Category Archives: Children/Youth & Family

Health Ambassadors Reflect on the Importance of SMC’s 10th Annual PRIDE Celebration

BHRS Health Ambassadors supporting 10 year Anniversary of San Mateo County’s PRIDE Celebration

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Saturday at noon, the radiant sun, and hundreds of people ready to experience an LGBTQ+ celebration for the first time. Not just any celebration, but the 10 year anniversary of San Mateo County’s PRIDE Celebration! 

Volunteering at the 2022 San Mateo County Pride Celebration this past June was a group of BHRS’ Health Ambassadors, accompanied by their children. Joined by BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity, the Health Ambassadors helped collect demographic data of attendees to learn which communities were represented at the event. Along with volunteering, the Health Ambassadors were ready to make a special connection with their children and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.  

“[At the Pride Celebration] my 14-year-old daughter seemed very happy, very open, like she was in her world. It was very natural for her to go with me around the park asking attendees each of the 6 questions of the questionnaire. We found happy people, dancing and enjoying their acceptance,” 

BHRS Health Ambassador, Lourdes Briseño, who had not attended a PRIDE celebration prior and, inspired by her experience at the festival, shared her story for the first time. 

“When my daughter came out she was between 8 and 9 years old, but I feel that I did not listen to her… At age 12 she came out to her older brother. Luis clarified/educated me that my daughter is a lesbian and demanded that I never reject her. I could had avoided 4 years of her suffering…”, said Lourdes. “When we arrived at the park, my husband looked very uncomfortable, but at last he said that he wanted to attend a support group for parents with LGBTQ + children… Having attended this event was a way of supporting my daughter. She is very young and needs the support of her family and then the support of society, because we don’t live alone as a family, she must make her life safer and happier for herself. Also, I learned the term ‘Queer’*” 

During the event, the community enjoyed local artists on stage, information booths breaking stigma around the LGBTQ+ community, and the playground for children and adults. While gifts were raffled and folks enjoyed the sun, it seems that the same balm of joy and freshness transforms minds and moves hearts.  

“For me it was nice to see that people fight to feel comfortable with who they are and that they find freedom along the way. At my daughter’s age -14 years old- she is already clear that all people should be accepted as they are, and we don’t have to judge anyone. We weren’t taught that where I grew up”. 

BHRS Health Ambassador, Angelica Zamora, originally from Mexico 

BHRS Health Ambassadors collected a total of 826 demographic surveys from an estimated total of 2,400 attendees from various parts of the Bay Area and other states across the country. The Spanish speaking community was the second largest group of attendees after the English speakers.  

You can find the Health Ambassadors continuing their support for LGBTQ+ communities at TransACTION Day of Change this Friday, 11/18 in Redwood City.

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AACI Black History Month Event | Thank you and Highlights

The African American Community Initiative (AACI) proudly hosted their annual Black History Month Program on Saturday, February 26, 2022. The audience was greeted with a musical interlude by The Glide Ensemble singing “Say Their Names” chanting “Black lives matter- we matter.” This poignant song was followed by Dana Johnson (they/them), Pride Initiative Co-Chair, honoring our ancestors by reciting the Sankofa African Ancestral acknowledgement. Lee Harrison (he/him), AACI Co-Chair, gave an introduction to the national theme for Black History Month: Black Health and Wellness.

Doctoral student from Palo Alto University and AACI intern, Chika Ofodu (she/they) gave a well received presentation on Healing Centered Engagement (HEC), a framework for engaging with youth of color that embraces a holistic and strength- based approach to trauma that involves culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing.

Dr. Kim Rhoads (she/her) told us that the highest rate of COVID infection and deaths are still occurring in Black and Latino communities. Social determinants drive these disparities that are common among all other diseases. Although the total numbers of people with COVID has declined, Dr Rhoads emphasised that Black and Brown communites need to continue to follow precautionary guidelines to reduce our high infection rates:

  • Masking matters: It is most important to block the aerosol spread from the mouth and nose.
  • Protect yourself by getting vaccinated despite community conspiracy theories to the contrary.
  • Omicron is a variant of COVID, there will likely be new variants.

We must act accordingly to protect ourselves from this airborne disease.

Lastly, a cultural cooking demonstration of a Healthy Gumbo recipe was offered by Chef Opal of Daly City. Through-out the event there were presentation polls and raffles. A Black History Trivia Game and raffle ended the day on a high note. All event raffles were funded by the SMC BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity.

Written by Pamela Ward (she/her), African American Community Initiative Co-Chair

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Newly Launched COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Webpage

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is changing everyday life for us all. For many, this means adapting to unexpected changes in our daily routines, and for others, it involves having to let go of an important event, dealing with financial pressures or facing the loss of a loved one.

Adjusting to these new realities and future uncertainty can bring about strong and overwhelming emotions in both adults and children. Today, nearly half of adults in the U.S. are experiencing increased distress.

Taking care of your mental health—as well your physical health—is an important aspect in maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. San Mateo County Health has put together resources and guides for staying well,24/7 crisis lines, coping strategies and managing stress, and more.

Visit the newly launched mental health resource page focused on to helping you take care of your mental health and wellness at www.smchealth.org/covid-19-mental-health

New Resource for Parents & Teens to Navigate Difficult Challenges— CRUSHING THE CURVE

BHRS COVID-19 Resources

See the BHRS resources below for mental health and substance use services; coping with stress, grief and loss; ideas on how to stay well and active during the Shelter in Place order; other community resources.

How to find Mental Health & Substance Use Services

If you are a San Mateo County resident seeking mental health or substance services and are covered through Medi-Cal or are uninsured, call the BHRS Access Call Center at 1-(800) 686-0101, TDD: 1-(800) 943-2833 for information, resources, assessment and a referral. If you are privately insured, please contact your health care provider or insurance carrier.

Other COVID-19 County Resources

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