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Suicide Prevention

Overview

Suicide Prevention

Hosted by The Office of Diversity and Equity

Suicide is preventable. You can be the one to help.

Most people having suicidal thoughts are in a temporary, serious crisis. You can be the one to provide the support and help they need by taking three steps: know the signs of someone who is having suicidal thoughts, find the words to have a direct conversation with them and reach out for help from the many county resources available to those in crisis and their loved ones.

Whether you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, or are concerned about a loved one who might be, you are not alone. The San Mateo County community stands together to support those who are struggling, and guide them to the help they need. 

For immediate help, you can call the StarVista’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 650-579-0350.

What to Do in a Crisis

For emergencies that need an immediate response, call or text 9-1-1.
Refer to the guidelines for calling police during a mental health crisis to find out how to prepare and what to expect. Be sure to request a crisis intervention trained (CIT) officer.  

In a crisis, you can also turn to the resources below. 

1. Suicide Crisis Hotlines
1-800-273-TALK (8255) – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
650-579-0350 – StarVista’s 24/7 Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County)
​Text “Home” to 741741

Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for additional phone/chat options (online chat, Spanish speakers, Veterans, deaf or hard of hearing or disaster distress line)

2. Psychiatric Emergency Services

San Mateo Medical Center
(650) 573-2662
222 West 39th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403

Mills-Peninsula Medical Center
650-696-5915
1501 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010S

See crisis services for additional resources and the related content section below.

How to Support Someone

Start the conversation

Simply asking “Are you okay?” or “I’ve noticed you’ve been feeling hopeless a lot lately” can open the door to a conversation about getting help.

Make it safe at home

The majority of people who survive suicide never attempt it again. Safely storing medicines and guns (if you own them) in the home removes the opportunity for someone to act.

Download this flyer to learn more about how suicide can be prevented with the help of family, friends, the community, and County services.

You or someone you know might not be thinking about suicide. However, you or someone you know may want a caring person to chat with about specific issues. See below for resources.

Make it safe at school

The Suicide Prevention Poster for schools is a tool that can be used to help faculty and staff remember the risk factors and warning signs of students at risk of suicide.

These posters are available from San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services in partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education free of charge and are presented to faculty and staff along with a brief training on how to identify at risk students and what to do when they have been identified.

Get trained to help others

Get certified in Mental Health First Aid by taking a free 8-hour public education training to help you identify and respond to mental health crises. Adult Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid classes are available in English and Spanish. For more information visit smchealth.org/bhrs/ode/CommunityEd or contact Sylvia Tang at (650) 578-7165 or stang@smcgov.org  

Suicide Prevention Month 

September is Suicide Prevention Month (SPM), 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. 

For 2019, we are partnering with San Mateo County Libraries, Peninsula Library System, 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.”

Please download and share our 2019 SPM Calendar of Events. Please see below for more updated and detailed event information. 

[REGISTRATION CLOSED DUE TO FULL CAPACITY] Wed, Aug 14 6-7:30pm | 8-Week Suicide Loss Support Group (Wednesdays) 
Mission Hospice
1670 S Amphlett, Blvd, San Mateo
Details: We are offering a biannual 8-week structured psychoeducational support group for those bereaved by suicide. All attendees are asked to register in advance to attend the groups. To the best of my knowledge, as of March 2019, there were no support groups for suicide loss in San Mateo County. Now, Mission Hospice hosts these groups as a special place for people to come who have had a loved one die by suicide. The groups are co-facilitated by a loss survivor and myself, a licensed clinical social worker. Topics include grief and loss education, self-care, mental health and addiction awareness, communication and relationship building and healthy boundaries. They are held at the Mission Hospice office in San Mateo.
Language(s): English
Download Flyer
Contact: Isabel Stenzel (she/her) | istenzel@missionhospice.org | 650-753-4938

[REGISTRATION CLOSED DUE TO FULL CAPACITY] Thu, Aug 15 6-7:30pm | Monthly Suicide Loss Support Group (Third Thursdays of the Month)​
Mission Hospice
1670 S Amphlett, Blvd, San Mateo
Details: We are offering an ongoing once-a-month unstructured support group for those bereaved by suicide. All attendees are asked to register in advance to attend the groups. To the best of my knowledge, as of March 2019, there were no support groups for suicide loss in San Mateo County. Now, Mission Hospice hosts this ongoing group (and 8-week structured groups) as a special place for people to come who have had a loved one die by suicide. The groups are co-facilitated by a loss survivor and myself, a licensed clinical social worker. Unlike the structured groups, this monthly group is an open forum for participants to share what they are struggling with, how they are coping and how they experiencing grief at this time. They are held at the Mission Hospice office in San Mateo.
Language(s): English
Download Flyer
Contact: Isabel Stenzel (she/her) | istenzel@missionhospice.org | 650-753-4938

