Category Archives: Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

*Job Announcement* Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity

The County of San Mateo Health System is seeking a Director for the Office of Diversity and Equity. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. Achieving health equity means that everyone in San Mateo County has a fair and just opportunity to experience positive behavioral health outcomes. This requires a concerted effort throughout BHRS, community-based partners and other County departments. ODE’s focus is to help facilitate this effort through the development of a workforce that prioritizes equity, cultural humility and inclusion; empowering individuals with lived experience, families and community members; fostering strategic and meaningful partnerships; and influencing organizational level policies and systems change across the county, region and state.

Learn more about ODE here: www.smchealth.org/ode

View the job announcement and application instructions here: http://jobs.smcgov.org/office-of-diversity-and-equity-director-open-andamp-promotional/job/8435794

Please share with your networks!

Police Victimization: A Link to Suicide

Among many different factors, one’s environment can play a major role in increasing risk for suicide. Almost 57% of suicide risk can be attributed traumatic events occurring in one’s physical and social environments. Stressful life events experienced at the neighborhood and community levels can create feelings of hopelessness, fear, sorrow, and despair. If left untreated, such feelings can translate to suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. One major environmental exposure of concern is police victimization, whose impacts stem beyond its immediate effects on death and physical harm. 

A study published just last year, found a 12-month prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals with lifetime exposure to police victimization. Police victimization was defined as: physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, sexual assault, psychological victimization, and neglect. Racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, males, and low income populations disproportionately experienced and/or witnessed police victimization. Suicide attempts were highest among individuals specifically exposed to assaultive forms of police victimization such as physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, and sexual assault. In brief, it was established that assaultive police victimization is strongly associated with suicide attempts.

Given its serious collateral effects on mental health, there is an urgent need to prevent suicide among marginalized communities heavily exposed to police victimization. Comprehensive, trauma-informed trainings for police officers are one of many upstream approaches to help prevent exposure to police victimization. Trainings should specifically include information on Race-Based Trauma, given that police victimization is most commonly reported by African American and Latino populations. Additionally, people reporting exposure to police victimization should be screened for suicide ideation and/or attempts with tools that specifically assess for physical and sexual violence during police-community encounters. Screenings should then of course be followed by appropriate ongoing treatment and support. Applying both a preventive and treatment lens to this issue is critical, as it will ensure that we are fully supporting the lives, health, and wellbeing of individuals and entire communities impacted by police victimization.

San Mateo County’s Suicide Prevention Committee is currently focusing on two workgroups: QPR training and outreach. To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Committee, and how to become a member of the committee, visit here

Written by Angelica Delgado, Office of Diversity and Equity

 

May 1: Parent Education Night – Westmoor High School

On Tuesday May 1st, Westmoor High School in Daly City will be hosting a Parent Education night for May Mental Health Awareness Month. This will occur between 6:30-8:30 p.m. Panelists will talk about different concerns that students may face such as student stress, mental health concerns, and suicide. This is a great opportunity for parents to gain additional information and support. A FREE dinner will be served, and there will be Spanish interpretation services available as well. RSVP Links Below!

Please let your community and networks know of this free event!

English RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ezg_0C4ozLFxiAyNRmAquHlUEwt5Sw7ojv6brTmOWJU/viewform?edit_requested=true

Spanish RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KKBNMC07j4VzsGDwzVYtU_hZ6xEn7z-0-W-IGuU6eFI/viewform?edit_requested=true

MHSA Innovation Community Forums | 4/17 – 5/10

MHSA Community Forums from April 17th to May 10th. See flyers for times and locations. 

During the forums, participants will learn about three technology innovations that are intended to:

  • Increase access to mental health care
  • Promote early detection of mental health symptoms
  • Predict the onset of mental illness 

Additionally, stakeholder feedback will be gathered around community needs and considerations to best adapt the technology innovations for San Mateo County.

For more information, please contact Doris Estremera, MHSA Manager at destremera@smcgov.org or (650) 219-3840.

Empowering Youth to be Change Agents

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HAP-Y Cohort

The Health Ambassador Program for Youth (HAP-Y) is an innovative and community-developed program delivered by StarVista. It is designed for youth ages 16 to 24 who are interested in advocating for communities that have been touched by mental health challenges, raising awareness about mental wellness and increasing access to mental health services. The program is funded by innovation funds through the Mental Health Services Act, which are designed to engage individuals, families and communities to be active change agents regarding wellness, particularly behavioral health. The program is managed by BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), whose primary focus is reaching and engaging vulnerable families and communities in San Mateo.  

The participants of the program, most whom have lived experience with mental health challenges, participate in a 14-week training program, creating a personal Wellness Recovery Action, and learning about common mental health challenges and the principles of suicide prevention.

HAP-Y Cohort

After completing the trainings, HAP-Y graduates are encouraged to conduct community presentations to start conversations and increase knowledge about mental health and community supports available. In the first year of HAP-Y, 20 youth successfully completed the program. They have already reached an audience of over 300 through classroom-based presentations. Preliminary evaluations suggest an increase of over 30 percent in knowledge of where to seek supports and services for mental health issues.

HAP-Y has seen success, not only in reaching an audience, but in providing a sense of community for participants. HAP-Y graduates said the group provided a welcoming and loving environment, where they could have real conversations about topics that they are often unable to have with their peers.

As the program enters its second year, there is an additional focus on continuing to engage past participants and building on their skills and passions. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact hapy@star-vista.org.

The next 14-week HAP-Y training will start on May 15th and will be hosted in Half Moon Bay. Please share this information with any youth you think may be interested in participating in this program. 

Co-written by Narges Dillon, Brenda Nunez & Islam Hassanein, StarVista and Nancy Chen, ODE

Immigration’s Threat to Health

The topic of immigration is controversial and complex. However regardless of one’s personal views on the issue, it is undeniable that the uncertainty and lack of information  in our communities is ultimately detrimental to the communities’ health. An article by the Washington Post describes how the stress experienced by the threat of deportation can have devastating effects on health, beyond those immediately affected.

“Over time, such chronic stress, unaddressed, will make them far more vulnerable to heart disease, asthma, diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The University of Michigan conducted a study on the impact of the 2008 federal immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, the largest in U.S. history. The study found an increase of Hispanic babies born with low birth weight, which can cause long term health risks, a 24% increase in comparison to the year before. 

The study also found that the risk for low birth weight was equally high for Latinas with protected legal status, “…in spite of their apparent safety, their bodies were reacting as if they, too, could soon be deported.” This can result in an “epigenetic” effect that modifies the way genes are expressed, allowing for the transmission of “vulnerabilities to stress from one generation to the next.”

While the debate over immigration continues, it is important to take a moment to recognize that what affects one group actually affects us all. We have a responsibility to care for the health of all community members, but equally important, to stay informed and aid those who are vulnerable.

Read more

4/29- Health for All Workshop

Join BHRS and the San Mateo County Legal Aid Society to learn about available health coverage programs for San Mateo County residents and how to become and remain eligible for them. This event is free and open to the public.

When and Where?
Sunday, April 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Municiple Services Building, Betty Weber Room

See the event flier for more information.

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