SMC Health is deeply concerned about how the proposed changes to federal immigration rules called “public charge,” will impact public health. The proposed changes significantly expand what public benefits are considered as public charge (e.g., Medi-Cal, CalFresh, public housing or Section 8 vouchers). The County is engaged in advocacy around these issues through the Board of Supervisors.
When residents fear obtaining public benefits to access basic healthcare, food, or housing, people’s health conditions can suffer and actions that prevent the spread of disease (such as getting vaccinated) may not occur.
San Mateo County Health encourages residents to continue accessing the public benefits and services they need and remain available to them. Any rule changes would not go into effect until after public comments are reviewed.
Read more about what the potential changes to public charge could mean for you.
Recently, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) joined a County Behavioral Health Technology Collaborative, a statewide project aimed at utilizing technology- based and online services and supports to engage and increase access for individuals experiencing symptoms of mental illness who may struggle accessing traditional resources.
We are seeking a Technology Suite Advisory Committee (TSAC), composed of mental health providers, mental health clients/consumers, family members and community members to help design and oversee the Technology Suite implementation and evaluation. The purpose of the committee is to have a forum for members to provide recommendations on the features offered through the Technology Suite and input on the implementation. The TSAC will review the Technology Suite activities and make suggestions for improvement. The Office of Diversity and Equity will be overseeing the implementation process.
The informational meeting is to answer any questions, share more about the statewide project and the role of the committee. You can attend the informational meeting to learn more without any commitment to further participation.
Written by Brittany Ganguly, Community Health Planner
Office of Diversity and Equity
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors the Indigenous peoples of America. In this year’s 2nd Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day, held on October 8, community members gathered in East Palo Alto. A collaboration with many community partners including the Native and Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative (NIPI) and Nuestra Casa, the event hosted resource tables, workshops and a community dinner.
There was a strong sense of family this year, as there were many youth who attended. The day was opened with a four directions blessing and continued to four workshops including drumming, nature sounds, and paper bag puppets. The sound based workshops had a special way of re-grounding everyone through mindfulness and release. Following, was a wonderful performance by danzantes, or dancers. To conclude the day, there was a tasty dinner of Pozole and spicy chile. The intimate dinner provided the opportunity to reflect on the day, in which community members and providers had the opportunity to realize the value of different identities coming together to find wellness— for when we connect with ourselves and others, we are more likely to feel fewer symptoms of anxiety and feel more grounded.
Please join us for our Transgender Day of Remembrance Gathering on November 13th, 2018 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at San Mateo Public Library. Our program will begin with a candlelight procession and solidarity chants through downtown San Mateo at 5:00pm. Afterwards, we will return to the library to hear from community speakers (additional youth speakers not included on flyer), share resources and learn about actions we can all take to stand in solidarity against anti-transgender violence. As a few of our nation’s leaders consider redefining the meaning of gender, erasing the experiences of transgender folks, we must unite to raise awareness of anti-transgender violence and the lethal implications of defining gender strictly within a binary. Our collective resistance is one more step towards wellness and healing for us all.
This event is brought to the community by the PRIDE Initiative, the LGBTQ Commission , The San Mateo County Pride Center, and BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity.
Written by Annette Pakhchian, LGBTQ+ Community Outreach
Check out this article recently published in the San Mateo Daily Journal about how our Assisted Outpatient Treatment team has helped create a mental health safety net for those in our community who need it most.
Next Chinese Health Initiative (CHI) meeting is on Friday, November 2nd from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room 201 at 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo.
Starting November, CHI meets the 1st Fridays of the month 1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. in Room 201 at 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. Our December meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 7th, same time and location.
For the most up-to-date information, please contact the CHI Co-Chairs Shiyu Zhang and Winnie Wu at CHI@smcgov.org.
For the third time in San Mateo County, the National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health Recovery and Understanding was recognized on Oct. 2nd 2018 at the Redwood City County Center. San Mateo County BHRS and NAMI co-sponsored the observance of this Day of Prayer by inviting faith and secular leaders as well as consumers to participate in this hour long event. Faith and secular leaders around the country publicly recommit themselves to replace misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth, inclusion and love in order to offer hope and support. The event included members from various faiths, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Catholic, Hindu, the Church of Latter Day Saints., and the Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative. The event also included a testimony from a consumer and a family member. The Spirituality Initiative worked with NAMI in organizing the event which included 20 organizations (community based, faith based, and provider based) tabling the event as well as the speakers. Over 80 people attended this year’s event.
The hour presentation began with Rev. Frazier opening the event with a prayer and Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti Director of Office of Diversity and Equity of BHRS and Helene Zimmerman the Executive Director of NAMI, providing the welcoming addresses, and Issacs Fredericks from BHRS Spirituality Initiative being the MC for the event.
Yesterday the San Mateo County Change Agent Housing Committee and BHRS hosted the 11th annual Housing Heroes awards, honoring exceptional individuals who have gone above and beyond in providing and maintaining housing for those with mental health and/or substance use issues.
San Mateo County Supervisor Carol Groom commended the honorees for their important work, and stressed just how meaningful it is for each of us to have a warm bed to come home to at the end of the day. Clients also spoke about how they’ve benefited from the help of our Housing Heroes.
Securing affordable housing in this county can be challenging these days, and stigma creates an additional barrier for those with mental health or substance use issues. You don’t need to be a property owner or a policy maker to be a part of the solution. We all have the power to help create communities where those with behavioral health issues are welcomed as friends, coworkers and neighbors.
BHRS is very excited to announce the opening of Serenity House. Our first Serenity House clients will begin their stay at the end of October. Read more about Serenity House.