Tag Archives: Crisis Response

Happy 50th Anniversary to the StarVista Crisis Center!



Picture (Left to Right): Sylvia Tang, Narges Dillon, Stephanie Weisner,  Jei Africa

On September 22, the  StarVista Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center celebrated 50 years of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to San Mateo County. The event involved recognition of the Crisis Center’s volunteers, staff and community partners.

The San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity is honored to continue to partner with StarVista on suicide prevention efforts.

Visit our previous blog post to learn more about the services provided by the Crisis Center.

Cheers to 50 more years!

San Mateo County Community Members Show up, and Speak up to Save a Life

In recognition of September Suicide Prevention Month, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services partnered with local 24/7 crisis hotline StarVista and Caltrain to host Speak Up, Save a Life: Suicide Prevention Forum last Friday, September 25 at the San Mateo Main Library.

Over 130 San Mateo County community members showed up to the Suicide Prevention Forum to show they care and learn about suicide prevention from survivors. This event raised awareness about the warning signs of suicide and the help available for those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Last Friday’s Suicide Prevention Forum: Speak up, Save a Life featured a panel discussion with Alan Cochran, who fought back tears as he shared how his close friend died by suicide and about the warning signs that meant his friend had been thinking about taking his own life. Suicide survivor Rocio Cornejo shared how she started having thoughts of suicide as a young teenager, and how her culture and the stigma surrounding mental health continue to be a challenge during her recovery. Cornejo also shared what it is like to go through a suicide crisis, how she got help, and her journey to recovery.

The resounding message from the forum was if you see something, you can do or say something that could save a life. Sometimes all it takes is one person to check in and show they care. Other panelists included Salvador Zuno, Caltrain Transit Police and Narges Zohoury Dillon, StarVista Crisis Hotline, who urged the public to call StarVista’s 24/7 crisis line at 650-579-0350 if they are ever concerned about someone or think someone may harm himself or herself.

“Suicide is preventable and more and more people are showing they care and asking how they can help others or help themselves recover,” said Stephen Kaplan, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “Having people join together as a community of support to speak up and save a life is a great step towards suicide prevention. We are all in this together.”

The more we talk about mental health and how to best help someone, the more likely a loved one will feel empowered to reach out and recover. For more information on suicide prevention in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.


The African American Community Initiative Acknowledges Lives Lost in Charleston, SC

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

Crisis Collaboration Continues

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.

Crisis Collaboration Work Moving Forward

The Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Crisis Collaboration Workgroup met for the third time this past week and a diverse group of service providers within San Mateo County were in attendance. Representatives from:  BHRS, Law Enforcement, School Districts, San Mateo Medical Center, Mills Hospital, V.A., NAMI, Probation, Emergency Medical Services, Mid-Pen Housing, crisis line providers, crisis response non-profits and several others came together with the goal to:  Read more