Nine San Mateo County Transit District employees will be at the San Francisco Caltrain station today asking riders to donate spare change to help prevent suicides.
The employees are planning to participate in the “Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk,” an 18-mile trek organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that aims to increase awareness about the issue.
Their fundraising effort in San Francisco today comes on the heels of two incidents this week in which men were struck by trains on the Caltrain tracks.
On Wednesday, a man was killed when he was hit by a train south of the Tamien station in San Jose. Two days earlier, a man was struck by a train near the South San Francisco station but survived.
Suicides have long been a problem on Caltrain right-of-way.
In 2011, 16 people died on Caltrain tracks. Eleven of those deaths were determined to be suicides, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.
This year, six people have died on Caltrain tracks, Dunn said. It is not yet clear how many of those deaths were suicides.
Caltrain is continuing to address the issue with safety awareness programs, crisis hotline signage near tracks throughout the corridor, and participation in fundraisers like the overnight walk, Dunn said.
“Our focus on suicide prevention is something that we’ve done for years,” she said.
Caltrain and SamTrans employees will be at the San Francisco station today between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. So far, the team has raised about $5,000 — more than half of their $9,000 goal for the walk, Dunn said.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Caltrain team can do so online at www.theovernight.org. The site also contains information about the walk and how to participate.
The walk begins the night of June 9 in San Francisco.