Category Archives: Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

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

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #3: Validate that a Person’s Feelings Matter

It is important to let another person know what they may be feeling is okay and that you believe in them. 

When reaching out to someone, remember to validate their feelings and acknowledge that they are real. Feelings may not always seem rational or easy to explain, but they are always valid. Understand that people can not control their feelings like they may be able to their thoughts or behaviors. If you are able to show someone that you acknowledge their feelings, it will allow them to feel more receptive to help and support. 

How do I show someone that I validate their feelings? 

Let the person know you hear them and are listening. You may do so by mirroring/echoing/paraphrasing rephrasing their sentiments. Repeat their own words back to them regarding how they’re feeling or what they’re going through. 

Other ways to express validation: 

  • “That makes sense.”
  • “That sounds difficult.”
  • “I’m sorry you are struggling right now.”
  • “I believe you.”
  • “I hear you.”
  • “It seems like you’re having a particularly hard moment.”
  • “It makes a lot of sense that you are stressed.”
  • “You have a lot on your plate.”
  • “Sounds like you’re having a really tough time right now.”
  • “I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling right now.”
  • “That must be really difficult to cope with.”

For an example of how to validate a person’s feelings when reaching out, watch this video from Active Minds. 

Resource: 

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #2: Listen Non-Judgmentally

Listening is an important tool to have in our personal toolboxes to prevent suicide, but listening can be hard! It can be nerve racking to have a conversation about suicide and many of us may feel like we don’t know the “right” thing to say. 

#BeThe1To recommends 5 action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal. ASK. KEEP THEM SAFE. BE THERE. HELP THEM CONNECT. FOLLOW UP. 

These are supported by by evidence in the field of suicide prevention. You can read more about each action step here. 

Listening non-judgmentally may not always come naturally to us. In this video, listen to Dylan, a crisis line counselor, talk about how he devleoped better listening skills while talking to hundreds of individuals who were thinking about suicide. As Dylan says “Listening isn’t really easy” but here is how he developed his own listening skill set.  

NAMI Walk 2019

Join the effort to support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and have fun in the process!

On September 21st, community members, volunteers and mental health advocates from around the Bay Area will walk together to support NAMI, their programs, and their mission to provide support, education, and advocacy to the mental health community.

SIGN UP to walk or support a team by making a donation to a team member listed on the ROSTER here.

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #1: It’s Okay To Ask About Suicide

In honor of our theme of interpersonal connectedness (or #ImHereForYou), we are offering tips on how to help someone who might be considering suicide or facing struggles in life. 

Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will increase suicides or suicidal thought. 

Fact: Acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce suicidal ideation. 

Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. In fact, studies suggest the opposite; findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.

Asking a friend the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates to them that you are open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Other questions you can ask include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Avoid promising to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.

It is important to be direct and talk openly about suicide. “Are you thinking about hurting yourself” is not as direct as “Are you thinking about killing yourself”. 

In Honor of Suicide Prevention Month and World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

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

Sep 10, 2019 is World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10 (Today) is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).  The theme this year is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” which emphasizes that we all have a role in preventing suicide.

At 8pm today, you can join others worldwide in lighting a candle near your window at home or on social media with these e-cards (available in various languages). Find out more ways to participate in WSPD at www.iasp.info/wspd2019/

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


Septiembre 10 (hoy) es dia mundial de prevencion del suicidio. El tema este año de #WPSD es trabajando juntos para preventar el suicidio. Que enfatiza que todos tenemos.

A las ocho p.m. (8 p.m.) hoy tu puedes partcipar con otras personas mundial en preder una vela serca de tu ventana en tu hogar o en redes sociales medios de comunicacion social.

Para información sobre el mes de prevencion del suicidio y para recursos de prevencion del suicidio en el condad de San Mateo, visita www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

Si tu o alguien que conoscas estan considerando en suicidio o estan enfrentando crisis de salud mental llama a Starvista Crisis Hotline (650) 579- 0350 o al National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1(800) 273- TALK.

#serelprimeroSMC #Estoyaquiparati


九月十日(今天)是世界防止自殺日。今年的#世界防止自殺日主題「攜手一起預防自殺」強調我們所有人都有責任去預防自殺。

今晚八點,你可以跟世界各地的人一起在家裡燃點一支蠟燭放於窗前,或者利用這些電子賀卡(適用於各種語言)放上社交媒體。亦可於以下網址了解更多參與世界防止自殺日方法 www.iasp.info/wspd2019/

#做那個人 聖馬刁縣 #我會守侯著你

如欲了解聖馬刁縣裡有關防止自殺月和預防自殺的資訊,請瀏覽www.smchealth.org/suicideprevention.

如果你或你認識的人正在考慮自殺,或正在面對精神危急情況,請致電StarVista緊急熱線 650-579-0350 (或全國預防自殺生命線 1-800-273-8255)


Lived Experience Academy Starts October 3

Former LEA graduates and facilitators

Do you or someone you know have an empowering story to share?

The Lived Experience Academy, starting again next month, trains individuals who have experienced mental health and/or substance abuse challenges to share personal stories that make a difference, help reduce stigma, improve the BHRS services and develop leadership skills. 

Individuals in the program learn how to present stories of recovery in a way that inspires others and helps improve the County’s behavioral health services and the lives of San Mateo County clients and family members.

Apply by September 16, 2019. 

For more information or to apply, contact: Lee Harrison at (650) 372-6118, leharrison@smcgov.org or Jairo Wilches at (650) 573-2890,   jwilches@smcgov.org from the BHRS Office of Consumer & Family Affairs.

Download the flier.

Board of Supervisors’ Proclamation of September Suicide Prevention Month

Every year, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors proclaims September as Suicide Prevention Month. This proclamation highlights an issue that all San Mateo County residents are affected by and can play a role in preventing. 

This year’s proclamation will feature speakers from Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) and Lived Experience Academy (LEA). LEA speakers will share their lived experience as suicide survivors.

Please save-the-date for this special event: 

Tuesday, September 17, 9am

400 County Center, Redwood City

To watch live and find other details, see Board of Supervisors Meeting Calendar

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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