The San Mateo County Pride Center opened it’s doors in July 2016 as a Mental Health ServicesAct (MHSA) Innovation (INN)-approved five-year pilot project. Since then, the Pride Center has expanded the network of services available to the LGBTQ+ community, promoted visibility and belonging, and filled gaps in culturally responsive mental health treatment services.
According to the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission’s 2018 countywide survey of 546 LGBTQ+ residents and employees, fewer than half (43%) of adult respondents felt that their mental health care provider had the expertise to care for their needs. Among LGBTQ+ youth who responded to the survey, three-quarters (74%) reported that they had considered harming themselves in the past 12 months, and two-thirds (65%) did not know where to access LGBTQ+ friendly health care.
The MHSA INN component allows counties to introduce and evaluate mental health approaches that have not been tried elsewhere, to develop new best practices. The San Mateo County Pride Center was developed as an INN project since the U.S. has no other model of a coordinated approach across mental health, social, and psychoeducational services for the LGBTQ+ community.
The Pride Center offers services in three components:
Social and Community Activities: outreaches, engages, reduces isolation, educates, and provides support to high-risk LGBTQ+ individuals through peer-based models of wellness and recovery that include educational and stigma reduction activities.
Clinical Services: provides mental health services focusing on individuals at high risk of, or with moderate to severe, mental health challenges.
Resource Services and Training: serves as a hub for LGBTQ+ resources. Hosts trainings and events related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and on providing culturally affirmative services.
In FY 2020-21 alone: • 3,000+ participants served through clinical, social, training, and drop-in services • 169 unique individuals received clinical services • 2,700 hours of clinical services were delivered • 359 community members served across 10 different peer support groups • 300+ LGBTQ+ older adults were regularly contacted via emails, calls, and support groups
MCOD stands for Multicultural Organization Development, and since 2015 BHRS has been working on our MCOD plan to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in the workplace. This framework was established to support BHRS’ ability to work effectively and respectfully with people from diverse cultural, linguistic, and social backgrounds.
To achieve this, the MCOD Action Plan was developed to focus on three key areas:
1) The recruitment, retention, and promotion of diverse staff at ALL levels, including leadership, 2) the creation of a brave workplace environment in which speaking out, respectful dialogue, and acknowledging differences is accepted and encouraged, and 3) promoting transparency and collaboration in decision-making and policy-making to ensure that those who are most impacted have meaningful participation.
Each of these areas has specific strategies, activities, and tasks to make progress towards a more inclusive organization. To begin this work, BHRS rolled out a survey in 2019 to measure our culture among staff. Since 2019 leadership team members have been surveyed to better understand the organizational climate and sentiment around MCOD. For example, 73% of BHRS leadership members currently agree that BHRS values diversity at all levels of the organization. In addition, BHRS executive team members were assigned, and subcommittees were formed to oversee the progress in each plan area. As we begin 2022, we look forward to supporting the subcommittee work and beginning to engage all BHRS staff in these efforts.
For more information on the MCOD action plan please click here. For any questions, please contact Frances Lobos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Frances Lobos, Office of Diversity & Equity
Join us on Sunday, August 5th from 3pm – 5pm at Red Morton Community Center in Redwood City (1400 Roosevelt Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94061) for an event celebrating solidarity and unity!
Families of many different backgrounds experience the pain of separation, whether we had to leave family behind to seek opportunity for the future, we were forced apart by by discriminatory policies, or we lost our link to family when we lost our language and cultural practices. We all deserve the care and support of family. Join us to celebrate family unity across cultures! Kids activities, light refreshments, and free family portraits available!
Several Health Equity Initiative Co-chairs collaborated to make this event possible. Come enjoy amazing and inspirational keynote speakers including Macrina Mota- Pineda from the documentary “Torn Apart”, youth poets, and more!
For the first time in San Mateo County (SMC) history, Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 10 as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Mental Health Day. San Mateo County has joined the State of California, City and County of San Francisco and City of Austin in proclaiming this significant day. You can download the official proclamation language.
