Category Archives: Events
In October, the Phoenix Garden Project located at the Youth Services Center in San Mateo hosted the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL), a group of about teenage sons and their mothers, for a fun and productive workday. From 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., this energetic team helped revitalize a formerly moribund garden by planting artichokes, onions, garlic and an assortment of cover crops; planted a meadow of native California bunch grass; and built three picnic tables spread throughout the garden. BHRS Youth Clinical Services Manager, Regina Moreno helped guide the volunteers throughout the day.
The Phoenix Garden Project depends on amazing groups like YMSL to move our vision forward. Be sure to stop by the garden and enjoy your lunch on one of our new picnic tables and see the incredible progress being made at this wonderful community resource.
The Phoenix Garden Project holds monthly community volunteer days, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., every third Saturday, for anyone interested in helping to develop this healing space. Please contact Toni DeMarco, or Regina Moreno for more information.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors the Indigenous peoples of America. In this year’s 2nd Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day, held on October 8, community members gathered in East Palo Alto. A collaboration with many community partners including the Native and Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative (NIPI) and Nuestra Casa, the event hosted resource tables, workshops and a community dinner.
There was a strong sense of family this year, as there were many youth who attended. The day was opened with a four directions blessing and continued to four workshops including drumming, nature sounds, and paper bag puppets. The sound based workshops had a special way of re-grounding everyone through mindfulness and release. Following, was a wonderful performance by danzantes, or dancers. To conclude the day, there was a tasty dinner of Pozole and spicy chile. The intimate dinner provided the opportunity to reflect on the day, in which community members and providers had the opportunity to realize the value of different identities coming together to find wellness— for when we connect with ourselves and others, we are more likely to feel fewer symptoms of anxiety and feel more grounded.
Yesterday the San Mateo County Change Agent Housing Committee and BHRS hosted the 11th annual Housing Heroes awards, honoring exceptional individuals who have gone above and beyond in providing and maintaining housing for those with mental health and/or substance use issues.
San Mateo County Supervisor Carol Groom commended the honorees for their important work, and stressed just how meaningful it is for each of us to have a warm bed to come home to at the end of the day. Clients also spoke about how they’ve benefited from the help of our Housing Heroes.
Securing affordable housing in this county can be challenging these days, and stigma creates an additional barrier for those with mental health or substance use issues. You don’t need to be a property owner or a policy maker to be a part of the solution. We all have the power to help create communities where those with behavioral health issues are welcomed as friends, coworkers and neighbors.
BHRS is very excited to announce the opening of Serenity House. Our first Serenity House clients will begin their stay at the end of October. Read more about Serenity House.
This afternoon, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will join the Change Agent Housing Committee in recognizing San Mateo County’s “Housing Heroes.” The Housing Heroes program honors community partners and colleagues who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in providing or maintaining housing for individuals with mental health and/or substances use issues in San Mateo County.
Promoting health and housing stability helps not only these individuals but also their families and the broader San Mateo County community. Read more here.
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