September is Suicide Prevention Month – You Are Not Alone
September is Suicide Prevention Month. You are not alone. If you need help, you can speak with someone. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7.
“Last week an individual came to Ritter Center and was openly admitting he was suicidal,” said Rachelle Valenzuela, Ritter Center Clinic Manager. “In fact, he was in the food pantry at that moment. He wasn’t even being seen at the clinic. The security guard came to the clinic and shared that this situation was happening in real time.”
Rachelle quickly conferred with Ritter Center Family Nurse Practitioner Alec Bradbury and together they walked over to the pantry.
“As we headed from the health clinic to the food pantry, we took a step back and watched. There was so much support already around this individual. The security guard who was there that day must have been meant to be there in some way. He was so supportive. The team embraced them and everyone was in tears. It was so emotional and beautiful to watch the support. We walked over with him to the behavioral health clinic. He met with our therapist on site and he also had the full attention of our entire behavioral health department team,” said Rachelle. “ It was so beautiful to see all of our organization come together like that. Ultimately, three departments came together within this one moment: food pantry, behavioral health and medical health. It really shows how Ritter Center continues to grow with the progress of our departmental integration; our vision is to fully and consistently integrate our department services and care.”
Although mental health issues still carry a heavy stigma in society, it is a fact that mental health and medical health are one. They are inextricably interlinked. The whole person is what needs to be treated. This holistic lens forms the approach to health care that runs across all Ritter Center departments – not just social work, but also medical and mental health care.
“This is not an easy world to live in right now. Recent news events, political events and the pandemic come to mind. Spiritually, physically, and mentally we are all affected. We get lost in the swirling emotions of things. Where are they coming from and where are we coming from currently? We have to continually ask that of ourselves,” said Rachelle.
“Am I validly upset? Can we pause when we are emotionally charged? Can we stop to consider is this person why I’m upset or is it deeper and something else?”
“In fact, you never know what smiling and saying hello will do for another person. I strive to live by those words every single day. It’s not easy and I don’t always do it. But this morning on campus I smiled and said hello to someone. I thought to myself –who knows? This person could potentially be our client one day. With this small but significant connection, if they do come to Ritter Center, then I will be able to connect with them even more. At Ritter Center, we want to reach as many people as we possibly can and continue to grow our roots even deeper into this community.”
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
More resources and information can be found at the following websites:
If you want to speak with a Behavioral Health Therapist at Ritter Center, visit our webpage here or call our team on: 415-457-8182 x124.