The start of spring can bring a renewed sense of purpose, a time to commit or recommit to goals and intentions, a sense of renewal and returning energy,  and a time to set priorities for the coming months.

For those in the non-profit and social services sector, a renewed commitment to practicing self-care should be at the top of our list. Self-care is often stressed as a core competencyor mandate for those in the social services sector, yet many of us struggle to develop and sustain meaningful self-care practices.

Self-care is far from self-indulgence, rather it is the safeguard against burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma. Without self-care practices, we are attempting to carry out our daily task and fulfill our agencies mission without the necessary resources or equipment.

Developing your own self-care plan 

Unsure where to start?  The  University of Buffalo, School of Social Work has developed an online self-care starter kit that is an excellent resource for those who have been working in the social services sector for a few weeks to a few decades.  The kit includes tools to help you assess your coping strategies, identify your stressors, and develop a plan to help you build healthy habits and practices and protect against compassion fatigue.

You can see the full self-care starter kit here.

– and the Crisis Center will be one of the beneficiaries!

Lafayette Juniors will host their 19th Annual Kitchen Tour on Saturday, May 19th, from 10am to 3pm. This year’s Tour benefits our organization as well as four other local non-profits dedicated to helping women, families, and individuals in need. It’s a special chance to see six beautiful Lafayette homes for a great cause, with masterfully designed modern, elegant, and awe-inspiring kitchens.  Tour tickets are $50 ($45 tax deductible). You can purchase tickets online at www.lafayettejuniors.org.

 – and the Crisis Center will be one of the beneficiaries!

Lafayette Juniors will host their 19th Annual Kitchen Tour on Saturday, May 19th, from 10am to 3pm. This year’s Tour benefits our organization as well as four other local non-profits dedicated to helping women, families, and individuals in need. It’s a special chance to see six beautiful Lafayette homes for a great cause, with masterfully designed modern, elegant, and awe-inspiring kitchens.  Tour tickets are $50 ($45 tax deductible). You can purchase tickets online at www.lafayettejuniors.org.

Media Advisory: For Immediate Release

Date: January 8, 2018

Contra Costa Crisis Center welcomes Tom Tamura as new Executive Director

The Contra Costa Crisis Center (Crisis Center) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping people alive and safe, helping them through crises, and connecting them with culturally relevant resources. After a 4-month intensive search, the Crisis Center is pleased to announce the selection of Tom Tamura as its new executive director. Tamura follows the Crisis Center’s previous long-term Executive Director, Rhonda James, who left the organization in July for a new professional challenge as Chief Executive Officer of STAND! For Families Free of Violence. The Crisis Center selected Tamura after an extensive regional search led by a team of current and former Board Members. The Crisis Center’s Interim Director, Mary Vradelis, coordinate the search.

Under Ms. James’ dedicated leadership, the organization built on its strengths, developed new relationships and strengthened existing relationships with partners and supporters.  The Crisis Center anticipates that Tamura will leverage these achievements to help the organization expand its services to even more Contra Costa residents in crisis.

“We are very excited to have Tom taking on the role of the executive director of the Crisis Center,” says Andrew Pojman, the Board President.  “Tom brings to the job an exceptional combination of energy, sensitivity, and proven leadership to the challenges of working with people in crisis. Both the Board and Staff are impressed with his extensive knowledge of Contra Costa County, his 30-years of work within the mental health area, and his strong management skills.  We expect Tom to not only continue the Crisis Center’s excellent programs, but to work with partners and funders to help expand the Crisis Center’s programs to more people in need.”

Tom Tamura joins the Crisis Center after 30-years of work as a therapist and administrator, providing services to the most vulnerable and at risk clients and their families. He is particularly proud of his work with multidisciplinary teams that provided support and safety options for families in their most difficult times, by building strong partnerships with both public and private organizations.  Most recently, Mr. Tamura was the Regional Executive Director of the Seneca Family of Agencies, serving from 2014 to 2017.  This position grew out of his 17 years of experience and growth within the organization.  The Board and Staff are impressed with his extensive knowledge of Contra Costa, his 30-years of work with children, youth, and families in crisis, and his strong management skills.

“As a proud and long-time resident of Contra Costa County, I have been privileged to witness the impact of good people giving back to the community. Together, we are stronger, and it is in this spirit that I begin my work at the Crisis Center.  I am excited to work with the exceptional management team and staff to help the organization meet the challenges of the next decade,” says Tamura.  “The Contra Costa Crisis Center is a ‘best-kept secret.’  I’m looking forward to bringing the work of this essential organization to more people in our community.”

The mission of the Contra Costa Crisis Center is to keep people alive and safe, help them through crises, and connect them with culturally relevant resources in the community. The organization opened in 1963 in order to provide a safety net for depressed and suicidal people beyond usual business hours. In addition to crisis intervention, we provide grief support and our 2-1-1 line which helps people make timely connections to safety-net resources. The Crisis Center prides itself on delivering continuous services to so many each year because of our hybrid model of professional staff and highly trained volunteers working side by side each day. Without this combination, a prompt and responsive 24/7 presence would be nearly impossible to maintain.  Just in the first nine months of 2017, we’ve received 23,738 calls from people seeking basic assistance or shelter. Our crisis lines have received 20,626 crisis intervention calls.   To support the larger safety net provided by a diverse group of nonprofits throughout the county, we recently added two new programs — Share the Spirit and Corporate Caring Volunteer Week.   We are able to provide all these services with the help of a dedicated board, volunteers, staff, partners and donors.  Together we create a safety net for anyone in need, whatever their income, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or citizenship status.

Tom Tamura started his role of Executive Director on January 3rd, 2018.

 

We imagine that many of you, like us, are deeply troubled by the acts of racism, bigotry and violence that have been committed here and abroad. We strongly condemn these beliefs as antithetical to our core values of compassion and hope.

