Conference on suicide prevention, mental health

SF State will host the Suicide Prevention Regional Conference on Oct. 18. Organizers hope to engage in a dialogue on issues of mental health and how best to prevent suicide.

Registration is free to students, faculty, staff and mental health professionals from colleges throughout the state. Three keynote speakers will address attendees and a variety of interactive workshops will highlight mental health services available to diverse student populations.

A photo of SF State's Student Services Building

The Student Services Building houses many student wellness resources, including the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, CEASE, the SAFE place, and the Disability Programs and Resource Center.

“Mental health disorders typically emerge during the college years, and stressors and environmental factors can be triggers,” said Yolanda Gamboa, clinical counselor and suicide prevention coordinator. “Symptoms of depression or the diagnosis of a mental illness can be precursors to thoughts of suicide. We want people to know that if they do have these thoughts there’s support available for them.”

Kevin Hines, a suicide survivor and San Francisco native, will deliver the featured keynote speech. Hines has travelled internationally to share his story of survival and raise awareness about issues of mental illness.

Caitlin Ryan, director of SF State’s Family Acceptance Project, will discuss LGBTQ issues and suicide prevention. Wei-Chien Lee, a clinical psychologist and chair of the MultiCultural Concerns Commission of the National Academic Advising Association, will discuss multicultural concerns and mental health.

SF State’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center offers therapy services for students throughout the academic year. Licensed clinical counselors provide free private counseling. Group and couples counseling is also available.

Residential students have access to the “Let’s Talk” program, informal counseling available every weekday in residence halls. Other student services include the CEASE program, which provides free support for drug and alcohol problems, the SAFE place for victims of sexual violence, and the Active Minds student group for mental health and suicide prevention education.

San Francisco’s suicide hotline is open 24-hours at (415) 781-0500, and has a line for Spanish-speakers, (415) 989-5212.

The Suicide Prevention Regional Conference will be held in the Cesar Chavez Student Center Oct. 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about mental health services available to SF State students, visit

-- Gianna Devoto