Category Archives: Suicide Prevention

Bringing Awareness to Students About Knowing the Signs, Finding the Words, and Reaching Out

 

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Office of Diversity and Equity Interns, Alicia and Priscilla, table at Burlingame High School to teach students about Suicide Prevention Month

A special thank you to Burlingame High School [BHS] for inviting us to their on-campus resource fair for Suicide Prevention and Awareness week. In recognition of September as the National Suicide Prevention month, the counseling team at Burlingame High School organized a tabling event which included community agencies such as StarVista, Health Right 360, The Crisis Text Line, and The San Mateo County Pride Center. The resource fair was held during lunchtime, allowing students to ask questions, learn about different services and resources offered, and gain awareness regarding suicide prevention. We were able to bring awareness to students about knowing the signs of suicide, finding the words to say to a friend or loved one, and how to reach out for help. 

 

Alongside the tabling participation, BHS incorporated games and activities to promote their messaging campaign, “You Matter,” where students wrote positive messages of encouragement to express a shared sentiment of community support amongst peers. The poser is to be displayed on campus.  

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

Written by Alicia Vasquez and Priscilla Bustos, Office of Diversity and Equity interns

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

September 19 -The S-Word Film Screening and Q&A Panel

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In honor of September Suicide Prevention month, on Wednesday, 9/12, please join us for a film screening of the S-Word. Film will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles. 

Following the film screening will be a Q&A panel which will offer Spanish and Chinese interpretation. Childcare (for ages 3-15) and refreshments provided. Registered attendees are entered in a raffle for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Synopsis: A suicide attempt survivor is on a mission to find fellow survivors and document their stories of courage, insight and humor. Along the way, she discovers a rising national movement transforming personal struggles into action.

Register via the Eventbrite link HERE.

Chinese Flyer | Spanish Flyer English Flyer

August 24 – 2nd Annual Mental Health Open Mic at Philz

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On Friday, August 24th, please join us for the 2nd Annual Mental Health Open Mic at Philz in Westborough Square. 

First 50 to register via eventbrite will receive a free coffee that evening! 

We hope to see you there, and we especially hope to hear you speak at our open mic!

Know the signs, find the words, and reach out. Break the silence. 

 

Facebook event link can be found here. 

This event is hosted by Supervisor Canepa, District 5, The Office of Diversity and Equity, Pacific Islander Initiative, Filipino Mental Health Initiative, and Chinese Health Initiative

Suicide Prevention: Continuing the Conversation

Know the Signs - Facebook ImageMany 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.

From Parent Project Graduates to Youth Mental Health First Aiders

Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid

Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid at Mills High School in April 2018

When parents and caregivers sign up to take the 12 week Parent Project course, they might not know what is in store for them. A sense of community is built in those short weeks and the knowledge gained sparks a deeper interest to continue learning to help others and their children.

By offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid training after Parent Project, parents and caregivers learn why knowing the signs of a mental health challenge or crisis, including suicide, can help their children. For many, their children are first generation U.S. born children, who face the challenges of growing up in a culture different from their parents. For many parents and caregivers attending the training, trying to understand the world their children are growing up in and finding the support from their peers in the room is the most beneficial aspect of their time in the class.

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. For more information, please contact Frances Lobos at flobos@smcgov.org.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid, please contact Natalie Andrade at nandrade@smcgov.org

To learn more about other programs and classes similar to these, visit the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)’s website here

Written by Natalie Andrade, YMHFA Program Coordinator

Police Victimization: A Link to Suicide

Among many different factors, one’s environment can play a major role in increasing risk for suicide. Almost 57% of suicide risk can be attributed traumatic events occurring in one’s physical and social environments. Stressful life events experienced at the neighborhood and community levels can create feelings of hopelessness, fear, sorrow, and despair. If left untreated, such feelings can translate to suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. One major environmental exposure of concern is police victimization, whose impacts stem beyond its immediate effects on death and physical harm. 

A study published just last year, found a 12-month prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals with lifetime exposure to police victimization. Police victimization was defined as: physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, sexual assault, psychological victimization, and neglect. Racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, males, and low income populations disproportionately experienced and/or witnessed police victimization. Suicide attempts were highest among individuals specifically exposed to assaultive forms of police victimization such as physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, and sexual assault. In brief, it was established that assaultive police victimization is strongly associated with suicide attempts.

Given its serious collateral effects on mental health, there is an urgent need to prevent suicide among marginalized communities heavily exposed to police victimization. Comprehensive, trauma-informed trainings for police officers are one of many upstream approaches to help prevent exposure to police victimization. Trainings should specifically include information on Race-Based Trauma, given that police victimization is most commonly reported by African American and Latino populations. Additionally, people reporting exposure to police victimization should be screened for suicide ideation and/or attempts with tools that specifically assess for physical and sexual violence during police-community encounters. Screenings should then of course be followed by appropriate ongoing treatment and support. Applying both a preventive and treatment lens to this issue is critical, as it will ensure that we are fully supporting the lives, health, and wellbeing of individuals and entire communities impacted by police victimization.

San Mateo County’s Suicide Prevention Committee is currently focusing on two workgroups: QPR training and outreach. To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Committee, and how to become a member of the committee, visit here

Written by Angelica Delgado, Office of Diversity and Equity

 

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Date Announcement Encourages Parents to Start Conversation

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With the start date of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 announced to be on May 18, youth crisis services are distributing resources online in preparation for youth who will be re-watching season 1. They encourage all to remind parents that while the show may be okay for fairly well adjusted teens to watch, the show can be triggering for those who are not or have had trauma or thoughts of suicide.

The 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide encourages parents to watch the show with their teens, and encourage discussion afterwards. The guide also provides specific discussion questions and points that parents may use as conversation starters.

Many have taken issue with the season 1 release of the Netflix original, accusing the show of glorifying and romanticizing teen suicide. In response to this backlash, the show will be making a few adjustments to the second season such as having different cast members appear at the beginning of each episode warning of the content as well as an aftershow for the actors to have discussions and dialogues with mental health professionals and educators about the show.

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