By Sylvia Tang, Community Health Planner
By Siavash Zohoori, Storytelling Program Specialist
Since February 2017, Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) staff have added gender pronouns to our e-mail signatures and started introducing ourselves in meetings with our gender pronouns.
Why is this important?
It is important for us to share our pronouns because we cannot know someone’s pronoun just by knowing their sex or the way a person looks or sounds. And accurately using a person’s pronoun is a basic way to validate and respect one’s gender identity.
While I am usually addressed by my correct pronouns (She/Her/Hers), I know many transgender and gender non-conforming individuals do not have that same privilege. On a daily basis, many of our clients/consumers, family members and community members feel invalidated and disrespected by individuals and institutions because they were not correctly addressed with their pronoun. This is especially concerning since sexual minorities are more likely to have substance use and mental health issues compared to sexual majority counterparts, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
What can you do?
Whether you are a working professional, student or community member, you can add your pronoun in your e-mail signature or add your pronouns to your name tags (see image). Read more
Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) are socioeconomic factors that affect the health of individuals and communities and drive inequities in health based on where we live, the state of our environment, our income and education level, our socioeconomic status and even our relationships with friends and family.
The importance of addressing SDOH can be seen in this month’s HealthPeople.gov infographic regarding High School graduation rates in terms of race/ ethnicity.
According to the infographic, the lowest percentage of on-time high school graduation rate was seen from those identified as American Indian or Alaska Native non-Hispanic followed by Black non-Hispanic and then Hispanic. The fact there is a 10% jump from the Hispanic race/ethnicity group to the White non-Hispanic group shows inequity is a real and existing issue. Read more
San Mateo County Pride Center will be presenting a special screening of the Filipino documentary, Out Run, on Friday, September 8th at 6:15 pm.
Broadway by the Bay will be presenting NEXT TO NORMAL a contemporary musical addressing several mental health issues such as ethics in modern psychiatry, mental illness, grief and lose, drug abuse, and the power of love and sheds light on a few subject matters still considered taboo in many communities and allows the opportunity to open the conversation about mental illness and its impact on families.
NEXT TO NORMAL is a brave and breathtaking musical that the New York Times calls “… a feel everything musical.” The contemporary musical follows the journey of the Goodman family. While on the surface, suburban parents Dan and Diana, and their children Natalie and Gabi appear a “perfect loving family”, beneath the surface shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family’s world intact.
NEXT TO NORMAL is running August 11 – 27, 2017 at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City. For more information visit BroadwayBytheBay.org or check out the flyer.
#TBT (Throwback Thursday): One of our Mental Health Awareness Month Mini-Grant Awardees, the Northwest Community Service Area (CSA), hosted Lime Green Champion Ribbon Walls at 5 agencies.
The wall demonstration acknowledges the important role support networks play in individual’s mental health wellness and recovery.
Northwest CSA Manager, Tim Holechek shares his experience with the ribbon walls:
In observance of May Mental Health Awareness Month, North County Mental Health Clinic and four partner agencies- Pyramid Alternatives, Daly City Youth Health Center, Pacifica Resource Center, and the Daly City Partnership- hosted Ribbon Walls at their respective sites throughout the month of May. The response was great, with dozens of individuals who use the services of these agencies identifying their “lime green champions” and giving them a grateful shout-out with a lime green ribbon on the wall. Their champions are individuals, organizations, pets, etc. who people, facing the challenges of having a mental health condition, rely on for support and maintenance of their stability and well-being. The Ribbon Wall activity clearly demonstrated the power of people’s support networks, however big or small, in helping folks with mental health conditions maintain hope, feel cared about, and connected with others in their recovery. And as long as there are people in our communities who will extend themselves to support a person with a mental health condition, there is hope that together we can overcome the stigma experienced by those whose lives have been impacted by mental health.
Inspired by our North County community’s work in showcasing our mental health support network? Learn how to create your own Lime Green Champion Ribbon Wall in your lobby, store or other public space at http://www.eachmindmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/5.-Ribbon-Wall-Activity-Instructions.pdf.
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, www.smchealth.org/MHSA
Yolanda 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!
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.