Author Archives: Behavioral Health and Recovery Services


Doris Estremera of BHRS

Congratulations to Doris Estremera who recently received a commendation for the Women in County Government Award nomination for outstanding commitment and service to the people of San Mateo County. Doris currently works with the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) and provides oversight, planning and reporting of our Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding.

Doris started her work in the county 16 years ago as an outreach worker. In her current role, Doris’ unwavering commitment to equity, community-centered practices, and adaptive leadership style are a few of the many ways she makes us “All Together Better” and advances us towards realizing the County’s Shared Vision 2025, particularly a Healthy Community, a Prosperous Community and Collaborative Community.

She worked diligently to lead an inclusive MHSA Innovations processes that yielded more community ideas on how to improve behavioral health in our county than previously received. She also spearheaded a Coastside Community Needs Assessment that will directly feed into a new community program for an especially vulnerable community in our County. In this work she led an all Latina team, honoring the importance of language and culture in our care. Additionally, she worked tirelessly on updating and expanding the information provided in our BHRS Cultural Competence Plan, while prioritizing collaboration in all that she does.

Lastly, Doris stepped in as Interim Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity, while also continuing to maintain her responsibilities as the MHSA Manager. Doris is a clear example of why it is so important to have women in government and in leadership roles. She continually strives to 1) improve the health of San Mateo County residents, with prevention and treatment services for those with a severe mental illness through MHSA prioritization; and 2) create a more livable county through her involvement with policy and systems change.

She is also a working mom, a fitness instructor, and a serves as role model for a life dedicated to the service of others. 

Caltrain Board to Consider Affordability Requirement for Housing Near Transit

Staff for the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which operates Caltrain, recommended requiring that at least 20% of units in the future residential projects on agency land at any station be affordable.

Affordable housing projects have the potential to add badly needed housing in an area where people are being forced into tent encampments and van living.

Read the article here.

NAMI Part-Time Education Coordinator Job Opportunity

National Alliance on Mental Illness of San Mateo County (NAMI SMC) is seeking an Education Coordinator (part-time, 25 hours/week) to support their signature programs: Family to Family, Peer to Peer, Connection, Basics, Provider Education, Ending the Silence and Family Support Groups.

Job duties include, but are not limited to: organizing training classes for teachers, enrollees and/or facilitators, preparing materials for each class, promotion/marketing of classes and tracking of all programs completed.

The anticipated start date is mid-February, 2020. For a complete job description and to apply, please click here.

Simplifying the Representative Payee Process

As of July 1, 2019, San Mateo County Health transitioned their Representative Payee services to Life Inc.  Rep Payee services are provided to clients of BHRS and Aging & Adults Services who need assistance managing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This service helps ensure clients pay their bills on time and can take care of their essential living needs.

Before the transition, Aging & Adult Services staff processed and distributed the payments to clients. The change to Life Inc. removes the need to have service providers and other vendors involved in the payment process. The transition is expected to be complete by October.

You can read more about what other benefits clients will receive from Life Inc. in the BHRS Newsletter “Wellness Matters” here.

San Mateo County Anonymous Gun Buyback

San Mateo County’s Anonymous Gun Buyback program is taking place on December 14, 2019 from 9:30am–2:30pm at 1000 Skyway Road, San Carlos. Get cash for your unused or unwanted guns. No questions asked, ballistics will not be run, and you can remain completely anonymous. Receive up to $100 cash for a hand gun, shotgun, or rifle, and up to $200 cash for an assault rifle. Funds are limited and subject to availability.

Click on this flyer for more information.

Youth Center Receives New Certification

After a three-year process, Canyon Oaks Youth Center (COYC) Residential Treatment Facility completed the conversion from a Level 14 Youth Group Home to a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) and the program received their permanent STRTP License on June 1st.

The committed and experienced team of leaders and staff of COYC have pioneered therapeutic approaches to address the needs of youth who have experienced significant trauma to support their health and recovery and continue to do so. In addition, COYC has been accredited for a period of 3 years by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, International (CARF).  

Youth drawing with chalk on wall

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, COYC has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. 

To  receive a three-Year Accreditation of this caliber, an organization has to put itself through a rigorous peer review process and demonstrate to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. 

Read the full article in the latest edition of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters“, here.

Need Support During the Holidays? Call/IM the Peer Run Warm Line

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is a non-emergency resource for anyone in the Bay Area seeking emotional support, providing assistance via phone and web chat on a nondiscriminatory basis to anyone in need.

Some concerns callers share are challenges with interpersonal relationships, anxiety, panic, depression, finance, and alcohol and drug use.

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is open for service this Thanksgiving weekend and throughout December, including Holidays!

Current hours: 7am-11pm, 7 Days a Week.
Call 1-855-845-7415.
For more info and to access online chat: California Peer-Run Warm Line

Watch for announcements as hours will be expanding to 24/7 sometime soon in 2020!

Open to the Public: Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission Meetings

San Mateo County has an active Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC). The commission reviews and evaluates the County’s mental health needs, services, facilities and special programs, agreements dealing with mental health; advises the Board of Supervisors and the Mental Health Director of any aspect of the local mental health program; reviews and approves procedures used to ensure citizen and professional involvement at all stages of the planning process; submits an annual report to the Board of Supervisors on the needs and performance of the County’s mental health system.

The monthly commission meeting is open to the public and community members interested in getting involved or providing input on mental health and/or substance use services are invited to attend.

When: First Wednesday of each month (no meeting in January & August 2020)
Time: 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Location: Health Services Building, 225 37th Ave, Room 100, San Mateo, CA

The next meeting will take place on December 4. Click to view the agenda.

Please call (650) 573-2544 to confirm time and locations as they may change or check the BHRS calendar.

Learn more about about the Commission

San Mateo County Court Gets Grant for DUI Program

San Mateo County Superior Court received a $300,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for the third year in a row. This grant supports the Multiple Driving Under the Influence Court, which aims to help second and third time DUI offenders, and connects them to resources needed to address their substance abuse, while simultaneously connecting them with the recovery resources they need to address their substance abuse and achieve stability. 

Read the article here:

New Community Collaborative to Address Shortage of Youth Mental Health Services in Palo Alto

A community collaborative of local nonprofits, healthcare providers (including Behavioral Health and Recovery Services), and schools are coming together to address a lack of mental health services for children and teens with mild to moderate mental health needs such as depression, anxiety, and environmental stressors such as homelessness and poverty.

Read the full article at:

« Older Entries Recent Entries »