Category Archives: Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

Free Entry to San Mateo County Parks Through the Mariposa Program

We are sharing some exciting news about a collaboration between San Mateo County Parks and the Human Services Agency! The Mariposa Program has been established to provide a free park pass to eligible households. The pass waives entrance fees to participating parks listed in the above flyers. Who is eligible?San Mateo households that are current recipients in the following programs are eligible for the free park pass:

  • CalWORKs
  • CalFresh
  • Medi-Cal
  • ACE

Pass is valid for how long?
The free park pass is valid for 12 months. 

How does a household request one?
Eligible households can call 650-508-3200 to request their free pass.  

Please share the above information with San Mateo households that you believe can benefit from the program. If you need more information about the program, please visit  Vehicle Entry Fee Waivers | County of San Mateo, CA (

Your Input is Needed to Help the County Best Use Local Measure K Tax Dollars

The County of San Mateo today announced a series of listening sessions and survey to hear directly from residents about their needs in four key areas.Residents are invited to share their experiences and needs on issues of housing and homelessnesschildren and families, emergency preparedness and mental health.Residents are invited to attend a listening session and take an online survey, which is available in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Simplified Chinese.The information gathered will help inform the Board of Supervisors as it allocates funding from the local Measure K sales tax in ways that address the needs shared by residents and advance equity. A summary report from the listening sessions and surveys will also be shared with the public and presented to the Board of Supervisors in October.

Listening sessions are as follows:

“We believe that the residents of San Mateo County are in the best position to tell us what gaps they see in services in their community,” said Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors. “These sessions represent a unique opportunity to hear from individuals to inform how we focus resources to truly make a difference.”

These listening sessions are designed to create a welcoming environment for everyone to share their unique perspective, including removing language barriers.

Live interpretation and small group discussions will occur in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin at each session and additionally in Tagalog in Daly City and San Mateo.Sessions will be facilitated by InterEthnica, a team with expertise in engaging with diverse communities.

About Measure K:
More than two-thirds (70.4 percent) of San Mateo County voters approved the Measure K half-cent sales tax extension in 2016. The measure provides local funds for local needs.Learn more about Measure K.

8/10 – Latino/a/x Community Assessment Report in Half Moon Bay

Please join Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) and partner agencies as they present the findings of the Latino/a/x community assessment! Attached are the flyers for the August 10th presentation. There will be refreshments before the presentation, which will include community entertainment. Please note that the event will be to give back to the community with the data the community provided for the assessment. The data presentation will be conducted in Spanish. There will be interpreter devices available for those who need it, a great opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like for communications to happen through devices! 

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Rae Abileah at and let her know if you need an interpreter device.

If you have any questions, please email Edith Cabuslay at

Why say “BIPOC” Instead of “Minority?

Happy BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color ) Mental Health Awareness Month! The way we talk about things can often influence the way we think about them. In the field of mental health, we often talk about using  “person first” language. This is language that prioritizes the identity of individuals as human beings first over their mental health status (e.g. saying “person with schizophrenia” instead of “schizophrenic”). This concept should be used as well in the way we refer to communities. The use of “minority” labels BIPOC communities in terms of their quantity instead of their quality. The term “minority” also emphasizes the power differential between “majority” and “minority” groups and can imply “minority” is synonymous with inferiority.

Though “minority” may continue to be used in academic spaces, the words the mental health community uses should be mindful of how these terms create and perpetuate negative images and stereotypes of those that identify as BIPOC. By including “BI” Black and Indigenous in addition to “POC” people of color, we are also honoring the intersectional experiences of Black and Indigenous individuals and their communities, as well as the spectrum of existence and experience by POC.  

Learn more about  BIPOC Mental Health and San Mateo County BHRS’ Health Equity Initiatives.

Learn more about BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity here.    

Nominate a Recovery Champion for the 2023 Steve Kaplan Award!

It’s that time again!  Calling for nominees for the 2023 Steve Kaplan Award!  Submit your nomination using the form at the following link: Deadline for submitting a nomination is Friday, August 18, 2023

The Board of Directors of Voices of Recovery San Mateo County (VORSMC) is requesting nominations for the 6th Annual Steve Kaplan Award to be presented during Recovery Month 2023 in September. The award will be presented at an event during Recovery Month, to be announced at a later date.

