Author Archives: Katy Davis

Lived Experience Academy Panel for MH Awareness Month

By Kim Westrick

On May 24th, 2016, the BHRS Lived Experience Academy (LEA) hosted a speakers’ panel event entitled, “Individuals with Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions Share their Lived Experience and How it Intersects with their Cultural Background” in collaboration with the Belmont Library.

This was the second annual LEA panel event in recognition of May Mental Health Awareness Month. This year we sought to highlight the intersections of behavioral health and cultural identity as two stigmatized categories which impact one another in infinite, complex ways.

After some time to mingle, grab refreshments, visit resource tables, admire the Photo Voice exhibit, and earn raffle tickets, 47 attendees took their seats in anticipation of what resulted in an inspiring program. Four LEA speakers, Candice Hawley, Laura Martinez, Lori Mills, and Allen Haysbert, took to the stage and shared emotional pieces of their lives with an audience of eager and engaged community members, BHRS staff, library frequenters, and Lived Experience Academy members. They addressed issues of cultural identity, racism, behavioral health treatment, cultural humility, recovery, and wellness, among many other topics. Following the panel was a dynamic Question and Answer session, facilitated by moderator, Alan Cochran. The event came to a close with raffle prizes and some heartfelt thanks to the presenters from Katy Davis, training coordinator.

For more information about the Lived Experience Academy, or to request a speaker for your event, please contact Kim Westrick (

WRAP Turns 19 Celebration

Please join Voices of Recovery, Telecare, and BHRS in celebrating WRAP’s 19th Birthday with food, fun, and fellowship!

When: Thursday, March 10, 2016

Where: 264 Harbor Blvd. Bldg. A. Jupiter Room, Belmont

Time: 2pm

Special Guest Speakers (via Video Conference) Include:

2:30pm-3:30pm:  Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD–Founder of WRAP

5:30pm-5:45pm: Matthew Federici–Executive Director of the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery

This event is for anyone in the community who is involved or is interested in San Mateo County’s Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) efforts.

For more information contact:

Jan Allen (650)481-5384, Lee Harrison (650)222-7732, Waynette Brock (650)440-0567

BHRS Training Update

This BHRS training update provides information on upcoming BHRS trainings, updates on the rescheduling of WRAP and ASIST, DSM 5 training follow-up, reminder to pre-register for all BHRS trainings, reminder to complete spirituality survey, and information about outside trainings.


2-23-16: SMMC Grand Rounds–Bridging Spirituality Within Clinical Practice Panel Discussion.  This training is sponsored by the BHRS Spirituality Initiative (12:15pm-1:30pm in Room 100, 225 37th Avenue, San Mateo)

2-25-16: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Training (registration is full)

2-25-16 and 2-26-16: ASAM training (application period has ended)

3-3-16: Native American Mental Health Training (register on LMS or contact  if you do not have an LMS account)

Read more

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP): Impacting Lives

(WRAP facilitators and participants are submitting their stories to the BHRS blog to share how WRAP has impacted their lives. This first submission is by Jeanette Neal who works as a Family Partner for BHRS and is a WRAP facilitator)

“I am a survivor of multiple traumas. I never allowed those unwanted events to be the definition of whom I am or whom I wanted to become. I turned my back on those memories and always moved forward with the feeling that nothing more could ever disrupt my life because I was in control.

One mother’s day, my love, my friend, and my soul mate for life died in our back yard from an ATV accident.  At that point my life changed. The previous layered trauma, topped with the abrupt horrific death of my husband, and being sued by his family, sent me into a lonely and ill state of depression.

I lost my job and my family took over my home, my life, and my financial responsibilities to care for me.  When I began to feel better I struggled with family members to take back my responsibilities and put my home in order according to what I needed. My relationship with my siblings suffered and I had to rediscover who I was alone as me. I didn’t know what I liked, I had forgotten what it felt like to have a meal alone, and behind my smiling face I struggled with the sadness and fear that something could happen again and I had no control over it.

6 years later I was introduced to Mary Ellen Copeland’s “Wellness Recovery Action Plan” WRAP. I latched on to it because I recognized that it could relieve my constant suffering.  WRAP has given me the security to know that I have a safety net, a plan. It’s a plan that I created, a plan that I can modify as I evolve, a plan that my family members know about. WRAP helped me to rediscover what I’m like when I’m well.  WRAP is what I wake up to as I begin my day with a meditation and review my plan for the day. If I begin to identify warning signs, I can respond with my designed plan for that particular trigger. It has been the greatest gift I have ever given to myself.

Although crap can have a way of presenting itself in my life, I can accept it because I have seeds planted to live with Wellness, to embrace Recovery in all its stages, to initiate my Action for continued maintenances, and have security in knowing that I have a Plan. The loveliest sunflowers I have ever experienced have grown out of a pile of fertilizer.”