We will continue to support those who are most vulnerable among us, whether it is based on appearance, gender, sexual preference, religious beliefs, or those who have lost hope. We believe that together we can create a brighter future for all.

If you are fearful or know someone who is, and need support, or you have been the victim of threats or harassment, please remember that you are not alone. We encourage you to call Crisis Center’s 24/7 hotline at 800-833-2900 or text “HOPE” to 20121. Our trained counselors are here for you. With help comes hope.

Warmly,

The Leadership Team of Contra Costa Crisis Center

With help comes hope

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2017

The Contra Costa Crisis Center is excited to announce that phase two of our new texting program has launched. Just in time for back-to-school, our nationally certified crisis and suicide prevention support services are now available via text message. Similar to the 211 Text launch last month, the Crisis Center acknowledges that for some, talking to a crisis counselor on the phone may be difficult, intimidating, or not private enough for their current circumstances. Offering text as an option for those who are seeking help ensures that support is always right at their fingertips.

Crisis Text is easy, confidential, and available to anyone in our community who is feeling distressed or in crisis. Crisis counselors are available 24/7 via phone (800-833-2900) and now from 3pm-11pm Monday-Friday via text. To get help, simply text “HOPE” to 20121 and a real, local, and expertly trained counselor will help you through this time of difficulty.

Texting will not sign you up for unsolicited communication. Mobile Carrier Privacy and Terms and Conditions

For Crisis or 211 Text inquiries, contact Lesley Garcia, M.S., Crisis/211 Call Center Manager, at (925) 939-1916 x140 or lesleyg@crisis-center.org

 

Board President, Andrew Pojman, presents Laurie Kozisek with the 2017 Rosemary Caldwell Volunteer of the Year Award

Rosemary Caldwell was the Crisis Center’s crisis line director from 1974 to 1986 and trained and mentored numerous volunteers and staff during her tenure.  This award, established in her memory, is the only award we bestow.

The Crisis Center is excited to announce the 2017 Rosemary Caldwell Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Laurie Kozisek during our annual volunteer appreciation lunch in July.

Laurie has been volunteering weekly with the Crisis Center since 2006.  During her shift Laurie answers crisis and 211 calls- helping community members navigate difficult times, providing hope and support, and connecting them to resources.  Laurie’s service has demonstrated her dedication to the Contra Costa Crisis Center’s mission and core values of compassion, integrity, inclusion, accessibility, and collaboration.  In addition to her work at the Crisis Center she also volunteers for the Red Cross in Alameda County.

To date, Laurie has spent more than 2,000 hours answering the crisis and 211 lines-  providing help and hope to those in need.  Volunteers like Laurie share more than their time, they share their kindness, compassion, and skills to ensure that callers in crisis have a place to turn for help.  Laurie is a role model to all of us here at the Crisis Center, and it is our privilege to acknowledge her work with the Rosemary Caldwell Award.

July 2017
For Immediate Release

The Contra Costa Crisis Center is excited to announce that the first part of our new texting program has launched.  211 Information and Referral services can now be accessed via text message Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm in English and Spanish.  To access help and services, text your zip code to 898-211 (TXT-211) for resources and services in your area.

As the California PUC designated 211 provider, we answer nearly 35,000 calls last year from Contra Costa residents looking for help with food, shelter or homelessness related services, mental health, substance abuse treatment, financial assistance, and many other health and social services.

But for some, talking on the phone may be difficult, intimidating, or may not be private enough for their circumstances. By expanding to include texting services, the Crisis Center is increasing the access and availability of services to those who would prefer to communicate through a non-verbal medium. 211 text offers the same high-quality, responsive, and confidential service provided by expertly trained Call Specialists in a convenient text format.

Unsure where to start or how we can help?  Simply text your zip code to 898-211 and the Call Specialists will guide you through a series of questions to help you find the resource most helpful in that moment.  Texting will not sign you up for unsolicited communication.

 

Mobile Carrier Privacy and Terms & Conditions

For 211 text inquires, contact Lesley Garcia, MS, Crisis/211 Call Center Manager, at (925) 939-1916 x140 or lesleyg@crisis-center.org.

 

’13 Reasons Why’ you should be talking to your teen

On March 31st, Netflix released season 1 of “13 Reasons Why” and has recently announced season 2 is in the works.  The show, based on a book of the same title by Jay Asher, follows a series of teenagers confronted with the fallout of one of their schoolmate’s suicide. The series covers a range of topics including substance use, in-person and cyber bullying, mental health, sexual assault, driving while intoxicated, and ultimately, suicide. Many adults and school administrators may feel overwhelmed or at a loss with how to start a conversation with a young person about the show and its complex content.

Talking about suicide, does not cause suicide.

One of the biggest fears we hear from adults is that talking with youth about suicide and suicide prevention will “give someone the idea” to complete a suicide.  Research has shown time and time again, that talking about suicide does not “introduce” the idea to young people.  In fact, starting a conversation about suicide and other complex social topics raised in ’13 Reasons Why’ can actually bring relief to those who are wrestling with thoughts of suicide and bring the conversation and possible ways to address the underlying issues into the open.

While we believe that talking openly about the complex issue of suicide and suicide prevention, we must caution that the show is not intended for all audiences.  As indicated by its TV-MA rating, the content is intended for mature audiences.  We do encourage parents and caregivers to watch with their teens, and avoid binge watching to allow time for processing the heavy content.  Those who are vulnerable, or may be triggered by the content should practice good self-care and avoid watching altogether.

May is also Mental Health Month– another great reason to start a conversation and break down the stigma and shame that can prevent some individuals from getting help.  To learn more about how to start a conversation with a young person check out the links below.

To learn more about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, click here.