of Hope.

Event details:

7-8:30 a.m. – Recovery Breakfast, Mezes Park, Warren & Standish St (TANK)., Redwood City
8:30 a.m. – Philomena Walk of Hope from Warren & Standish St. to 400 County Center, Redwood City
9 a.m – Proclamation at the Hall of Justice, 400 County Center, Redwood City, Ca

Don’t forget to check out the Recovery Art Show at 400 County Center while you’re there! Learn more about Recovery Month. Get a complete list of Recovery Month events here.

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #2: Listen Non-Judgmentally

Listening is an important tool to have in our personal toolboxes to prevent suicide, but listening can be hard! It can be nerve racking to have a conversation about suicide and many of us may feel like we don’t know the “right” thing to say. 

#BeThe1To recommends 5 action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal. ASK. KEEP THEM SAFE. BE THERE. HELP THEM CONNECT. FOLLOW UP. 

These are supported by by evidence in the field of suicide prevention. You can read more about each action step here. 

Listening non-judgmentally may not always come naturally to us. In this video, listen to Dylan, a crisis line counselor, talk about how he devleoped better listening skills while talking to hundreds of individuals who were thinking about suicide. As Dylan says “Listening isn’t really easy” but here is how he developed his own listening skill set.  

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #1: It’s Okay To Ask About Suicide

In honor of our theme of interpersonal connectedness (or #ImHereForYou), we are offering tips on how to help someone who might be considering suicide or facing struggles in life. 

Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will increase suicides or suicidal thought. 

Fact: Acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce suicidal ideation. 

Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. In fact, studies suggest the opposite; findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.

Asking a friend the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates to them that you are open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Other questions you can ask include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Avoid promising to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.

It is important to be direct and talk openly about suicide. “Are you thinking about hurting yourself” is not as direct as “Are you thinking about killing yourself”. 

In Honor of Suicide Prevention Month and World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

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

Releasing Judgement: Join the Voices of Recovery

There continues to be a great deal of stigma in American society associated with mental health illness, substance use and addiction.

However, with the number of opioid overdoses quadrupling nationwide since 1999 and drug-related deaths accounting for 2% of all deaths in San Mateo County in 2017, no one can afford to turn a blind eye.

As difficult as it may be to understand, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is not a social ill but actually a complex disease that can be treated. In coming together during this annual Recovery Month of September to support individuals with substance use issues, we must acknowledge that these individuals benefit from receiving medical help and community support.

Stigma can prevent those who can help from wanting to help and those who need help from having the courage to seek it.

Learning about mental health and sharing personal stories are great ways to overcome stigma and so is supporting loved ones and friends on their journey of recovery.

You can also attend a Recovery month event.  Find a complete list of events happening throughout the month in San Mateo here. Learn more about Recovery Month.

Sep 10, 2019 is World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10 (Today) is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).  The theme this year is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” which emphasizes that we all have a role in preventing suicide.

At 8pm today, you can join others worldwide in lighting a candle near your window at home or on social media with these e-cards (available in various languages). Find out more ways to participate in WSPD at www.iasp.info/wspd2019/

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


Septiembre 10 (hoy) es dia mundial de prevencion del suicidio. El tema este año de #WPSD es trabajando juntos para preventar el suicidio. Que enfatiza que todos tenemos.

A las ocho p.m. (8 p.m.) hoy tu puedes partcipar con otras personas mundial en preder una vela serca de tu ventana en tu hogar o en redes sociales medios de comunicacion social.

Para información sobre el mes de prevencion del suicidio y para recursos de prevencion del suicidio en el condad de San Mateo, visita www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

Si tu o alguien que conoscas estan considerando en suicidio o estan enfrentando crisis de salud mental llama a Starvista Crisis Hotline (650) 579- 0350 o al National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1(800) 273- TALK.

#serelprimeroSMC #Estoyaquiparati


九月十日(今天)是世界防止自殺日。今年的#世界防止自殺日主題「攜手一起預防自殺」強調我們所有人都有責任去預防自殺。

今晚八點,你可以跟世界各地的人一起在家裡燃點一支蠟燭放於窗前,或者利用這些電子賀卡(適用於各種語言)放上社交媒體。亦可於以下網址了解更多參與世界防止自殺日方法 www.iasp.info/wspd2019/

#做那個人 聖馬刁縣 #我會守侯著你

如欲了解聖馬刁縣裡有關防止自殺月和預防自殺的資訊,請瀏覽www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

如果你或你認識的人正在考慮自殺,或正在面對精神危急情況,請致電StarVista緊急熱線 650-579-0350 (或全國預防自殺生命線 1-800-273-8255)


Board of Supervisors’ Proclamation of September Suicide Prevention Month

Every year, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors proclaims September as Suicide Prevention Month. This proclamation highlights an issue that all San Mateo County residents are affected by and can play a role in preventing. 

This year’s proclamation will feature speakers from Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) and Lived Experience Academy (LEA). LEA speakers will share their lived experience as suicide survivors.

Please save-the-date for this special event: 

Tuesday, September 17, 9am

400 County Center, Redwood City

To watch live and find other details, see Board of Supervisors Meeting Calendar

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

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