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.
Hosted by The Office of Diversity and Equity
For 2020 Suicide Prevention Month events and other details, please visit smchealth.org/suicide-prevention-month.
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 “BAY” 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
222 West 39th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403
Mills-Peninsula Medical Center
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 2020, San Mateo County and partners are promoting the theme of “Stronger Together” 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.” 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenge, and yet we have seen how communities can come together in innovative and supportive ways.
Each year, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity & Equity and Suicide Prevention Committee publishes web page of events which promotes the SPM events broadly across local providers, partners and community in San Mateo County.
For updates and details on upcoming free (or low cost) SPM events, please visit smchealth.org/suicide-prevention-month.
Suicide Prevention Roadmap
To address the increased need for suicide prevention in the community, the Suicide Prevention Committee (further described in below section) 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.
From about October 2019 through September 2020, SPC will conduct the 2020-2025 San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning process. San Mateo County’s suicide prevention strategic plan will build off of the 2017-2020 Suicide Prevention Roadmap and California Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan. This strategic plan will also be shaped by public health frameworks and community input. Community input was collected by phone, email, survey and online forum. More details on the forum below.
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 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 via Zoom (see for meeting schedule details). For more information or to get involved in the SPC or other suicide prevention efforts, please contact:
Sylvia Tang, MPP
Co-Chair, Suicide Prevention Committee
Office of Diversity and Equity
San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
650-578-7165 | email@example.com
Co-Chair, Suicide Prevention Committee
Star Vista Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Center
650.339.5803 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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 (San Mateo County Office of Education)
Bay Area Suicide & Crisis Intervention Alliance
California Peer-Run Warm Line | 1-855-845-7415
California Suicide Prevention Program
Coordinate a Suicide Prevention Activity in Your Community (Each Mind Matters)
Each Mind Matters Resource Center
Know the Signs (English)
Reconozca las Señales (Español)
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 (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline | 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Suicide Awareness Voices for Education
Suicide Prevention (MY3) App
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Take 5 to Save Lives Campaign
International Association for Suicide Prevention
World Health Organization – Suicide Prevention
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Youth)
Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention
Friendship Line – Institute on Aging
Department of Veteran Affairs – Suicide Prevention
Veterans Crisis Line
Active Minds (College Students)
California Youth Crisis Line (Youth 12-24 & Families)
Directing Change Program & Student Film Contest
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Youth)
Your Life Your Voice (Youth and Families)
For more info, email the Office of Diversity and Equity at ODE@smcgov.org.
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. Behavioral Health and Recovery Services serves San Mateo County residents with Medi-Cal or those who are uninusured.
TTY (for hearing impaired): dial 711
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
The Boys Town National Hotline provides 24/7 help and counseling to kids and families in crisis. Counselors are available via phone, text, email and IM.
Text VOICE to 20121
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.