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
ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
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 https://www.bhsd.sccgov.org/
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.
Expanding access to care
County’s New Adult Residential Treatment Center is Next Step in Bolstering Mental Health Services
A former detox facility adjacent to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus has been transformed into a residential treatment center for people with serious mental illnesses, the latest step in the County of Santa Clara’s efforts to increase the level of care offered for those with behavioral health needs.
County officials warn of fentanyl-laced pills circulating in the community
Fentanyl Deaths Spike in Santa Clara County
Fentanyl-related overdose deaths for 2023 in Santa Clara County more than doubled at the end of May, with 41 deaths compared to 17 recorded deaths at the end of April 2023. According to the County of Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. Michelle Jorden, “most fentanyl drug deaths in the county involve fentanyl combined with other drugs, including methamphetamine.” County officials continue to warn of fentanyl-laced pills circulating in the community.
Landmark in prevention policy
All Cities in Santa Clara County Now Have Suicide Prevention Policies
Every city in Santa Clara County has now formally adopted a city suicide prevention policy.
Healthier planet, healthier people
Santa Clara Valley Healthcare Signs Climate Pledge Initiative
Santa Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH) is taking a significant step in the battle against climate change by signing the federal health sector Climate Pledge initiative to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint at all its hospitals and clinics and become net-zero by 2050.
Compassionate, quality care
St. Louise Regional Hospital Intensive Care Unit Recognized for Excellence
Santa Clara County, Calif. May 23, 2023 - On May 21, St. Louise Regional Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) received the prestigious Silver Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).
Sanctuary for healing:
State-of-the-Art Mental Health Center to Bring Critical Services Closer to Home
February 22, 2023 – Community members, healthcare leaders, County supervisors and staff on Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking of a first-of-its-kind facility in the South Bay: a state-of-the-art Behavioral Health Center that will offer mental health services close to home for children, adolescents and adults.
New, Rapid CT Scanners at O’Connor Hospital Are a ‘Game Changer’ for Patient Experience
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. – O’Connor Hospital in San Jose has installed two new Computed Tomography (CT) scanners. The new equipment has outstanding speed, power reserves, and sensitivity.
South County Public Safety and Emergency Agencies Get Thanks from St. Louise Regional Hospital on National First Responders Day
Santa Clara County, CA – Representatives from St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy are heading to 15 law enforcement, fire and EMS facilities in south Santa Clara County this morning bearing gifts: fruit baskets, snack packages and a “thank you for all you do” to honor their care colleagues on National First Responders Day.
New Primary Care Clinic Planned for North Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County, CA. October 13, 2022 A newly planned Valley Health Center for the Palo Alto-Mountain View area will bring a full range of primary care services to North Santa Clara County. The services provided are part of the County of Santa Clara Health System’s health care delivery system, Santa Clara Valley Healthcare.
MedAssist Program Expands to Cover All Medications for Diabetes Care
Santa Clara County— To help combat high prescription drug costs, all medications to treat diabetes are being added to the County’s MedAssist Program. People suffering from chronic diseases have a particularly difficult time, not only because of their health condition, but because of the rising cost of their medications.
Physical Rehabilitation Services Nation’s Best
Santa Clara County, CA – July 26, 2022. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has been recognized as a 2022-2023 Best Hospital for rehabilitation services by U.S. News & World Report. These highly regarded clinical services are part of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Recognized for high-quality stroke care
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA— All three County of Santa Clara public hospitals have received American Heart Association quality achievement awards. These awards recognize the hospitals commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized and research-based guidelines. The quality care they provide ultimately leads to more lives saved and reduced disability.
Medi-Cal Health Coverage Now Available to Adults 50+
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— All adults in California over the age of 50, regardless of immigration status, may now qualify for Medi-Cal, the State’s version of the federal Medicaid program that provides free or low-cost health coverage.