Category Archives: COVID-19

Happy AAPI Heritage Month: Updates from the Pacific Islander Initiative

PII Co-Chair, Brittany Afu

This year, BHRS ODE’s Health Equity Initiative, Pacific Islander Initiative (PII) welcomes a returning co-chair, Brittany Afu, who is currently working with long-time partner, Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center. Luci Latu and Brittany have been focusing on rebuilding past partnerships and cultivating new ones to strengthen PII’s membership base.

Some of the initiative’s focus this year has been on COVID outreach – raising awareness around COVID testing, vaccines and linking families to COVID relief programs and services. Other focuses include outreaching for partner events and community classes, sharing information about services and completing community presentations to raise awareness on critical issues affecting the PII community.

Recently, the PII co-chairs presented to a class at UC Berkeley discussing Pacific Islander health disparities and how the initiative and other partnering agencies are developing strategies to address community needs. It is an ongoing effort, and we hope to make community impacts by filling future Parent Project courses, hosting Mental Health First Aid trainings and getting more families connected to needed care.

Blog written by Brittany Afu
Co-Chair of Pacific Islander Initiative of San Mateo County, 


To learn more about Pacific Islander Initiative and other health equity initiatives, visit SMCHealth.org/HEI.

The Health Equity Initiatives are funded through BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity. For more information click here.

To learn more about Pacific Islander Initiative, visit smchealth.org/pacific-islander-initiative.

2022 May Mental Health Month #SMCTakeAction4MH

Hello, 

As many of you know, May is Mental Health Month or, as we also like to call it, the lime greenest time of the year! This year’s theme, adopted from the statewide campaign, is #SMCTakeAction4MH. The theme encourages everyone to take actionable steps to address mental health and substance use matters. Over the past two years, the pandemic has been especially challenging for many of us. Your mental health is more important than ever. Throughout the month, learn ways you can take action to improve your communities’ mental wellness!

Each year we partner with local agencies and community members to offer free events throughout San Mateo County. This year, we are offering both in-person and virtual events!

To find our full calendar of events, learn ways to get involved, and find behavioral health resources. Visit our website here: SMCMentalHealthMonth.org.

Please promote Mental Health Month with your communities and networks by sharing our promo flyer and utilizing our virtual backgrounds.

In community, 

Kristie & Sylvia
Co-Chairs, May Mental Health Month Planning Committee
Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity

Sylvia Tang | She/Her/她
stang@smcgov.org | 650-578-7165

Kristie Lui | She/Her/她
kflui@smcgov.org

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

February 7: Familias con OMICRON: Historias y Recursos

San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) invites you to join us for our Spanish-speaking Livestream event: Families with OMICRON: Stories and Resources, on February 7th @ 6:30 pm.

This event will feature San Mateo County Latinx community members and their stories of how OMICRON impacted their entire family, how they coped with difficulties, the support received, and the positive outcome they experienced navigating the OMICRON surge! Also, hear the voice of a medical expert on OMICRON updates, and learn about San Mateo County Resources.

Join us on Monday, February 7 @ 6:30 pm, via Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook @CountyofSanMateo, @SMHealth.

**Interpretation in English will be provided.

 Watch our promotional videos here: 1 & 2

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La Oficina de Diversidad y Equidad (ODE) de BHRS (por sus siglas en Ingles, Servicios de Salud Conductual y Recuperación) del Condado San Mateo, los invita al evento virtual en Español:

Familias con OMICRON: Historias y Recursos -Febrero 7 @6:30pm.

La comunidad Latinx del condado San Mateo comparte historias de cómo OMICRON afectó a toda su familia, cómo enfrentaron las dificultades, el apoyo recibido y el resultado positivo que aún experimentaron durante la oleada de OMICRON. Además, escucha la voz de un experto médico sobre las actualizaciones de OMICRON, y los recursos del condado de San Mateo.

Acompáñanos este lunes 7 de Febrero a las 6:30 pm por las redes sociales del Condado San Mateo vía Twitter, YouTube and Facebook @CountyofSanMateo, @SMHealth

**Interpretación en Ingles disponible.

Videos promocionales aquí: 1 & 2

County Encourages Masking, Testing & Boosters to Battle Surge

Test kits to be distributed for children in low-income families, vulnerable residents and workers

The County of San Mateo expects to maintain current health and safety protocols to keep schools and the economy open and avoid coronavirus-related shutdowns.

“We believe we have a sound strategy in place to help combat this winter surge from the Omicron variant,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “That strategy relies on all of us doing the right thing: wearing our face masks indoors, getting tested if we have symptoms, getting our vaccines and our boosters, making smart choices about the risks we take.”

At today’s meeting of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the County superintendent of schools, Nancy Magee, said, “We are 100 percent committed to keeping our schools open.” Read the full story.

California Rent Relief Program

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