Category Archives: Community Education
SMC Health is deeply concerned about how the proposed changes to federal immigration rules called “public charge,” will impact public health. The proposed changes significantly expand what public benefits are considered as public charge (e.g., Medi-Cal, CalFresh, public housing or Section 8 vouchers). The County is engaged in advocacy around these issues through the Board of Supervisors.
When residents fear obtaining public benefits to access basic healthcare, food, or housing, people’s health conditions can suffer and actions that prevent the spread of disease (such as getting vaccinated) may not occur.
San Mateo County Health encourages residents to continue accessing the public benefits and services they need and remain available to them. Any rule changes would not go into effect until after public comments are reviewed.
Last Wednesday, on September 19th, over 100 people attended San Mateo County’s first ever S- Word Film Screening and Panel hosted at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center in collaboration with San Mateo Union High School District, Star-Vista and the Office of Diversity and Equity.
The S- Word is a documentary following a survivor of a suicide attempt as she embarks on a mission to document the stories of fellow survivors and document their stories of insight, humor, and courage. She discovers a national community rising to transform personal struggles into action.
During the panel discussion, audience members were able to ask questions about suicide anonymously that were displayed on the projector for the panelists to answer. Questions included “how do I connect with others that are considering suicide” and “what’s the best time or age to talk about this topic?”
Sylvia Tang, Office of Diversity and Equity, Co- Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee, and Co- Coordinator of this event states,
“I am so thankful that we had an engaged audience who asked thoughtful questions and wanted more community screenings of the S-Word. This film helped start a dialogue about suicide; this is such an important first step in suicide prevention because it raises awareness and reduces stigma around suicide. We hope more community members and agencies join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee because we need everyone to help prevent suicide in our schools and greater community.”
Special thanks to all the panelists:
- Ali Pond – Health Ambassador Program – Youth
- April Torres – San Mateo Union High School District
- Islam Hassanein – StarVista Crisis Center
- John Butler – Lived Experience Academy
- Karina Chapa – StarVista Crisis Center
- Yolanda Ramirez – San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
And all who tabled including:
- Adolescent Counseling Services
- Advancing Client and Community Empowerment through Sustainable Solutions (ACCESS)
- Peninsula Family Services
- National Alliance for Mental Illness of San Mateo County (NAMI SMC)
- San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity
- San Mateo County Pride Center
- San Mateo Police Activities League – Stride for Awareness
- Veteran Suicide Prevention
- Bring Change 2 Mind
- San Mateo Union High School District Wellness Program
On Friday, August 24th, please join us for the 2nd Annual Mental Health Open Mic at Philz in Westborough Square.
First 50 to register via eventbrite will receive a free coffee that evening!
We hope to see you there, and we especially hope to hear you speak at our open mic!
Know the signs, find the words, and reach out. Break the silence.
Facebook event link can be found here.
For many years, conversations around posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have primarily focused on military veteran populations returning from war. Keeping in mind that exposure to life-threatening, traumatic experiences are not just limited to military veterans, efforts are being made to shed light on other groups that are also impacted by PTSD. One of those groups includes students of color in historically marginalized communities.
1 in 3 students of color living in historically marginalized communities display symptoms of mild to severe PTSD.
In other words, youth of color are twice as likely to experience mild to severe symptoms of PTSD compared to soldiers returning from live combat.
Poverty, institutional racism, homicide, and neighborhood disinvestment represent some of many exposures linked to PTSD among students of color. However, the conversation doesn’t end there.
PTSD assumes a person will experience physical, mental, and emotional distress after being exposed to a traumatic life experience. For students of color, that exposure is continuous. Living in a historically marginalized community means that students will return to and experience traumatic events/conditions such as poverty, institutional racism, homicide, and neighborhood disinvestment, on a daily basis. PTSD on its own does not capture the complexity of those experiences. Thus, students of color living in communities with high exposures to such conditions may actually be experiencing Complex Posttraumatic Disorder, or CPTSD.
Amid ferris wheels and cotton candy at this year’s county fair, sat some of our dedicated BHRS staff, spreading mental health awareness to the San Mateo County community. BHRS staff Sara Arancibia, Seema Janjua, Winnie Chan Wu, Stefan Luesse, Claudia Navarro-Perez, Maata Misinale, Carmen Guerridos, Jocelyn Cerda Garcia and Genesis Ruiz and Dr. Robert Stebbins attended the fair with a booth promoting mental wellness. Their goal was to reduce mental health stigma and encourage fair-goers to seek services at the earliest signs of depression.
Despite the fact that it was well-hidden among the commercial vendors, there was a turnout of almost 300 people at the booth between Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 17. Visitors collected brochures and information on suicide prevention, health insurance and social security programs. 195 visitors had unique one-on-one conversations with staff on a variety of topics. Many expressed their gratitude for BHRS advocating for mental health and substance use programs in public. As in previous years, the team also helped a lot of consumers from neighboring counties, like Alameda, San Fransisco and Santa Clara.
The booth saw its heaviest traffic on Senior Day, with 48 consumers stopping by in less than three hours with questions related to Medi-Cal and Medicare billing, making this our most successful fair presence in over four years. The team completed its DHCS AB82 Medi-Cal Outreach & Enrollment grant activities with a truly grand finale.
San Mateo County is working to ensure all residents have equal access to online resources. Learn more here.
“It’s going to get better” — those are the words of a young man who grew up in the foster care system to anyone who finds themselves in the same painful place.
“Growing up in the system, you’re first afraid, scared and nervous. It’s not your fault. You’re just a victim in all of this. I want you to know it’s going to get better.
“You’re somebody worth caring for. You’re somebody worth believing in.”
His message was shared during the County of San Mateo’s first Foster Youth Pop-up Art Museum, a one-day event held recently in downtown Redwood City.
Hosted by Supervisor Don Horsely, the Independent Living Program, and ODE Storytelling, the Foster Youth Pop-Up Art Museum brought community together. With hopes that this becomes an annual event, the night focused on building hope and celebrating the success of the foster youth community, as well as learning ways to better support foster youth.
To meet these goals, we shared Digital Stories of hope and success and captured Pop-Up Photovoices to learn about ways to better support foster youth. We asked storytellers to either share (if they identify as foster youth) what support looks like for them, or (if they don’t identify as foster youth) some of their hopes for foster youth.
Continue reading about the Foster Youth Pop-up Art Museum here.