You can nominate multiple people or organizations by submitting a separate form for each individual or group. This award is a tribute to the person or organization that exemplifies these principles:

  • Represents the diverse San Mateo County recovery community; people in long-term recovery, their families, friends, and allies, and supports all pathways to recovery
  • Educates the public, advocates for improved policies, and serves to advance opportunities for long-term recovery from substance use disorder and/or co-occurring substance use and mental health challenges
  • Mobilizes resources to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery services and supports
  • Works to make peer-based and other recovery support services available and accessible to build leadership and support long-term recovery

The Steve Kaplan Award was established in 2018 in honor of former San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Director Steve Kaplan, whose contributions helped to create VORSMC. VORSMC opened its doors in 2009 with a mission to honor and embrace the unique strengths and challenges people encounter along the journey of recovery, and to create peer-led opportunities for education, wellness, advocacy, and support for individuals in or in need of long-term recovery from substance use and co-occurring substance use and mental health challenges, equally sharing these opportunities and support services with impacted families.    

For any questions, contact Veronica Antonelli at or by phone at (650) 643-6955

Thanks for participating!

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adds Spanish Text and Chat Service Ahead of One-Year Anniversary

One year after the rollout of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its 988 Lifeline partners announced the addition of Spanish text and chat services. Specialized services for LGBTQI+ youth and young adults were also added earlier this month, following a successful pilot test. The 988 Lifeline is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis, and to date, the Administration has invested nearly $1 billion into this life-saving initiative. This investment is driving an increase in calls, texts and chats, with nearly 5 million contacts answered in the past year — and helped millions of people in crisis.

More information on the new services here.

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Summer ☀️

The summer months are full of opportunities for kids to get outside, spend time with friends and family, and recharge for another busy school year. To help finish your summer strong, the Public Health Communications Collaborative has created a new resource with tips on having a happy and healthy summer. Don’t forget to check out the bingo activity to get your kids in on the fun!

Learn more about having a happy & healthy summer here or see the attached pdfs below.

7/15- Heart & Soul Presents No! Not My Son + Panel

Heart & Soul is proud to present “No! Not My Son”, an original recovery drama by Rodney E. James on Saturday, July 15, 2023 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. The play examines the intersections of family trauma and co-occurring substance use in the community, specifically as it relates to our veterans. This dramatic production takes a poignant look at the highs and lows of a family and a community in the grips of drug addiction, and the toll that it takes on each person. Set in the Vietnam era, when many of our young men were returning from war with their childhood hopes and dreams shattered by addiction, Rodney tells the story of a family and community like many others then, and many others now. “No! Not My Son” speaks to our hearts in a way that is touching, thought provoking, and informative with that touch of humor that has become the trademark of playwright Rodney E. James. It is truly a play that offers a solution!

Join our Courageous Conversation! We will feature a panel discussion and Q&A to hear the voices of individuals with lived experience of mental health and recovery challenges, including playwright Rodney. They will offer their personal perspectives on mental wellness, speaking from a variety of viewpoints.

Our Resource Cafe will highlight Heart & Soul’s Partner Agencies, providing resources, support, and connection for our mental health and recovery community.

Refreshments are included with your ticket purchase. Theater location will be on your E-Ticket.

Purchase your ticket here.

Big Smiles & Beautiful Conversations at AACI and VoRSMC 23′ Juneteenth Celebration

Thank you, all who joined us for African American Community Initiative (AACI) and Voices of Recovery San Mateo (VorSMC)’s 2nd annual Juneteenth Celebration on Friday, June 16th 2023.

Special highlights from this event include a resource fair which included or harm reduction table and Student National Medical Association (SNMA) at Stanford School of Medicine who provide health checks for the community. Musical selections were provided by Q Smith, Praise dancing performances were provided by SherOnMyPraise Ministries. and drumming provided by Onye Health and Well Being in Drumming. Thank you also Supervisor Noelia Corzo and Mayor Lisa Gauthier of East Palo Alto for attending and speaking.

The event also included a panel discussion focused on health and other topics. Panelists included Ja’Net Lawrence, Darris Young, Dwyane Aikens Jr., Bunmi Fariyike, Maximillian Bailey, Nnamdi Orakpo, MD, PhD, and Keon Pearson, MD/MBA.

This event was held virtually with approximately 130 people attending in-person and approximately 50 people attending online.

About African American Community Initiative
The mission of the African American Community Initiative is to become a known resource for African American Community members facing challenges with finding and utilizing mental health services, while addressing inequalities faced by African Americans in our county.  Our vision is to build a community driven support system for reducing mental health and substance use treatment disparities, and the stigma of mental illness.  Learn more about AACI here.

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