OAKLEY, CA – At today’s meeting of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor, Diane Burgis, the Contra Costa Crisis Center and Safekeepers were given a resolution in recognition of their work to combat suicide in Oakley.
In the spring of 2014, the City of Oakley experienced a significant and unfortunate rise in deaths by suicide. Then – Oakley City Council Member, Diane Burgis, concerned about the rise of suicides in the city, brought together community leaders to help prevent additional deaths.
“I knew there were programs available to help people,” said Burgis. “I reached out to Supervisor Mary Piepho and we convened meetings with representatives from the Sheriff and the city of Oakley and our Police Department, the Antioch and Liberty School Districts, Office of Education, the Contra Costa Behavioral Health Department, the Contra Costa Crisis Center, local clergy, health workers, and others to brainstorm ways of connecting people to resources in the community and reduce suicides. “
The Crisis Center working with You, Me, We Oakley and other partners has continued these outreach and education efforts and has now trained 34 volunteers called Safekeepers who better recognize possible risk factors and signs that someone is in need of intervention, how to promote prevention through outreach and how to heal.
Vanessa Perry, who was appointed to Burgis’ seat on the Oakley City Council when Burgis was elected to the East Bay Regional Parks District Board, continued these efforts and brought the “Out of the Darkness” walk to Oakley to raise awareness about suicide prevention and education.
“The jump in suicides last year was very concerning to me and I knew that there was more we could do to help,” said Burgis. “So many people have stepped forward and committed to do more to educate people at risk. This is a true community effort that is making a difference.”