*Job Announcement* Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity

The County of San Mateo Health System is seeking a Director for the Office of Diversity and Equity. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. Achieving health equity means that everyone in San Mateo County has a fair and just opportunity to experience positive behavioral health outcomes. This requires a concerted effort throughout BHRS, community-based partners and other County departments. ODE’s focus is to help facilitate this effort through the development of a workforce that prioritizes equity, cultural humility and inclusion; empowering individuals with lived experience, families and community members; fostering strategic and meaningful partnerships; and influencing organizational level policies and systems change across the county, region and state.

Learn more about ODE here: www.smchealth.org/ode

View the job announcement and application instructions here: http://jobs.smcgov.org/office-of-diversity-and-equity-director-open-andamp-promotional/job/8435794

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5/11 – 11th Annual East Palo Alto Family Awareness Night

Sponsored by the East Palo Alto Behavioral Health Advisory Group and convened by One East Palo Alto, the 11th Annual East Palo Alto Family Awareness Night will be on Thursday, May 17 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at 1195 Hamilton Court, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

The evening will include a dinner, a discussion on mental health. Community members will have a safe place to engage in and share lived experiences about the different phases of substance use and prevention in order to promote physical, mental, spiritual and cultural wellness.

EPA Family Awareness Night Read more

Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Mental Health Day

mham-199.jpgFor the first time in San Mateo County (SMC) history, Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 10 as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day. San Mateo County has joined the State of California, City and County of San Francisco and City of Austin in proclaiming this significant day. You can download the official proclamation language.

The purpose of AANHPI Mental Health Day is to raise awareness about the challenges and resilience of the AANHPI community, especially around issues of mental health and substance use. AANHPI individuals make up 30.5% of the San Mateo County population. Despite being a large portion of the County, AANHPI communities have the lowest utilization rates of behavioral health services compared to other ethnic groups. These low utilization rates are attributed to various barriers, including cultural stigma, limited behavioral health literacy and lack of multilingual service providers who can speak with clients in their preferred languages. Historically, the SMC AANHPI community has lived in silos with very few events that recognize the collective AANHPI community in San Mateo County. AANHPI Mental Health Day is also meant to break down the silos and build bridges for our AANHPI community to work together towards wellness.

Before officially receiving the proclamation, Nicole Moreland, marriage family therapist trainee, presented an introduction on the behavioral health issues in the AANHPI community. Health Equity Initiative Co-Chairs Sylvia Tang, Stephanie Balon and DannyBoy Naha-Veevalu further introduced the Chinese Health Initiative, Filipino Mental Health Initiative and Pacific Islander Initiative. The presentation concluded with a panel who shared their lived experience facing mental health or substance use issues as members of the AANHPI community. The lived experience speakers were Ning Recio, Ken Jew and Sue Vuna.

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This proclamation was led through a collaboration between Supervisor David Canepa’s Office, the Chinese Health Initiative, the Filipino Mental Health Initiative and the Pacific Islander Initiative. For more information and to get involved, visit smchealth.org/hei.

Last but not least, in honor of AANHPI Mental Health Day, we are hosting an Intergenerational Feast. RSVP by May 16. More information at smchealth.org/event/intergenerational-feast.

Police Victimization: A Link to Suicide

Among many different factors, one’s environment can play a major role in increasing risk for suicide. Almost 57% of suicide risk can be attributed traumatic events occurring in one’s physical and social environments. Stressful life events experienced at the neighborhood and community levels can create feelings of hopelessness, fear, sorrow, and despair. If left untreated, such feelings can translate to suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. One major environmental exposure of concern is police victimization, whose impacts stem beyond its immediate effects on death and physical harm. 

A study published just last year, found a 12-month prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals with lifetime exposure to police victimization. Police victimization was defined as: physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, sexual assault, psychological victimization, and neglect. Racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, males, and low income populations disproportionately experienced and/or witnessed police victimization. Suicide attempts were highest among individuals specifically exposed to assaultive forms of police victimization such as physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, and sexual assault. In brief, it was established that assaultive police victimization is strongly associated with suicide attempts.