Tue, Aug 27 6-7:30pm | StarVista’s Crisis Hotline Volunteer Information Panel​
San Mateo Public Library
55 W 3rd Ave, San Mateo
Details: Come and join us and hear about the experiences of trained volunteers who dedicate their time in taking calls from StarVista’s Crisis Hotline. Learn how you could volunteer with us as  well! 
StarVista’s Crisis Hotline is the ONLY crisis hotline in San Mateo County; we serve as an ear for many people across San Mateo County (parents, teenagers, concerned family members, etc) who need extra support, listening, and resources.
Language(s): English
Download Flyer
Contact: Brook Pollard (she/her) | brook.pollard@star-vista.org | 650-339-5544

Thu, Sep 5 12-1pm | Interfaith Day of Prayer for Faith, Hope and Life​
County Center Courtyard
400 County Ctr, Redwood City
Details: A one hour event that includes Inter-Faith Leaders along with family members and people with lived experience to share faith statements, prayers, meditations, and statements about spirituality and how it has assisted in the healing of those with behavioral health issues.  There will be an emphasis upon suicide prevention and how faith leaders find ways to assist those within their faith.
Languages: English
Download Flyer
Contact: William Kruse (he/him) | bkruse@churchfortoday.net | 
510-506-3815

[CANCELLED] Wed, Sep 11 10am-2pm | H.O.P.E and ASIST YOU in staying HEALTHY AND SAFE​
NAMI San Mateo County
1650 Borel Pl, Ste 130, San Mateo
Details: A short description in sharing my own Lived Experience, my Lived Experience of a Loved One, as well as a Power Point presentation (includes above information), with In Our Own Voices stories of other people. The message is: ” YOU ARE NOT ALONE”
Languages: English
Contact: Amishi Patel (she/her) | amishihope@namisanmateo.org | 
650-430-2801

Thu, Sep 12 6pm-9pm | The Edge of Success: Film Screening & Panel​
Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway St, Redwood City
Details:  Meet filmmakers Kathryn Basiji + Liza Meak who will share about their film and the nature of mental health on students in the Bay Area and how parents, teachers, mental health professionals can care for students who face anxiety and depression. Kathryn and Liza will be joined by a mental health professional and a local parent who lost her son to death by suicide for an interactive panel discussion. This event is especially in honor of the students living in Silicon Valley so we are making this event free for any student in middle school, high school or college. We encourage parents, teachers and those working with students to attend.The film and discussion is recommended for students 12 years old and up.
Languages: English
Download Flyer
Contact: Want to volunteer? Email volunteer@bravemaker.com | Want to donate? Email: Fest@bravemaker.com
Tickets (General Public $15 | Students Free): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bravemaker-film-screening-panel-on-mental-health-suicide-prevention-tickets-66416851591

Fri, Sep 13 2pm-5pm | Linked Together: Open Community Craft and Meetup
South San Francisco Main Library
840 W. Orange Ave., South San Francisco
Details: ”Linked Together” is a week-long paper chain crafting session that celebrates belonging to a community and reminds us that we are all connected.  Throughout the week drop in and write a motivational slogan, phrase, or sentence and add it to the chain. As part of Suicide Prevention Week, the library will host a gathering for community members to share their stories on Friday, September 13th, from 2-5pm. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. Suitable for all ages.
Languages: English
Contact: Stacey Lein (she/her) | lein@plsinfo.org | 650-829-3875

Mon, Sep 16 6-7:30pm | Bullying Prevention Skills for Tweens and Teens (Adults/Parents 18+)
Brisbane Library
250 Visitacion Ave, Brisbane
Details: Learn early intervention strategies for preventing social behaviors that adversely affect your teen; help in intervening in, and recovering from bullying incidents.  Gain strategies for building social, emotional and communication skills for your child in middle and high school to prevent involvement with bullying behaviors. Susan Stone from Parents Place, resident bullying expert, in Palo Alto will be presenting.  
Languages: English
Contact: Erin McGee | Mcgee@smcl.org

Tue, Sep 17 9am | Board of Supervisors Proclamation of September Suicide Prevention Month​
Board of Supervisors Chambers
400 County Ctr, Redwood City
Details: There will be a presentation about the Friendship Line, Senior Peer Counseling, and possibly someone from the Lived Experience Academy
Languages: English
Contact: Sylvia Tang (she/her) | stang@smcgov.org | 650-578-7165

