Category Archives: Suicide Prevention Month

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.

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).

The S- Word Film Screening and Panel Opens Up Dialogue About Suicide and Stigma

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Last Wednesday, on September 19th, over 100 people attended San Mateo County’s first ever S- Word Film Screening and Panel hosted at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center in collaboration with San Mateo Union High School District, Star-Vista and the Office of Diversity and Equity. 

The S- Word is a documentary following a survivor of a suicide attempt as she embarks on a mission to document the stories of fellow survivors and document their stories of insight, humor, and courage. She discovers a national community rising to transform personal struggles into action.

During the panel discussion, audience members were able to ask questions about suicide anonymously that were displayed on the projector for the panelists to answer. Questions included “how do I connect with others that are considering suicide” and “what’s the best time or age to talk about this topic?” 

Sylvia Tang, Office of Diversity and Equity, Co- Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee, and Co- Coordinator of this event states,  

“I am so thankful that we had an engaged audience who asked thoughtful questions and wanted more community screenings of the S-Word. This film helped start a dialogue about suicide; this is such an important first step in suicide prevention because it raises awareness and reduces stigma around suicide.  We hope more community members and agencies join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee because we need everyone to help prevent suicide in our schools and greater community.”  

Special thanks to all the panelists: 

And all who tabled including:

This event was co-partnered by StarVista, The Office of Diversity and Equity, and San Mateo Union High School District.

Know the Signs, Find the Words, Reach Out

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In recognition of September Suicide Prevention Month, San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services reminds everyone that by knowing the signs, finding the words, and reaching out, we can work together to prevent suicide.

Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. Much like mental health conditions, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent those affected from talking openly or seeking help.

September, which is nationally recognized as suicide prevention month, is a time for us to share resources and stories to shed light on the highly taboo and stigmatized topic. It is important that individuals, friends, and family are receiving the resources to learn the signs of suicide, how to find the words to talk openly about suicide, and how to reach out.

If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the StarVista Crisis Hotline 650-579-0350 (1-800-273-8255).

For more information on how to help a loved one who may be at risk of suicide, visit www.suicideispreventable.org.

For information on San Mateo County suicide prevention resources, visit www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. Truthfully, we can all benefit from honest conversations about

Amplifying Consumer Voices

In raising awareness around suicide prevention and celebrating recovery, our community sent a strong message this September: suicide is preventable and recovery is possible.

One of the most important things we did this September – and will continue to do all year long – is amplify the voices of those who have worked hard to overcome their behavioral health challenges. In sharing these stories, we embolden others to seek recovery as well. Read more

Thank You For Recognizing Suicide Prevention Month!

SPRoadMapThank you for recognizing Suicide Prevention Month! We want to recognize suicide survivors and their families for their resilience, our partners for working with the County to prevent suicide, and community members for bringing this challenging but important conversation to your loved ones.

We encourage you to #Bethe1to recognize suicide prevention in September and year round! You can learn more in depth how suicide affects San Mateo County and what we can do to solve the problem by checking out San Mateo County’s first Suicide Prevention Roadmap. #SMCPrevention

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Continuing the Conversation on Mental Health with School Resource Officers

9-14-17 3When a young person is in immediate crisis, School Resource Officers (SROs) are often called to assess the young person and determine if the youth needs hospitalization. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) takes this process a step further by building empathy and understanding through listening non-judgmentally and giving reassurance and information, two steps from the YMHFA Action Plan, to the youth in crisis. Following protocols is essential, yet can be a difficult process for a young person who may be experiencing a mental health emergency. The hope in training School Resource Officers in YMHFA is to minimize the impact hospitalization may cause for a young student by building relationships, connections, and providing support.

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Challenging The Stigma That Mental Health Disorders Are “Unmanly”

therapyBetween 2010-2015, males comprised 73.8% of suicides reported in San Mateo County. While men aged 25 to 54 years old account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the U.S., they are also the least likely to seek any kind of support or treatment.


Check out Man
Therapy.org which was created by men and for men (and their loved ones) to combat the problematic idea that mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness, and to share mental health information with the men in your life. #BeThe1To reach out and support the men in your life. #SMCPrevention. 

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Spanish Suicide Prevention Resources

Preguntar directamente sobre el suicidio puede ayudar a salvar una vida pero puede ser difícil si no sabe qué decir. Visite www.elsuicidioesprevenible.org para aprender sobre cuales son algunas de las herramientas de cómo usted puede hacer una gran diferencia en la vida de otros.

Asking about suicide directly can help save a life but it can be difficult if you do not know what to say. Visit www.elsuicidioesprevenible.org (Spanish) or www.suicideispreventable.org to learn about some of the tools on how you can make a big difference in the lives of others.

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September Proclaimed As Suicide Prevention Month

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On September 12, Board of Supervisors proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Month.

Three Lived Experience Academy (LEA) graduates shared their suicide survivor stories. Their personal stories emphasize that prevention works, treatment is available and recovery is possible.  

If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the StarVista Crisis Hotline 650-579-0350 (1-800-273-8255).

For more information on how to help a loved who may be at risk of suicide, visit www.suicideispreventable.org.

For information on San Mateo County suicide prevention resources, visit www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

 

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