Recently, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) joined a County Behavioral Health Technology Collaborative, a statewide project aimed at utilizing technology- based and online services and supports to engage and increase access for individuals experiencing symptoms of mental illness who may struggle accessing traditional resources.
We are seeking a Technology Suite Advisory Committee (TSAC), composed of mental health providers, mental health clients/consumers, family members and community members to help design and oversee the Technology Suite implementation and evaluation. The purpose of the committee is to have a forum for members to provide recommendations on the features offered through the Technology Suite and input on the implementation. The TSAC will review the Technology Suite activities and make suggestions for improvement. The Office of Diversity and Equity will be overseeing the implementation process.
The informational meeting is to answer any questions, share more about the statewide project and the role of the committee. You can attend the informational meeting to learn more without any commitment to further participation.
Written by Brittany Ganguly, Community Health Planner
Please join us for our Transgender Day of Remembrance Gathering on November 13th, 2018 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at San Mateo Public Library. Our program will begin with a candlelight procession and solidarity chants through downtown San Mateo at 5:00pm. Afterwards, we will return to the library to hear from community speakers (additional youth speakers not included on flyer), share resources and learn about actions we can all take to stand in solidarity against anti-transgender violence. As a few of our nation’s leaders consider redefining the meaning of gender, erasing the experiences of transgender folks, we must unite to raise awareness of anti-transgender violence and the lethal implications of defining gender strictly within a binary. Our collective resistance is one more step towards wellness and healing for us all.
Written by Annette Pakhchian, LGBTQ+ Community Outreach
Next Chinese Health Initiative (CHI) meeting is on Friday, November 2nd from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room 201 at 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo.
Starting November, CHI meets the 1st Fridays of the month 1:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. in Room 201 at 2000 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. Our December meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 7th, same time and location.
For the most up-to-date information, please contact the CHI Co-Chairs Shiyu Zhang and Winnie Wu at CHI@smcgov.org.
For the third time in San Mateo County, the National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health Recovery and Understanding was recognized on Oct. 2nd 2018 at the Redwood City County Center. San Mateo County BHRS and NAMI co-sponsored the observance of this Day of Prayer by inviting faith and secular leaders as well as consumers to participate in this hour long event. Faith and secular leaders around the country publicly recommit themselves to replace misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth, inclusion and love in order to offer hope and support. The event included members from various faiths, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Catholic, Hindu, the Church of Latter Day Saints., and the Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative. The event also included a testimony from a consumer and a family member. The Spirituality Initiative worked with NAMI in organizing the event which included 20 organizations (community based, faith based, and provider based) tabling the event as well as the speakers. Over 80 people attended this year’s event.
The hour presentation began with Rev. Frazier opening the event with a prayer and Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti Director of Office of Diversity and Equity of BHRS and Helene Zimmerman the Executive Director of NAMI, providing the welcoming addresses, and Issacs Fredericks from BHRS Spirituality Initiative being the MC for the event.
Today is International Pronouns Day! Sharing your pronouns and asking others for theirs can help everyone feel comfortable and acknowledged. SMC Health recommends sharing your pronouns in your email signature! See the example below to see how you can share yours, and check out our blog post, “Sharing Our Gender Pronouns” for more discussion on why pronouns are an essential part of respectful communication.
Written by Annette Pakhchian, LGBTQ+ Community Outreach
The San Mateo County Latino Collaborative presents the sixth annual Sana, Sana, Colita de Rana, an event where community members can learn about healthy habits, healthy communities, nutrition and access to mental health services. This year’s theme is “Tradiciones que Sanan el Alma” which means, “Celebrating the Culture of Healing the Soul!”
For more information email the Latino Collaborative at email@example.com and visit their website at smchealth.org/sanasana.
A special thank you to Burlingame High School [BHS] for inviting us to their on-campus resource fair for Suicide Prevention and Awareness week. In recognition of September as the National Suicide Prevention month, the counseling team at Burlingame High School organized a tabling event which included community agencies such as StarVista, Health Right 360, The Crisis Text Line, and The San Mateo County Pride Center. The resource fair was held during lunchtime, allowing students to ask questions, learn about different services and resources offered, and gain awareness regarding suicide prevention. We were able to bring awareness to students about knowing the signs of suicide, finding the words to say to a friend or loved one, and how to reach out for help.
Alongside the tabling participation, BHS incorporated games and activities to promote their messaging campaign, “You Matter,” where students wrote positive messages of encouragement to express a shared sentiment of community support amongst peers. The poser is to be displayed on campus.
If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the StarVista Crisis Hotline 650-579-0350 (1-800-273-8255).
For more information on how to help a loved one who may be at risk of suicide, visit www.suicideispreventable.org.
For information on San Mateo County suicide prevention resources, visit www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.
Written by Alicia Vasquez and Priscilla Bustos, Office of Diversity and Equity interns
Last Wednesday, on September 19th, over 100 people attended San Mateo County’s first ever S- Word Film Screening and Panel hosted at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center in collaboration with San Mateo Union High School District, Star-Vista and the Office of Diversity and Equity.
The S- Word is a documentary following a survivor of a suicide attempt as she embarks on a mission to document the stories of fellow survivors and document their stories of insight, humor, and courage. She discovers a national community rising to transform personal struggles into action.
During the panel discussion, audience members were able to ask questions about suicide anonymously that were displayed on the projector for the panelists to answer. Questions included “how do I connect with others that are considering suicide” and “what’s the best time or age to talk about this topic?”
Sylvia Tang, Office of Diversity and Equity, Co- Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee, and Co- Coordinator of this event states,
“I am so thankful that we had an engaged audience who asked thoughtful questions and wanted more community screenings of the S-Word. This film helped start a dialogue about suicide; this is such an important first step in suicide prevention because it raises awareness and reduces stigma around suicide. We hope more community members and agencies join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee because we need everyone to help prevent suicide in our schools and greater community.”
Special thanks to all the panelists:
- Ali Pond – Health Ambassador Program – Youth
- April Torres – San Mateo Union High School District
- Islam Hassanein – StarVista Crisis Center
- John Butler – Lived Experience Academy
- Karina Chapa – StarVista Crisis Center
- Yolanda Ramirez – San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
And all who tabled including:
- Adolescent Counseling Services
- Advancing Client and Community Empowerment through Sustainable Solutions (ACCESS)
- Peninsula Family Services
- National Alliance for Mental Illness of San Mateo County (NAMI SMC)
- San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity
- San Mateo County Pride Center
- San Mateo Police Activities League – Stride for Awareness
- Veteran Suicide Prevention
- Bring Change 2 Mind
- San Mateo Union High School District Wellness Program
Tuesday, October 2nd will be the 3rd Annual National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health and Understanding. Faith and Secular leaders will join hundreds around the country in an effort to replace the blame, fear and prejudice surrounding behavioral health issues with truth, inclusion and love. Community members, consumers, family members, behavioral health providers and the faith community are all welcome. The event will be held at the courtyard of 400 County Center, Redwood City.