Tue, Sep 17 1-5pm | Cultural Considerations for Chinese & Chinese Americans​
Red Morton Community Center
1120 Roosevelt Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94061
Details: Training for BHRS Staff & Providers to increase their understanding of and ability to communicate effectively with parents about their children’s mental health concerns. The trainer is Helen H. Hsu, Psy.D., who is a staff psychologist, Asian American specialist, and lecturer at Stanford University, current president of the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), and Training Advisory Committee Member of the American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellowship Program. 
Languages: English
Contact: Shiyu Zhang (she/her) | zhan1502@umn.edu
Download Flyer

Wed, Sep 18 7-8:30pm | Bullying Prevention Skills for Tweens and Teens (Adults/Parents 18+)
Millbrae Library
1 Library Ave, Millbrae
Details: Learn early intervention strategies for preventing social behaviors that adversely affect your teen; help in intervening in, and recovering from bullying incidents.  Gain strategies for building social, emotional and communication skills for your child in middle and high school to prevent involvement with bullying behaviors. Susan Stone from Parents Place, resident bullying expert, in Palo Alto will be presenting.  
Languages: English
Contact: Kajah Ram | ram@smcl.org

Thu, Sep 19 6-7:30pm | Mental Health Comic Book Presentation at H.E.L.P Mental Health Support Group​ 
Menlo Church
950 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park
Details: Join us for a presentation and panel of San Mateo County’s first-ever graphic novel on mental health and substance use recovery!
Languages: English
Contact: Monte Fisher | mfisher@menlo.church | 650-330-7516

Mon, Sep 23 6pm-8:30pm | The S- Word Screening & Panel​
Menlo Park Main Library
800 Alma St, Menlo Park
Details: Screening of the S-Word Film “It is not the word suicide that is the problem; it is the silence that so often follows.” This film follows people who are surviving and thriving. Q and A to follow. 
Languages: English
Event Page
Contact: John Weaver (he/him) | jnweaver@menlopark.org
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-s-word-screening-and-discussion-tickets-69823310401 

Mon, Sep 23 7pm-8:30pm | Preventing Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults​
San Carlos Library – Upstairs Rooms A/B
610 Elm St, San Carlos
Details: Join us to find out how to combat isolation and loneliness with social interactions through programs such as Peninsula Family Services’ Senior Peer Counseling Program. Raffle prize drawings and refreshments served. 
Languages: English
Contact: Cristina Ugaitafa (she/her) | cugaitafa@smcgov.org | 
650-573-2937
Download Flyer

Tue, Sep 24 6pm-7:30pm | Preventing Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults​
Atherton Library
2 Dinkelspiel Station Ln, Atherton, CA 94027
Details: Join us to find out how to combat isolation and loneliness with social interactions through programs such as Peninsula Family Services’ Senior Peer Counseling Program. Raffle prize drawings and refreshments served. 
Languages: English
Contact: Cristina Ugaitafa (she/her) | cugaitafa@smcgov.org | 
650-573-2937
Download Flyer

Tue, Sep 24 6:30pm-8pm | The S Word Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Jefferson High School Theatre - 6996 Mission Street, Daly City, CA 94014
Details: In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, help us break the silence around suicide and join us in screening “The S Word.” This award-winning documentary takes an intimate look at survivors of suicide attempts who have turned their pain into actions and changed the way we talk about suicide. A post screening panel discussion will feature survivors, family members and mental health providers. 
Languages: English
Download Flyer
Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-s-word-film-screening-panel-discussion-tickets-70566832295

Tue, Sep 24 6:30pm-8pm | Self-Care & Connections in a Box (Craft Workshop)​
San Mateo County Pride Center – 1021 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94402
Details: Create your own personalized self-care safety box! We will guide you through a series of fun, arts-and-crafts activities to reflect upon the positive connections and supportive relationships in your life. We will also walk you through the steps for creating a basic safety plan for use in crisis. You’ll leave with your very own customized kit full of items and memories to help you get through tough times.
Languages: English
Contact: Alex Golding (he/him) | alex.golding@sanmateopride.org | 
650-465-6795

Tue, Sep 24 6:30-8:00pm | Bullying Prevention Skills for Tweens and Teens (Adults/Parents 18+)
Foster City Library, 1000 E Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City
Details: Learn early intervention strategies for preventing social behaviors that adversely affect your teen; help in intervening in, and recovering from bullying incidents.  Gain strategies for building social, emotional and communication skills for your child in middle and high school to prevent involvement with bullying behaviors. Susan Stone from Parents Place, resident bullying expert, in Palo Alto will be presenting.  
Languages: English
Contact: Jenna Varden | varden@smcl.org

