Category Archives: Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

Reimagine SamTrans — Please Help Diversify the Feedback!

SamTrans launched Reimagine SamTrans, a transformative study that will examine each route in the SamTrans bus system in light of changing travel patterns. Reimagine SamTrans will consider everything from customer experience, to route design, to how often buses run, to efficient and effective operations and practice. SamTrans needs your feedback on this critical effort!

Take the Reimagine Survey: Whether you ride the bus, drive, walk, bike or other we want to hear from you. Share your vision for a future SamTrans network. Visit https://www.reimaginesamtrans.com/survey to take this fun short survey. Survey closes December 31, 2019.

Share your feedback in-person: SamTrans staff are in the field at bus stops, farmers markets and community meetings. A full list of events is available on the website and if you miss them in-person, you can always leave a comment. To learn more about the project and events go to www.reimaginesamtrans.com.

Social media: SamTrans wants your input to Reimagine SamTrans service. Take the survey, join an event, or submit a comment and make your voice heard! Whether you take the bus, drive, walk, bike or other share your vision for a future SamTrans network. Visit www.reimaginesamtrans.com

Please share with your networks so we may diversify the feedback.

In community,

The Office of Diversity and Equity

Website | Email  

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2019 -11/20

Our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance event will be taking place on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 from 5:00pm-8:00pm. We will begin with a Candlelight Vigil & Procession at Redwood City Courthouse Square at 5:00pm, which will lead to our program following shortly after in the Community Room at Redwood City Public Library from 6:30pm-8:00pm. During the program, we will hear from community speakers, share resources and learn about actions we can all take to stand in solidarity against anti-transgender violence.

In 2019 so far, there are at least 25 transgender and gender nonconforming community members whom we have lost to anti-transgender violence. With this gathering, we aim to provide a space for communal healing, to celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost and to commit to fighting against discrimination and violence that our transgender community faces.

Please see the attached flyer for more information and share widely with your networks.

This event is brought to the community by the LGBTQ Commission , PRIDE InitiativeThe San Mateo County Pride Center, African American Community Initiative, BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity, CORA and the Redwood City Public Library.

San Mateo County Launches 2020-2025 Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and suicide rates have increased in nearly every state (including California) from 1999 to 2016. While San Mateo County’s suicide rate is lower than the national and state average (ranking second to the lowest county rate in California), San Mateo County is committed to continue advancing suicide prevention and saving as many lives possible.


The San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) is a collective of passionate suicide prevention advocates, including behavioral health/social service providers, law enforcement, local crisis hotline (StarVista), transportation agency (Caltrain), suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors. Founded in 2010, the SPC is dedicates to its mission of providing oversight and guidance for suicide prevention efforts in San Mateo County.

From about October 2019 through August 2019, SPC will conduct the 2020-2025 San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning process. San Mateo County’s suicide prevention strategic plan will build off of the 2017-2020 San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Roadmap, California Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan (draft in progress) and National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This strategic plan will also be shaped by public health and health equity frameworks which aim to advance health of people, communities, environments and society. For more details on the strategic planning steps and timeline, please visit smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.


You can Get Involved by taking one or more of the following steps:

  1. Join SMC Suicide Prevention Committee. You can just join our mailing list to stay in the know or attend our monthly meetings which usually are on the 1st Tuesday of the Month 1:30-3pm at the Department of Housing – Jupiter Room, 264 Harbor Blvd, Belmont. To join, please reach out to SPC Co-Chair Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

  2. Share your feedback on the process or strategic plan by reaching out to SPC Co-Chair Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

This program is coordinated by the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) at the San Mateo County Health, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and funded by Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63).

North County Clinic Opens its Doors

Youth in North County can now receive services at the new BHRS Youth Clinic. The clinic is officially open at:

350 90th Street 2nd Flr, Daly City, CA  94015
Ph: (650) 301-8650, Fax: (650) 877-5486. 

10/10/19 is World Mental Health Day!

Join us in taking “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness and help prevent suicide. You can start by knowing the signs, finding the words and reaching out. More information at smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention. #WorldMentalHealthDay #SuicidePrevention #BeTheOneSMC

California Peer-Run Warm Line Now Offers Free Emotional Support and Referrals

The California Peer-Run Warm Line (1-855-845-7415)  is officially open to offer all Californians free non-emergency emotional support and referrals via telephone and instant messaging. This launch coincides with World Mental Health Day (this Thursday, October 10) and its theme of suicide prevention this year.

