September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and on September 23, 2020, Felton’s San Francisco Suicide Prevention (SFSP) team members, Director of Programs Van Hedwall and Hotline Manager Meg Sierra were special guests on KCBS Radio. Hosted by Keith Menconi, the two-hour special aired as part of the national “I’m Listening” campaign to promote suicide prevention and end the stigma around mental health needs.
You can listen to highlights of the program online, here:
Amid 2020 Stresses, Community Advocates Step Up Mental Health Support
First aired on September 23, 2020
Hedwall spoke of the challenges SFSP faces in COVID-19 times and how high-risk callers increased significantly. He also spoke of the unique challenges faced by both the elderly and teens, two groups who are at higher risk of having isolated feelings.
He said, “Isolation is one of the main causes of suicidal ideation. When teens are isolated, they tend to carry out suicide attempts, which brings us to the idea that human connection is related to being one of our basic needs. When that’s taken away, mental health issues arise, and our depression and anxiety increase.”
The radio show also featured SafeSpace, an advocacy group devoted to teen mental health, and the nonprofit agency National First Responders Fund that supports the mental health of first responders, including firefighters, paramedics and police. SFSP’s Meg Sierra stressed the need for self-care in these critical times and the importance of reaching out for help. “San Francisco Suicide Prevention’s mission is to focus on safety first. SFSP is an alternate resource for people to reach out,” she said. For more information, please visit sfsuicide.org. And please plan to support SFSP’s annual fundraiser “Laughs for Life”, which will be an exciting virtual event held on April 8, 2021.