Wed, Sep 25 6:30pm-8pm | A Conversation About Cyberbullying & Bullying
Sharp Park Library – 104 Hilton Way Pacifica
Details: Join StarVista for a presentation and conversation about cyberbullying and bullying. We cover the impact of bullying on young people and children, as well as signs that a child might be being bullied and, finally, ways to intervene if we are concerned about a child in our lives.
Languages: English
Download Flyer
Contact: Brook Pollard (she/her) | brook.pollard@star-vista.org | 650-339-5544
Please RSVP at www.smcl.org or 650-355-5196 ext 229

Mon, Sep 30 7-8:30pm | Bullying Prevention Skills for Tweens and Teens (Adults/Parents 18+)
Belmont Library, 1100 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont
Details: Learn early intervention strategies for preventing social behaviors that adversely affect your teen; help in intervening in, and recovering from bullying incidents.  Gain strategies for building social, emotional and communication skills for your child in middle and high school to prevent involvement with bullying behaviors. Susan Stone from Parents Place, resident bullying expert, in Palo Alto will be presenting.  
Languages: English
Contact: Megan Keane | keane@smcl.org 

Suicide Prevention Committee

The Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) provides oversight and direction to suicide prevention efforts in San Mateo County. Led by BHRS, the committee is comprised of suicide attempt survivors, suicide loss survivors, behavioral health providers, social service providers, local transportation agency (Caltrain) staff, and other community members passionate about preventing suicide in our community. The committee meets the 1st Tuesday of the month 1:30 to 3:00PM at the Department of Housing – Jupiter Room (264 Harbor Blvd, Bldg A, Belmont) (see 2019-2020 Meeting Schedule for meeting schedule details). For more information or to get involved in the SPC or other suicide prevention efforts, please contact:

          Sylvia Tang, MPP
          Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
          Co-Chair, Suicide Prevention Committee
          Office of Diversity and Equity
          San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
          650-578-7165 | stang@smcgov.org

To address the increased need for suicide prevention in the community, the SPC developed the very first Suicide Prevention Roadmap for San Mateo County. The 2017-2020 Suicide Prevention Roadmap offers prevention tools for community partners including behavioral health professionals, clients/consumers and family members, and community advocates and agencies. The first iteration of the Roadmap outlines programs, strategies and future plans for suicide prevention in San Mateo County.

2017-2020 Suicide Prevention Roadmap

Additional Resources

By Region

County
Behavioral Health Community Education (Free) 
National Alliance on Mental Illness Warm Line/Help Desk | 650-638-0800
Suicide Prevention Roadmap (2017-2020)
StarVista’s Crisis Hotline | 650-579-0350
Stigma Free (Be the One) San Mateo County
San Mateo County Schools Suicide Prevention Protocol 

Regional
Bay Area Suicide & Crisis Intervention Alliance 
California Peer-Run Warm Line | 1-855-845-7415

State
California Suicide Prevention Program
Coordinate a Suicide Prevention Activity in Your Community (Each Mind Matters)
Know the Signs

National
#BeThe1To Campaign
American Association of Suicidology
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Violence Prevention
Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Messaging)
National Council for Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Suicide Awareness Voices for Education
Suicide Prevention (MY3) App
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Take 5 to Save Lives Campaign

Worldwide
International Association for Suicide Prevention 
LivingWorks
World Health Organization – Suicide Prevention

By Population

LGBTQ+
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Youth)

Older Adults
Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention
Friendship Line – Institute on Aging 

Veterans
Department of Veteran Affairs – Suicide Prevention
Veterans Crisis Line

Youth/Students
Active Minds (College Students)
California Youth Crisis Line (Youth 12-24 & Families)
Directing Change Program & Student Film Contest
JED
ReachOut USA
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Youth)
Your Life Your Voice (Youth and Families)

By Topic

Primary Care
Zero Suicide

Workplace
Workplace Suicide Prevention

For more info, email the Office of Diversity and Equity at ODE@smcgov.org. 

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BHRS Access Call Center

For assistance in finding mental health and/or substance use services for someone who may be experiencing a mental illness and/or substance use condition, or for someone you are concerned about, call the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services ACCESS Call Center for information, an assessment and a referral based on individual needs.

(800) 686-0101
TDD: (800) 943-2833

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Institute on Aging – Friendship Line

The friendship line provides counseling and support to older adults and adults living with disabilities in both crisis and non urgent situations.

800 – 971 – 0016
www.ioaging.org/services/friendship-line 

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Kara Grief Support

Kara provides grief support to children, teens, families and adults. 

650-321-5272
Open Monday to Thursday 9am – 4pm (PST) and Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (PST).
kara-grief.org

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MY3

MY3 is a mobile app that lets you stay connected when you are having thoughts of suicide.

  • With MY3, you define your safety network and your plan to help get you through difficult times.
  • MY3 is available for FREE in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
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Veterans Crisis Line

Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support.

1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
Text 838255

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