Tuesday, October 2nd will be the 3rd Annual National Day of Prayer for Behavioral Health and Understanding. Faith and Secular leaders will join hundreds around the country in an effort to replace the blame, fear and prejudice surrounding behavioral health issues with truth, inclusion and love. Community members, consumers, family members, behavioral health providers and the faith community are all welcome. The event will be held at the courtyard of 400 County Center, Redwood City.
Category Archives: Health Equity Initiatives
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.
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!
Theatre of the Oppressed: Workshop Brings Diverse Staff Together to Explore Oppression in Everyday Lives
During Mental Health Awareness Month, the Community Health Promotion Unit hosted a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop to build awareness – through an embodied, experiential and participatory process – around root causes of health disparities. Participants explored the interwoven nature of trauma and oppression, exposing systems of oppression that perpetuate inequities along racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic lines. Through story and theatre, participants explored their own awareness of power, privilege and oppression that exists around them as well as counter-oppressive solutions to implement in prevention and community work.
Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative (NIPI) Co-Chair, Gloria Gutierrez, participated in the workshop describing it as a space for participants
“To express [themselves] void of judgement. As an individual that has been dedicated to learn about other cultures and communities I found [it] incredibly valuable. I would definitely recommend this training to my colleagues and community members as is teaches us a different approach to handle difficult issues.”
Another participant, Sylvia Tang, Co-Chair for the Chinese Health Initiative reflected,
“The training inspired me to think more deeply about the oppressive and liberating features of our Chinese culture that I have experienced. Hierarchy/compliance can be oppressive on the one hand but the fire for family unity/well-being can be liberating on the other hand. While many assume Chinese may quiet and compliant, there are many examples where Chinese-Americans have resisted and fought for the rights of our family’s well-being, including fighting for basic educational and legal rights during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act.”
The San Mateo County Pride Initiative proudly presents the county’s sixth annual LGBTQ+ Pride Celebration on June 16 at San Mateo Central Park. This year’s theme is Celebrate. Resist. Unite.
A number of dynamic artists are already confirmed, including Josie Day, Lady Char and the Sistahs of the Drum Collective. Stop by to enjoy family-friendly activities, resource booths, food trucks and more.
Help us celebrate health, wellness and pride throughout the LGBTQ+ and entire San Mateo County community at this sober event, where all are welcome. See www.smcpride2018.com for updates and information.
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is excited to announce two new job and internship opportunities. ODE advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. ODE works to empower communities; influence policy and system changes; develop strategic and meaningful partnerships; and promote workforce development and transformation within BHRS.
1) ODE is seeking Community Health Planners.
There are currently two vacancies 1) a permanent Community Health Planner position that will support Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) implementation and technical assistance across BHRS; and 2) a limited-term position, through June 30, 2021, that will support the development and implementation of a comprehensive, outcome-based evaluation, data collection and reporting infrastructure for MHSA funded programs.
Application available here.
2) ODE is seeking Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) interns.
The 2018-19 Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) Awardees complete and present their cultural humility related projects to clinic sites, Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), and community groups. CSIP awardees spend the academic year participating in one of nine HEIs and coordinating a year-long project, in addition to their regular duties as clinical interns.
CSIP provides a stipend of $5,000 awarded annually to up to 20 interns. Awardees are selected based on their expressed interest in and commitment to cultural awareness and social justice in both community and clinical settings; personal identification with marginalized communities; and/ or lived experience with behavioral health conditions. Priority is given to bilingual and/ or bi-cultural applicants whose cultural background and experience is similar to underserved communities in San Mateo County. Once selected, awardees are then matched with an HEI and tasked with conducting a project that helps BHRS becomes more culturally sensitive on a systemic level, and more accessible to marginalized communities.
Application available here.
To learn more about the Office of Diversity and Equity, visit our website at http://www.smchealth.org/bhrs/ode
For other job and internship opportunities with ODE visit https://www.smchealth.org/pod/job-internship-opportunities
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 but not least, in honor of AANHPI Mental Health Day, we are hosting an Intergenerational Feast. RSVP by May 16. More information at smchealth.org/event/intergenerational-feast.
The topic of immigration is controversial and complex. However regardless of one’s personal views on the issue, it is undeniable that the uncertainty and lack of information in our communities is ultimately detrimental to the communities’ health. An article by the Washington Post describes how the stress experienced by the threat of deportation can have devastating effects on health, beyond those immediately affected.
“Over time, such chronic stress, unaddressed, will make them far more vulnerable to heart disease, asthma, diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The University of Michigan conducted a study on the impact of the 2008 federal immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, the largest in U.S. history. The study found an increase of Hispanic babies born with low birth weight, which can cause long term health risks, a 24% increase in comparison to the year before.
The study also found that the risk for low birth weight was equally high for Latinas with protected legal status, “…in spite of their apparent safety, their bodies were reacting as if they, too, could soon be deported.” This can result in an “epigenetic” effect that modifies the way genes are expressed, allowing for the transmission of “vulnerabilities to stress from one generation to the next.”
While the debate over immigration continues, it is important to take a moment to recognize that what affects one group actually affects us all. We have a responsibility to care for the health of all community members, but equally important, to stay informed and aid those who are vulnerable.
For the first time, in celebration of San Mateo County’s (SMC) Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities, Chinese Health Initiative (CHI), Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FMHI), and Pacific Islander Initiative (PII) collaborate to host a free intergenerational feast for the community filled with delicious free food, inspirational speakers, raffles, and wellness practice performances.
Historically SMC’s AANHPI communities have had few events to recognize and celebrate one another. The goal of this event is to bridge the SMC AANHPI communities across ethnicities/ generations to be empowered together towards wellness. The event aims to strengthen relationships and break the AANHPI communities from their silos.
Please RSVP for the event by May 16th by emailing Kristie Lui at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at (650) 573- 5037.
We hope to see you all there!
Written by Kristie Lui, CHI Member