By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition and during the month of May, participants from across the country will bring awareness to mental health, including Caltrain.
For nearly a decade, Caltrain has been involved with numerous behavioral and mental health organizations within the three regions it serves in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. At times, Caltrain is affected by fatalitie
s that occur along the rail corridor. After a full investigation, the majority of those fatalities are ruled suicides as a result of a mental health condition the individual suffered.
Caltrain devotes a great deal of effort to educating the public about rail safety. Suicide is the primary cause of rail-related deaths on Caltrain, yet it is one that the rail agency can do little to prevent on its own. Suicide is preventable, and it starts with being educated about mental health conditions.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
- Many people do not seek help because of the stigma associated with mental health
- 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, Caltrain will be doing its part to help the community:
- On Wednesday, May 4, Caltrain will join the County of San Mateo Health System kick-off Mental Health Awareness Month where participants can learn about local resources. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the San Mateo Health System Building, 225 37th Ave., Room 100 in San Mateo. The event is open to the public. To register, visit www.mentalhealthmonth.eventbrite.com.
- For the third time in 10 years, Caltrain will be participating in the 18-mile Out of the Darkness Overnight walk on Saturday, May 21 in San Francisco to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
- On Wednesday, May 25, Caltrain will once again sponsor the 2nd Annual Caminar for Mental Health Symposium. The symposium will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the historic Filoli country estate at 86 Cañada Road in Woodside. Admission to the event is free, but seating is limited. To register, click HERE.
This month, please share mental health awareness information, images and graphics using the hashtags #mhm or #mentalhealthmonth.
San Francisco Department of Public Health – The San Francisco Behavioral Health Plan offers a full range of specialty behavioral health services provided by a culturally diverse network of community behavioral health programs, clinics and private psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists.
County of San Mateo Health System – San Mateo County
Santa Clara Valley Mental Health Department – Santa Clara County