The purpose of AANHPI Mental Health Day is to raise awareness about the challenges and resilience of the AANHPI community, especially around issues of mental health and substance use. AANHPI individuals make up 30.5% of the San Mateo County population. Despite being a large portion of the County, AANHPI communities have the lowest utilization rates of behavioral health services compared to other ethnic groups. These low utilization rates are attributed to various barriers, including cultural stigma, limited behavioral health literacy and lack of multilingual service providers who can speak with clients in their preferred languages. Historically, the SMC AANHPI community has lived in silos with very few events that recognize the collective AANHPI community in San Mateo County. AANHPI Mental Health Day is also meant to break down the silos and build bridges for our AANHPI community to work together towards wellness.
Before officially receiving the proclamation, Nicole Moreland, marriage family therapist trainee, presented an introduction on the behavioral health issues in the AANHPI community. Health Equity Initiative Co-Chairs Sylvia Tang, Stephanie Balon and DannyBoy Naha-Veevalu further introduced the Chinese Health Initiative, Filipino Mental Health Initiative and Pacific Islander Initiative. The presentation concluded with a panel who shared their lived experience facing mental health or substance use issues as members of the AANHPI community. The lived experience speakers were Ning Recio, Ken Jew and Sue Vuna.
This proclamation was led through a collaboration between Supervisor David Canepa’s Office, the Chinese Health Initiative, the Filipino Mental Health Initiative and the Pacific Islander Initiative. For more information and to get involved, visit smchealth.org/hei.
Last Saturday on 12/9, the Social Justice Ministry of St. Andrew Catholic Church partnered with the Office of Diversity and Equity’s Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI) to host an immigration forum called Immigrants: At the Crossroads. The aim of this event was to empower members of the Filipino community to improve their mental health, increase knowledge about immigrant rights, and let the community know that health is available.
Attorney Lisa M. Newstrom, a managing attorney from Bay Area Legal Aid presented on the rights of noncitizens in healthcare programs. In her work, Newstrom commonly hears questions related to what health care an immigrant or low-income person can receive. Bay Area Legal Aid is able to provide help for low-income people for free, relating to topics of domestic violence, housing preservation, economic security, health access, and consumer protection. They focus on specific client populations, including youth and veterans.
Attorney Lourdes Tancino of Tancino Law Offices also covered updates on immigration laws. Tancino Law Office is a full service law firm assisting clients in business and immigration matters. They specialize in family-based immigration, employment based immigration, temporary work visas, removal/ deportation defense and naturalization.
This November, the Office of Diversity and Equity celebrates Native American Heritage Month (NAHM).
With Thanksgiving, a holiday known to be controversial for Native American history, just around the corner, visibility of Native Americans during this month is particularly important. NAHM recognizes the contributions that native peoples have made for our community. It is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of our local tribes and also educate ourselves about the challenges Native people have faced and currently face, including health disparities.
Native Americans face a large number of behavioral health challenges, including suicide risk. Across all ages, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/ AN) populations in the U.S. experience high risk for suicide, with an overall suicide rate of 11.7 individuals per 100,000. This rate is greater than that for all other subgroups except white males, who have a suicide rate of 23.4 individuals per 100,000. Source
The existence of Native American Heritage Month alone does not have the capability to improve the lives or health outcomes of Native Americans living in San Mateo County. We as individuals and as a community must make an active effort to celebrate Native American achievements and educate ourselves about current challenges to make the month meaningful. Read more
For the last 5 years the Office of Diversity and Equity’s Latino Collaborative has put together the Annual Latino Health Forum, “Sana, Sana Colita de Rana” to provide an opportunity for Latino families to come together to learn strategies for emotional and physical well-being.
But what does the phrase “Sana, Sana Colita de Rana” mean?
When translated literally it means “heal, heal, little frog’s tail.” This expression is commonly used in many Latino communities to offer consolation when one, specifically a child, has fallen or gotten hurt. The phrase continues with “if you don’t heal today, you will heal tomorrow.” At its core this message is meant to offer relentless encouragement, that while we may be suffering today, things will get better tomorrow.
On October 20th, Dr. Jei Africa, Director of the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity, received the Immigrant Recognition Award for California’s 14th Congressional District from Congresswoman Jackie Speier. During a time of community divisiveness and uncertainty for immigrant families, Congresswoman Speier sought to highlight the contributions of first-generation immigrants in San Mateo County, one of the most diverse counties in California.Read more