Given its serious collateral effects on mental health, there is an urgent need to prevent suicide among marginalized communities heavily exposed to police victimization. Comprehensive, trauma-informed trainings for police officers are one of many upstream approaches to help prevent exposure to police victimization. Trainings should specifically include information on Race-Based Trauma, given that police victimization is most commonly reported by African American and Latino populations. Additionally, people reporting exposure to police victimization should be screened for suicide ideation and/or attempts with tools that specifically assess for physical and sexual violence during police-community encounters. Screenings should then of course be followed by appropriate ongoing treatment and support. Applying both a preventive and treatment lens to this issue is critical, as it will ensure that we are fully supporting the lives, health, and wellbeing of individuals and entire communities impacted by police victimization.

San Mateo County’s Suicide Prevention Committee is currently focusing on two workgroups: QPR training and outreach. To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Committee, and how to become a member of the committee, visit here

Written by Angelica Delgado, Office of Diversity and Equity

 

2018 Tony Hoffman Awards

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The 2018 Tony Hoffman Awards for Mental Health Service were presented on Wednesday, May 2. Presented by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission, these awards recognize individuals, professionals, businesses, or media representatives who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with mental illness and the San Mateo County community.

We are proud to announce two of our very own were awarded for the Service Provider category: Child Psychiatrist Muir Hooper and Mental Health Counselor Claudia Saggese. Loren Shea from NAMI SMC was awarded in the Client/Volunteer category, and the Language Circle of California, Inc. was awarded in the Business category.

Members of the commission presented each recipient with their award. Randy Trujillos, legislative aide for Supervisor Dave Pine, also presented each honoree with a special commendation from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

“We’ll continue to do our best and train new blood to serve the families in need in the community,” said a representative for Language Circle of California, Inc.

Dr. Hooper, one of the only Spanish speaking psychiatrists in the BHRS youth system, took the opportunity to voice the need for more bilingual and bicultural service providers in our system, “Our families ultimately deserve to have, on all levels of our system, people that look like them and can relate to them.”

The honorees also shared what they’ve learned from their work with the behavioral health community.

“I’ve come to find that people with mental illness are some of the most compassionate people and have such a great sense of empathy and unique perspective on the world,” Loren said as she accepted her award. “We all have so much to learn from them.”

Claudia Sagesse accepted her award with kind words that ring true for many BHRS staff.

“It’s always been an honor and a privilege to work for San Mateo County with my coworkers,” she said. “Every day doesn’t feel like I’m coming to work. I’m just coming home – to help people. I do what I love every day.”

Read more about the honorees here.

New Study Reveals Loneliness is an Epidemic

AVG Loneliness Score in America

Possible loneliness scores range from 20 to 80, with the total average national loneliness score in America reaching 44. Source: Cigna

On May 1st, Cigna, a global health service company, revealed results from a national survey examining the impact of loneliness in the United States.

Using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, one of the best known tools for measuring loneliness, the results showed that of the 20,000 adults (ages 18 and older) surveyed across the country:

  • Nearly half (46%) reported sometimes or always feeling alone or left out.
  • Roughly 1 in 4 (27%) also reported rarely or never feeling as though there are people who really understand them.
  • Only around half of Americans(53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
  • Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generationand claims to be in worse health than older generations. This finding has not been found to have a correlation with social media. Adults within this age group who use social media comparing with adults within this age group who do not use social media were found to exhibit the same percentage of loneliness.

According to David Cordani, CEO of Cigna Corp, “There’s a blurred line between mental and physical health. Oftentimes, medical symptoms present themselves and they’re correlated with mental, lifestyle, behavioral issues like loneliness.”

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13 Reasons Why Season 2 Date Announcement Encourages Parents to Start Conversation

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With the start date of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 announced to be on May 18, youth crisis services are distributing resources online in preparation for youth who will be re-watching season 1. They encourage all to remind parents that while the show may be okay for fairly well adjusted teens to watch, the show can be triggering for those who are not or have had trauma or thoughts of suicide.

The 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide encourages parents to watch the show with their teens, and encourage discussion afterwards. The guide also provides specific discussion questions and points that parents may use as conversation starters.

Many have taken issue with the season 1 release of the Netflix original, accusing the show of glorifying and romanticizing teen suicide. In response to this backlash, the show will be making a few adjustments to the second season such as having different cast members appear at the beginning of each episode warning of the content as well as an aftershow for the actors to have discussions and dialogues with mental health professionals and educators about the show.

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