Progress in preventing suicide and providing crisis services

County of Santa Clara Celebrates One Year with 988 during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September commemorates the successful first year of the new suicide prevention lifeline and highlights opportunities to promote suicide prevention and reduce stigma

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. — In recognition of September’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) is noting the success of their 988-suicide prevention lifeline and an expansion of services for people in crisis and is encouraging partners and community members to get involved in other suicide prevention activities.

As an integral part of its efforts, BHSD continues to promote use of 988 and the innovative crisis services available to county residents when they call the three-digit lifeline. In its first year the line answered 20,980 calls.

According to recent Mental Health Services Act survey data, the lifeline has become a visible and accessible resource in Santa Clara County. The survey showed that residents identified 988 as a vital asset among BHSD services.

To further bolster crisis services, BHSD recently launched text messaging through 988, available in English and Spanish.

Behavioral Health Services Department Director Sherri Terao stated, “Expanding 988 to include text messaging increases access to these life-saving services. Some folks may feel more comfortable seeking support through a text instead of a call. Now there are even fewer barriers to finding help in a moment of crisis. It’s a huge development and one we want to share with the community during this special month.”

Supervisor Otto Lee stated, “The data shows that we have successfully implemented 988, and the results demonstrate our commitment to providing our residents the help they need when they need it most. We are excited to provide this crucial resource and make 988 operations and improvement a priority.”

The County’s pioneering in-person crisis services, available through 988, continue to meet community needs. The programs – Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT), Mobile Response Stabilization Services (MRSS), Trusted Response Urgent Support Team (TRUST), and In-Home Outreach Team (IHOT) – provide effective, compassionate crisis intervention, and reduce hospitalizations and unnecessary incarceration. Each program is grounded in cultural humility, with staff representing the diverse cultural and language backgrounds found in Santa Clara County communities. In the first year of 988, the lifeline’s crisis counselors referred 3488 callers to the County’s community mobile response programs.

Supervisor Susan Ellenberg stated, “We aim to offer comprehensive mental health service options to assist residents in the manner they want and need to receive that assistance. We are constantly iterating to ensure continuous improvement of the system – and most of those iterations arise from community members’ input and guidance. Santa Clara County is leading the state on meaningful crisis response services. Our multi-pronged approach to providing crisis support will ensure that the 988 tool will grow more and more effective for individuals, families, and children in Santa Clara County.”

September is widely recognized as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The recognition aims to raise suicide awareness, promote prevention efforts, and reduce stigma. Throughout the month, BHSD’s Suicide Prevention Program and local and national organizations will share events, opportunities, and resources to promote suicide prevention efforts. BHSD and the Suicide Prevention Program encourage everyone to get involved in commemorating the month, with some ideas featured below. Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide:

• Find out more about the County’s efforts: County Suicide Prevention Program
• Take a community helper training: Suicide Prevention Resource Center
• Promote the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: SAMHSA
• Share the powerful California state suicide prevention campaign: Know the Signs
• Learn about suicide's impacts on different groups and engage your community: NAMI
• Elevate the conversation around suicide and encourage safe messaging: Action Alliance
• Get involved with National Suicide Prevention Week: AFSP
• Spread the word on social media: CDC

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, Calif., making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

Visit the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department at

woman receives phone help using 988

New home for TB, Refugee Clinics

Santa Clara Valley Healthcare Opens State-of-the-Art Primary Care Facility for the Tuberculosis Clinic and Refugee Health Assessment Program

Santa Clara County, Calif. – Santa Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH), the hospital system for the County of Santa Clara, hosted a ribbon cutting for its new, state-of-the-art Valley Health Center (VHC) Lundy primary care clinic. VHC Lundy will be the new home for the Tuberculosis Clinic & Refugee Health Assessment Program. The new facility comes at a critical time as Santa Clara County faces the third highest case rate for tuberculosis (TB) among California jurisdictions, while also welcoming the highest numbers of refugees in the state, according to County health officials. VHC Lundy is located at 1996 Lundy Avenue in East San José.

The only such clinic and program of its kind in the county, VHC Lundy provides expert evaluation and treatment of active TB disease and preventive therapy for latent TB infections (LTBI). The new clinic also delivers comprehensive health assessments and medical treatment specifically designed for refugees, asylees, humanitarian parolees, special immigrant visa holders and victims of human trafficking who seek treatment in the county.

VHC Lundy is a cutting-edge airborne isolation facility designed to prevent transmission of TB and other airborne diseases and will provide a safe and welcoming care environment for staff and patients in need of services and support.

“While the clinic will serve as a huge asset to the entire county, I want to express my profound gratitude for the decision to open this in an area that is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the county,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Otto Lee. “Moreover, it is of utmost importance that the clinic upholds our principles of language, cultural humility and competence, reflecting the values that we hold dear in Santa Clara County.”

“The assessment program housed at the new site will now have its own space, a place that provides care and counseling for County families; folks who are often using the program as their first entry point into our healthcare system,” added County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Chair of the County Health and Hospital Committee. “We’re really working to provide a warm environment, a safe space, to help these families navigate our healthcare system.”

Federal law requires new refugee arrivals to be screened for communicable diseases, including viral hepatitis, parasitic infections and tuberculosis, as well as chronic health conditions. In addition to the screenings, the Refugee Health Assessment Program also provides the following:

• Primary care services;
• Referrals to specialty care services and urgent care as needed;
• Required immigration vaccinations; and
• Mental health assessments and referrals to counseling and mental health services for adult patients through a partnership with the Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)/Center for Survivors of Torture (CST).

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, so without early screening, it could lead to delayed treatment and undiagnosed people spreading the disease unknowingly to the broader community,” said Dr. Phuong H. Nguyen, SCVH Chief Medical Officer. “Completing our screening and LTBI treatment is critical to preventing transmissions and protects the health of the entire community.”

The new clinic is the only outpatient setting specializing in TB in the county, providing care to more than 60 percent of all active cases locally. The existing clinic treats up to 100 patients each day, on average. More than 50 percent of the clinic staff are certified interpreters in a second language, and many were also refugees themselves.

“We’ll now have a state-of-the-art facility that makes it easier for us to provide more consistent support and follow-up with our new patients, many of whom represent some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Sonia Menzies, Director of Ambulatory Community Health Services for Santa Clara Valley Healthcare.

The County has implemented an expanded LTBI testing as part of the standard patient Health Maintenance Plan in all VHC primary care clinic locations. This enables Primary Care Providers to identify and refer patients with LTBI for preventative treatment. Since August 2022, testing rates have more than doubled and referrals to the TB clinic have increased three times its usual monthly volume.

LTBI Services are now available in the following locations: VHC Downtown, VHC Gilroy, VHC San Jose, VHC Milpitas, and Vietnamese American Services Center (VASC) Clinic.

Image of a stethoscope

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