Mountain View, CA – December 21, 2020 – Charlotte Ross, a pioneer of the suicide prevention movement, long admired and respected El Camino Health’s mental health and addiction services. Her family has named the staff lounge in the Taube Pavilion to honor her memory.
Charlotte was active in developing best practices and procedures for crisis centers. She founded the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention & Crisis Center in 1966 and served as its executive director for 22 years. She particularly focused on youth suicide and developed innovative prevention programs for public schools, group counseling for high-risk adolescents, and community-based programs for depressed and suicidal young people. As chairperson of the California Senate Select Committee on Children and Youth’s Task Force on Youth Suicide Prevention she was instrumental in passing the first suicide prevention legislation in the United States. Charlotte worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a series of national initiatives for addressing youth suicide and during her tenure as executive director of the Youth Suicide National Center in Washington D.C. developed model local and state legislation. Late in her career she became an advocate for the rights of the terminally ill to be allowed to die with dignity.
Charlotte consulted on and generously contributed her expertise to the design of El Camino Health’s pioneering After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education® (ASPIRE) program for youth and young adults and the MOMS program for women experiencing perinatal mood conditions. “I heard from my mother often about the mental health and addiction programs at El Camino Health. The ASPIRE and MOMS programs were particularly dear to her heart and part of her legacy is in her involvement in many conversations that went into planning those programs,” recalls her daughter Beverly Jamison.
Charlotte believed passionately in meeting the needs of each individual and that every contact with every staff member is critical to patient care. She also understood the importance of providing the support that the staff needs in order to do this difficult work. By recognizing Charlotte in the Taube Pavilion staff lounge, her daughters Beverly and Sandra, her family, friends, and admirers seek to honor her life and accomplishments in a way that supports the doctors, nurses, and therapists who provide frontline care, and in a building that honors her values and ideas.
“Taube Pavilion is such a fitting place for a tribute to her life’s work. As I attended the groundbreaking in her place, and as I worked on the tribute gift, I had an opportunity to learn more directly about the programs offered there,” says Beverly. “I, too, admire the thoughtful, innovative, and compassionate approach that guides everything from the architecture of the facility to the staff operations and content of the programs. Amid the unprecedented healthcare challenges of 2020, the need for mental health services is less visible but quite pressing. I would commend El Camino Health’s mental health and addiction services to anyone interested in the well-being of this community, and the greater good that is done as other regions adopt these programs.”