Transit District Exceeds Fundraising Goal for Suicide Prevention
A team of San Mateo County Transit District employees who also manage Caltrain recently raised nearly $12,000 to prevent suicides. The team joined more than 2,000 people in the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile walk in San Francisco to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The San Francisco Caltrain Station was the half-way point for the event.
Although suicides on the Caltrain right of way make up only 3 percent of all the deaths caused by suicide in the area served by the railroad, they are the focus of public attention because they impact so many people.
“We are all touched by these tragic incidents on the Caltrain right of way,” said Executive Director Mike Scanlon. “Suicide is a community mental health issue. As a member of the community, Caltrain is committed to helping to prevent suicide.”
In 1996, Caltrain posted “No Trespassing” signs every 1,200 feet along its entire 55-mile corridor. In 2001, a suicide prevention sign with a telephone number to a crisis prevention center was added. In 2010, the signs were redesigned as part of a national study to access their effectiveness. This year all the signs, which had begun to fade, were replaced.
In addition, Caltrain has partnered with local community organizations to implement suicide prevention plans including the City of Palo Alto Safety Net Project, Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee, and the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention/Intervention Planning Committee.
The Transit Police Bureau, comprised of San Mateo County Sheriff’s officers, is responsible for policing Caltrain property. These highly-skilled law enforcement professions have received specialized Crisis Intervention Training to help them recognize people who may be a threat to themselves and refer them for appropriate treatment.
Caltrain also sponsored a team in the 2006 Out of the Darkness Overnight, the last time the event was held in San Francisco.
Media Contact: Christine Dunn, 650.508.6238