Author Archives: Doris Estremera

MHSA 3-Year Prioritization Results

Last week over 150 advocates, providers and clients came together for the final MHSA 3-Year Plan Prioritization Session.  Clients and service providers shared their heart felt stories and public comments in support of 17 priority recommendations, selected through extensive input from over 60 input sessions throughout the County and across sectors and services.

During the meeting, there was an opportunity to propose additional recommendations and all participants voted across these additional recommendations.  The meeting ended with the MHSA Steering Committee voting to prioritize across all recommendations. These priority recommendations help inform any new programs, strategies or expansions in services in the event of increased MHSA revenue.  To view the materials, presentation, prioritization results and a few public comments, please visit the MHSA website,

IMG_7951Yolanda Novelo, Peer Support Worker and Ziomara Ochoa, Clinical Services Manager representing the Coastside Community Service Area

Thank you to all who participated and especially to those who prepared for and shared their stories!


10th Annual Family Awareness Night in East Palo Alto

In celebration of National Mental Health Awareness Night, the East Palo Alto Behavioral Health Advisory Group is hosting their 10th Annual Family Awareness Night, “10 Years of Combatting Trauma!” Healthy Minds, Choices, Families and Community, on May 18 from 5:30pm – 8pm at the East Palo Alto Academy, 1050 Myrtle Street in East Palo Alto.

The Family Awareness Night has become part of a mental health awareness movement in East Palo Alto that has been happening since 2005.

EPA Family Awareness Night



Waverly Place Apartments Development will Break Ground on May 9th!

The long awaited Waverly Place Apartments, funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA),  will break ground on May 9th. The housing development in North Fair Oaks area of Redwood City includes 15 supported housing units for individuals with severe mental illness, please join the Mental Health Association (MHA) and partners in celebrating.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
105 Fifth Avenue, Redwood City


Please plan to carpool or park across the street in the lot at 114 Fifth Avenue or on the street to the East or West. We respectfully request that you do not park in the neighborhood behind the Waverly Place site.

MHA has built and rehabilitated properties to create homes for people with mental illness since 1946. The Mental Health Services Act Housing Program provided funds for permanent supportive housing for individuals with severe mental illness and that meet the MHSA eligibility criteria as homeless or at-risk of being homeless. Supportive housing is community-based housing that is affordable to clients on a permanent basis, provides all the rights and responsibilities of tenancy, and is accompanied by appropriate and voluntary social services.

Pages from waverly-place-proposed-apartments105 Fifth Ave, Redwoo City, CA – Proposed view from Waverly Street West


San Mateo Pride Center Community Forums

Calling all LGBTQ+ Community Members and Allies! Join the new Pride Center staff and partners in making history and have a voice in shaping the first ever LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Mateo County!

Building up to OUR GRAND OPENING JUNE 1ST, the Pride Center is hosting two Community Forums.

Wednesday, April 19th from 6:00pm-8:00pm
Saturday, May 13th 11:00am-12:30pm

San Mateo County Pride Center
1021 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, Ca 94402

Light Refreshments will be served
Language interpretation provided as needed -request services by contacting

View the flyer for more information or contact:
Lisa Putkey, Program Director

13 Reasons Why – Television Series and Suicide Prevention Education

13ReasonsWhyLast Friday (March 31), Netflix released a series based on Jay Asher’s novel Thirteen Reasons Why. The book and series is about 13 reasons why a high school student ultimately made the decision to end her life. While the television series is meant to be a cautionary tale, the Thirteen Reasons Why triggered distressing feelings among viewers.

 As reported on NBC Bay Area News, the San Mateo Foster-City School District sent letters to parents to inform them about the film and provide guidance on how to approach the topic of suicide with their youth. This letter included the JED Foundation and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)’s  talking points for teachers, parents and other gatekeepers to talk to youth about suicide in the context of the film.

 If you or someone you know is considering suicide or any other type of mental health crisis, you can get help at the following crisis hotlines:

1-800-273-TALK (8255) – National Crisis Hotline

650-579-0350 – StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County)

Text “BAY” to 741741

All the above crisis hotlines provide free, confidential and 24/7 support.

More information at


The Office of Diversity and Equity is Hiring – Community Program Specialist I

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is looking to hire a Community Program Specialist I – Extra Help position. If you have a passion for health equity and diversity issues in behavioral health and an interest in the communication, infrastructure and framing of these issues, please see  details on the position and instructions to apply on the ODE website,  The position is an extra help position working twenty-four (24) hours a week.

Medicaid’s Role in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic


By Kristie Lui, intern Office of Diversity & Equity

With the opioid epidemic increasing among Americans, Medicaid plays a vital role in the nation’s effort to combat the epidemic. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2017), over 2 million people have a prescription opioid addiction and over half a million have a heroin addiction as of 2015. Death from drug overdose has also managed to triple from 2002 to 2015. By covering those struggling with opioid addiction as well as enhancing state capacity to provide access to early interventions and treatment, Medicaid proves a significant tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The expansion of Medicaid has provided states with additional resources to cover adults with addictions who were previously excluded from the program. In 2014, Medicaid and Chip covered 30% of people with opioid addiction. Also in Medicaid expansion states, uninsured hospitalizations related to behavioral health dramatically decreased from 20% in 2012 to 5% in 2015.

The Medicaid program covers a wide range of treatment services such as inpatient detoxification, intensive outpatient, case management/ care coordination, and other inpatient services. All state Medicaid programs also cover at least 1 of 3 opioid medications (methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone), and most cover all three. Over half of states have also increased Medicaid enrollees’ access to naloxone, a life-saving prescription drug that reverses the lethal effects of opioid overdose.

Ultimately Medicaid is playing a central role in America’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic through the coverage of a variety of treatment services, medications, and increased naloxone access.

Visit this link to learn more about Medicaid’s role in the Opioid Epidemic:



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