Initially, the warm line call center will be opened most of the day (Mondays to Fridays: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm; Saturdays: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm and Sundays: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm) and, by the end of the year, the call center will ramp up to open 24/7. This new service is funded by a state budget allocation of $10.8 million over three years and championed by Governor @GavinNewsom, State Senator @ScottWiener2 (D-San Francisco) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair @PhilTingSF (D-San Francisco).

“Too many Californians are struggling with mental health and emotional well-being challenges. Peer-to-peer support is a proven way of helping people stay healthy and get the help they need. The California Peer-Run Warm Line is an important resource for so many people, and I’m thrilled we were able to get it funded,” said Wiener.

More details at: https://a19.asmdc.org/press-releases/20191007-california-launches-first-statewide-mental-health-line

David Lewis Garden Back in Bloom

The garden at the David Lewis Reentry Center is back in full operation after a temporary hiatus. New funding sources and dedicated volunteers made re-opening the garden to the public possible this past spring.

The center has long been a refuge for East Palo Alto community members coming home from prison. The gardening project allows them an opportunity to reconnect with their community and nature.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits are growing in abundance and are available for community members.

Read more about the garden on Wellness Matters.

9/23 & 9/24 – Preventing Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults

In honor of Suicide Prevention month, we are hosting a few events next week focused on preventing isolation and loneliness in older adults. Be a part of the conversation! 

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

New System Expands Services and Access to Care

Since launching the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC ODS) pilot in San Mateo County in February 2017, BHRS data has shown a 140% increase in the number of unique Medi-Cal beneficiaries served  annually by the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) provider network  – from 516 people in 2016 to 1,245 people in 2018.  DMC services billed to the State have also increased 206% since implementation.  This increase is due in part, to the increase in the number of certified DMC  providers, from four in 2016 to twenty-four certified DMC providers currently. 

What is the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System? 

The Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) is a pilot program which expands the services that can be provided to Medi-Cal beneficiaries under the Drug Medi-Cal benefit that were not previously covered.  Important new services include:  residential treatment, recovery support services, case management, and medication assisted treatment services.  When combined with the original DMC services (outpatient services, intensive outpatient, and opioid treatment services), a comprehensive substance use disorder benefit is now available.  Through these services, our aim is to improve access and timeliness to care,  enhance our client’s experience of care, and improve overall client health and wellness.    

Read more on how BHRS will continue serving and expanding treatment options and quality of care through this system, click here.

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #4: Self-Care and Resilience

On our last day of Suicide Prevention Week, we would like to remind us all that, as we take action to support others, it is also vital that we take the time to support and care for ourselves. 

The Importance of Building Resiliency. Practicing self-care is one part of building resilience and does not mean you are being selfish or choosing yourself over your loved one. It means that you are simply being mindful of your own needs, so you are better able to support others. You are better able to take care of the needs of others when you take care of yourself. 

Self-care can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed. By maintaining your physical and mental wellness, you will likely be better equipped to handle the stressors that come along with supporting someone you care about.

Self-Care Strategies to Build Resiliency and Manage Stress. 

When we are most stressed, we have a tendency to ignore taking care of ourselves, so it is important to set time to care for ourselves in big and little ways. 

  • Remain socially connected. When you are supporting someone else, it can be easy to lose sight of your other social connections. Stay in touch with your family and friends who can offer support. Recognize the importance of setting time with positive support networks. 
  • Make time for yourself. When caring for someone who may be suicidal, it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself. However, to be a productive caregiver, it is important to have some “me time.” Healthy activities that makes you feel better is worth a little bit of time out of your day.
  • Know when you need to ask for help. When caring for someone with suicidal thoughts, it is possible to become overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed does not make you a bad caregiver, family member, or friend, it makes you human. There are various resources for caregivers such as NAMI Family Support Groups. These groups offer support for people with loved ones who have experienced mental health conditions or issues. In addition, you can talk to trained counselors who provide free and confidential support by contacting one of the below 24/7 hotlines: 
    • StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 
    • Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

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