Empowering Parents and Engaging Educators

Included among our BHRS values are promoting culturally responsive and family centered recovery, and the importance of mutual and respectful partnerships that enhance our capabilities and build our capacity. The implementation of the Parent Project and Youth Mental Health First Aid by the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) personifies these values.

The Parent Project engages parents with a child or adolescent displaying challenging behaviors. Parents receive information on appropriate ways to discipline, preventing or stopping substance use, improving communication skills and improving grades and school attendance. ODE has worked in strong collaboration with the County Office of Education and school districts to make the Parent Project available to parents who are primary Spanish speakers, to Pacific-Islander and African-American communities. The results from the participants as well as their personal testimonies have been, to say the least most impressive.

Since 2013, 439 parents have attended at least one class and 339 or 77% have graduated. 1000 children live in the households of the participants. On all of the measures, including such things as satisfaction with parent/child relationship, spending time with their child, school attendance and behavioral problems, there were very significant improvements. One of the benefits that does not show up in the data is the bonds between the participants that takes hold over the 12 weeks of the class. Many of the participants have taken the initiative to maintain the camaraderie beyond the class.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an 8 hour education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning sign of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing mental health challenges

Since 2013 YMHFA has certified 917 individuals from 94 schools and 20 school districts! On the post-test and 6 month follow up, participants felt significantly more confident in recognizing signs, reaching out, assisting and connecting with a young person. Perhaps even more significant is that at a 6 month follow- up 77% of respondents reported having been in a situation at least once in which they applied what was learned through the YMHFA and 91% believed they were effective in addressing the situation.

The goal for YMHFA is to have a team of staff from every middle and high school campus (public and private) trained.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and County Manager, through Measure A funding has made all of this possible for which we are most grateful

I want to thank Jei Africa for his leadership and Maggie Furrey-Parent Project and Kathy Reyes (YMHFA) and their team for the tremendous work in making all of this possible.