Jeanette Neal

(For more information on WRAP, check out the Voices of Recovery website at:

Lived Experience Advocacy Academy by Kim Westrick

LEAA Graduates

Back row from left to right: Rodney Roddewig, Aisha Williams, Alan Cochran, Amaal Greenwood-Goodwin; Front row from left to right: Kathy Mackin, Beth Avina, Rocio Cornejo, Eddrena Peters, Michael Lim; Missing: Carlos Rocha (November 17th, 2015)

Ten lived experience advocates graduated from the first annual Lived Experience Advocacy Academy on November 17th, 2015 and will go on to participate on BHRS committees, commissions, and other decision-making bodies.

The Lived Experience Advocacy Academy was designed for individuals living with mental health and/or substance use challenges and/or their family members, who have graduated the Lived Experience Academy (Speaking Academy) and want to get involved in advocacy work. The Advocacy Academy consisted of 6 2-hour sessions on topics of Advocacy skills, goal setting, county government, persuasion, and BHRS commissions. Participants improved their skills in advocating for themselves and their communities and in bringing the voices of those with lived experience to the decision-making table. In an effort to diversify our workforce and provide paid work opportunities to those with lived experience, participants were paid $20/hour for their time.

The Lived Experience Academy and the Lived Experience Advocacy Academy are each held once a year, as part of a 2-tier program for those with lived experience. The next Lived Experience Academy will take place starting February 9th, 2016. We are currently accepting applications until January 18th! Please contact Kim Westrick ( ) for an application or look out for the email blast for more information.

Lived Experience Academy Graduates

On November 17th, members of the Lived Experience Academy graduated after spending six weeks learning the ins and outs of San Mateo County’s BHRS division and building their own confidence with public speaking and advocacy techniques. These graduates will now venture forth and serve on the  various boards and commissions associated with BHRS: Quality Improvement Committee, Suicide Prevention Committee, Mental Health Substance Abuse Recovery Commission, CSA Advisory Boards, Workforce Development and Education Committee, Housing operations Program, etc.
The members of the Lived Experience Academy, in addition to serving on these boards and commissions, will also be giving presentations to provide a needed link to creating a team approach in reaching all those working within BHRS. These presentations will inform the providers, both clinical and administrative, in knowing how important their work is and they see first hand how their duties definitely improve the lives of those who seek help from BHRS.
I have enjoyed working with the SMC Lived Experience Academy. I was given a six-month contract with SMC to assist with their training of the Lived Experience Academy and have enjoyed working along with such wonderful speakers and facilitating at the various venues. I began a speaker’s bureau in 1990 and have helped many speakers to tell their story in over 2600 public presentations to date with the Stamp Out Stigma program.

Carmen Lee

BHRS Training Update

Trainings This Month

There is still room in the DSM 5 Trainings on 12/9 and 12/15 with Stan Taubman, PhD, LCSW.  This training is recommended for any staff who diagnose clients or who need to understand diagnoses in your work.  The trainings are from 9am to 4pm at 699 Serramonte Blvd. in Daly City in the Galleria room.  The training on each date is the same, so you only need to sign up for one date. Registration Details:  If you are a BHRS employee or a contractor with an LMS account, you can sign up on LMS. (If you have questions regarding LMS, contact Kim Westrick at  If you are a contractor without an LMS account, please email Kim Westrick at to register.  Please note: Registration for the 12/9 training will close on 12/8 at 12:00 noon, and registration for the 12/15 training will close on 12/14 at 12 noon (if the trainings have not filled before then).

Reminder to everyone who signed up for the Harm-Reduction Coaching Sessions with Jeannie Little, LCSW—the second session is coming up on 12/16 from 2pm-4pm in Education Classroom 2 in the San Mateo Medical Center.

Trainings in the New Year—Save the Dates!

Friday, January 8, 2016 (9am-4pm) Transgender 102:  Julie Graham, MFT, the Director of Transgender Services in San Francisco, will be providing a training for direct services providers to enhance your clinical competency in working with transgender clients.  This training will build on the Transgender 101 training that was presented last year by OUTlet, and will mostly focus on effective and culturally sensitive clinical interventions with transgender clients including providing therapy, working with co-occurring conditions, and conducting assessments for surgery.  Staff persons who attend this system-wide training will then be eligible to attend a monthly 2-hour seminar with Julie Graham to deepen your clinical skill and engage in case consultation.  A follow-up email and flier will be sent when registration is open.

Thursday and Friday, January 14th and 15th, 2016 (9am-4:30pm) Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST): Toni Demarco, MFT and Mary Taylor Fullerton, MFT will facilitate this in depth 2-day intensive training on suicide prevention. The workshop is for all caregivers (any person in a position of trust). This includes professionals, paraprofessionals and lay people. It is suitable for mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, teachers, counselors, youth workers, police and correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and community volunteers.  Space in this training is limited and interested folks will need to complete an application. A follow-up email with the application will be sent in 2 weeks.

Friday, January 29th (9am-12:30pm) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi): Lisa Talbot, PhD will be presenting this effective intervention to help clients suffering from insomnia.  A follow-up email and flier will be sent when registration is open.

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