Nominations for the Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Service Award Due April 12

The San Mateo County Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission is seeking nominees for its annual Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Service Awards. This honor is made to individuals, professionals, businesses, and the media who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with mental illness and the San Mateo County community. Recognition is given for public education or advocacy to promote mental health awareness and needs or to address stigma; services to persons with mental illness; creation of new and innovative programs or community support activities; recognition of fundraising for mental health activities or long-term financial support to mental health programs; working for new mental health legislation; compassionate treatment of persons with mental illness.

Awards will be presented to honorees at the San Mateo County Mental Health & Substance Abuse Commission meeting on May 3, 2017. Deadline for award nominations is April 12, 2017.  Download the Tony Hoffman nomination form.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission: Program Focus

For the remainder of 2017, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) will focus on services for Youth Behavioral Issues for three or four meetings and then Adult Behavioral Issues for three or four meetings.

The first series of meetings for youth will be divided into:

1. Prevention/early intervention/ACCESS
2. Crisis Services
3. Aftercare/follow-up for relapse prevention
4. Consumer youth/Family of youth panel responding to #1-3

The Adult meetings will have a similar format with:

1. Prevention/ACCESS
2. Crisis Services
3. Follow-up for relapse prevention
4. Consumer/Family panel responding to #1-3

Please join the Commission for these interesting and educational programs held during the regularly scheduled Commission meetings on the 1st Wednesday of the month. Pass this information on to others interested in these important topics!  Visit the MHSARC webpage for more information.

Recognizing Success: CalMHSA PEI Report

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, CalMHSA’s Each Mind Matters movement and 42 counties worked together to collectively pool a percentage of Mental Health Service Act (Prop 63) Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) funding execute the first year of the Statewide PEI Project. San Mateo County contributed $90,508 in PEI funding to the Statewide PEI Project.  Leveraging these funds enabled the following six local agencies to receive support: San Mateo County BHRS, San Mateo Office of Education, San Mateo County Youth Commission, Summit Public Schools, Skyline College, and the College of San Mateo.

This Statewide PEI Project supported programs such as maintaining and expanding social marketing campaigns, creating new outreach materials for diverse communities, expanding the capacities of higher education schools to address stigma reduction and suicide prevention, and providing technical assistance and outreach resources to counties, schools, and community based organizations.

Technical assistance was a critical part of the Statewide PEI Project efforts to increase resources within each county through an assigned Resource Navigator.  First, San Mateo County’s Resource Navigator helped BHRS staff to discuss student mental health by connecting them to Dr. Patrick Arbor to explore suicide prevention for older adults and increased the outreach capacity for the county’s portion of the Know the Signs website ( It was with the help of the Resource Navigator that the Office of Diversity and Equity increased their efforts to disseminate information and promotional materials regarding Each Mind Matters, Know the Signs, and the Directing Change Program Film Contest, resulted in over 3,800 outreach materials and programs being shared throughout the county.

Specifically looking at Directing Change Program and Film Contest, there were a total of two films entered during the 2016 season: one from the San Mateo County Youth Commission, and the other from  Summit Public Schools (view one of last year’s submissions: Comparatively, the 2017 submissions for the film season increased to seven! While this is significant progress, ODE’s focus is shifting to creating an atmosphere that keeps Directing Change Program and Film Contest on the minds of schools and programs all year long, and our first step is to begin a tradition of hosting a celebratory regional film screening in May!

Visit the following links to learn more about the five other agencies supported by the Statewide PEI Project:

San Mateo Office of Education, San Mateo County Youth Commission, Summit Public Schools, Skyline College, and the College of San Mateo

Written by: Chenece Blackshear

Conclusion of LEA

ODE (the Office of Diversity and Equity) has just wrapped up a five-part class called the Lived Experience Academy. The Academy is a course for people to learn how to tell their stories of lived experience for personal empowerment, community building, and local advocacy. For those unfamiliar with the term, “lived experience” refers to having first-hand experience with mental health challenges. We use the word “lived” to differentiate from mental health professionals or others who may have extensive experience of working with mental health conditions or systems of care, but have not lived through those challenges personally. This distinction is important because for most of history, and still today, people with lived experience have been stigmatized, disempowered, and told that others know what is best for them. Even after maintaining wellness and being in recovery, people with lived experience are often excluded from the workforce and discriminated against in other ways. One reason for this is because the narratives perpetuated about mental illness are often scary, violent, and overwhelmingly negative.

The Lived Experience Academy turns all of those negative concepts on their head. Here are our core values:

  • Lived experience is expertise.
  • Integrating people with lived experience into the workforce is a type of workforce diversity, and increasing all forms of workforce diversity is important.
  • Storytelling can be empowering, healing, educational, and destigmatizing.

The Lived Experience Academy gives people space to explore their past, present, and future, and craft a story that genuinely reflects their lived experience. Many of these stories do have sad, frightening, and ugly components to them. But when we dig deeper and open our lens wider, we find there is much more. There is hope. There is strength. There is resilience. By bringing those parts to light, we can bring mental health challenges out of the shadows. Our hope at the County is that by training people to share their stories of mental health recovery, we can reduce stigma, and give people with lived experience more opportunities to use their expertise to help others.

I want to offer heartfelt congratulations to our Lived Experience Academy graduates this year. Being part of this 10-hour class requires not just physical work to show up, but emotional work to be present. Thank you for showing courage, dedication, and determination throughout. Hope begets hope, and you have set that process in motion by sharing your truth.

Author: Mai Le

LEA 2017 Group Photo.JPG


March 23: Immigration Information Session

Attend this free information session to learn more about:

  • How to protect and prepare yourself in case of an immigration raid
  • Recent developments in immigration and executive orders
  • Requirements, benefits and process for applying for citizenship
  • How to prevent being victims of immigration fraud
  • Where to get the best legal help in your community
  • Upcoming free legal workshop dates and locations

March 23, 5PM at the Delaware Pacific Apartments, 1990 South Delaware Street, San Mateo, CA 94403.

Hosted by Services Immigrant Rights & Education Network, San Mateo County Latino Collaborative and MidPen Housing. For more information please contact Sandra Cruz al 408-453-3003 x 102,

View flyer – English, Spanish

March 20: Middle School Parent Resource Night

Learn about Cyber Bullying and how to help prevent it, recognizing signs of Drug & Alcohol use, and how to talk to your kids aboutSelf-Harm and Suicide.    Monday, March 20th, 6-8pm, Borel Middle School Library, 425 Barneson Ave., San Mateo.  (Open to Burlingame, San Mateo, HIllsborough , Foster City and Belmont communities.)

013017_middle school resource night

Print flyer:  English, Spanish

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