By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart

As a member of the community, Caltrain remains committed to supporting mental health initiatives in each of the counties it serves. This Thursday, May 7, Caltrain is partnering with Caminar for Mental Health to host its first-ever Mental Health Symposium. The educational symposium will focus on mental health, research and the experience of people in our community living with mental illness.

Since the beginning of this calendar year, Caltrain has experienced 10 fatalities on its tracks. Of those, only one was accidental. The preliminary investigation of the other nine fatalities indicates that the cause of death was suicide. Suicide is a societal and community problem, which is often the tragic result of untreated mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction.

Caltrain has long been a partner in addressing the difficult issues of mental health, suicide and lifting the stigma of seeking help by posting “There is Help” crisis hotline signs along our rail corridor and participating twice in the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile walk in San Francisco to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

It is frustrating for everyone – the general public, our riders and Caltrain personnel – not to be able to arrive at a simple resolution that will prevent these tragic incidents. Research indicates that the most successful preventative action is to focus on early intervention efforts.

For the last five years, Caltrain has been working closely with cities, civic organizations, mental health and suicide prevention organizations to address the root cause of these disturbing incidents and help to provide support and resources for communities struggling to address these issues.

Friends of Caminar contributing to Thursday night’s discussion include:

  • Steven Adelsheim, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University
  • Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D., professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley and Vice Chair for the Department
  • Manpreet Singh, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development) at Stanford University
  • Vikaas Sohal, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychiatry at UC San Francisco
  • Brandon Staglin, a leading mental health advocate and Board of Director of International Mental Health Research organization (One Mind Institute)

The symposium begins at 6 p.m. at the Carolands Chateau, 565 Remillard Drive in Hillsborough. For more information about Caminar for Mental Health, visit



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