Category Archives: Office of Diversity & Equity

San Mateo County Pride Celebration: June 6-12

Join us for the 9th Annual San Mateo County week-long PRIDE Celebration! This fun-filled celebration promotes health and wellness among the LGBTQ+ community, builds a sense of community, and provides information about behavioral health services to support individuals in marginalized communities.

A series of virtual workshops offered throughout the week will focus on issues important to the LGBTQ community. Don’t miss the Grand Celebration which streams live on Saturday, June 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The celebration is a free LGBTQ+ positive, sober environment for the entire San Mateo County community.

Check out the full schedule of events and register at www.SMCPRIDECelebration.com.

BECOME A CULTURAL HUMILITY TRAINER THROUGH 3-DAY TRAINING!

Become a Cultural Humility trainer with Leanna Lewis, LCSW. As a trainer, you will be able to teach Cultural Humility trainings to other organizations in order to further educate the importance of critical self- reflection and life-long learning; changing power dynamics for client focused care; advocating for and maintaining institutional consistency; and community- based care and advocacy. 

Please note: You may only apply if you have already taken Melanie Tervalon’s Cultural Humility training as a participant. 

Deadline to apply is June 8th, 2021. Application can be found here. 

For more information, contact Kristie Lui at KFLui@smcgov.org or Erica Britton at EBritton@smcgov.org.

#HopeForChange – Mental Health MOVEment

#HopeForChange of your present moment by incorporating movement. This movement can be the movement of your body, your breath, or your thoughts with meditation. Check out these 2 minute meditations: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j4dvdio0xaoudxd/4_Activity%20Guide_%20MOVEMent.pdf?dl=0

#MentalHealthMOVEment

For more info about MHM and our free virtual events, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM.

In addition to moving for mental health, please also check out the upcoming events listed below. All events are free but space is limited. For updates and pre-registration, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM.

Wed, May 19 – 6pm-7pm | Meditación con Pablo Gonzalez

Wed, May 19 – 6pm-7pm | Healing Hope: Intimate Partner Abuse Survivor Panel

Thurs, 5/20- 11:30am-12:30pm | Gentle Chair Yoga

Thurs, 5/20- 4pm-5pm | Family Talk: Vaping

Thurs, 5/20- 7pm-8pm | Mental Health and Music with Gaby Castro

Fri, 5/21- 1pm-2:30pm | Growth and Recovery in the Face of Challenges: Re-examining Myths About Mental Health

Fri, 5/21- 6pm-8pm | Healing Hope with Expressive Arts

Mon, 5/24- 12pm | Solutions for Supportive Homes: Possibilities and Progress

Tues, 5/25- 3pm-4:30pm | Visualizing Mental Wellness: a Graphic Novel presentation from Peers

Tues, 5/25- 6:30pm-8pm | Changing the Stigma: Youth Led Discussion

Tues, 5/25 (also 6/1) – 6pm-8pm | Listening Lab Workshops w/ Nethra Samarawickrema & Yuri Zaitsev

Wed, 5/26- 4pm-6pm | Felton Institute (re)MIND/BEAM Open House and Early Psychosis Informational Session

We need your help to spread the word to your clients/consumers, friends, family and community!

Burlingame High School studentS’ short Film Sends message of Hope

In September 2020, the Directing Change Program launched a Hope & Justice category as an opportunity for youth to express their feelings and to inspire others through art. Submissions around “Hope” focus on sharing personal stories about what gives us hope during these challenging times and how we practice self-care. The “Justice” option asks youth to share a personal experience with discrimination or injustice that allows others to feel empathy, or entries can educate others about bias and encourage youth to take a stand against injustice when they see it.

Filmmakers Ryan Kang and Keunho Kim, students from Burlingame High School placed 1st in the Hope & Justice category with their film “Quarantined Hope”. Kang shared,

“Our short film is meant to inspire hope by documenting how writing poetry has given me a sense of hope during this pandemic. Mainly, it focuses on how poetry acts as an escape from all the stress and gloom of the current state of the world. The message is not specifically about poetry, but finding something or someone that can help cope with difficult emotions.”

The film’s message of inspiring hope aligns with this year’s Mental Health Month statewide theme #HopeForChange. The theme reminds us that while change is not always planned and can often be uncomfortable, it’s important to remind ourselves and others to spread and rely on the hope that carried us through a year of change. In honor of Mental Health Month, San Mateo County is hosting free virtual events throughout the month. For more information on the events, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM.

Along with Mental Health Month, May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Uplift APA voices throughout the month of May and share creations by the APA community like this short film! For ways to support San Mateo County’s APA community, visit SMCHealth.org/HEI to learn about our various Health Equity Initiatives.

To learn more about Directing Change, visit: www.DirectingChangeCA.org  

Free virtual Mental Health Month event happening this week!

Mon, 5/10- 6:30pm-7:30pm | Museum of Mental Health
Location: Zoom (Registration Form
Details: Visit museum, located on the site of the 130-year-old hospital used as the filming location for the Academy Award-winning movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and now dedicated to education and fostering understanding of the many issues of mental illness, and helping to remove stigma.
Language: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Wed, 5/12- 1pm-2:30pm | Photovoice Panel Presentation by LEEW & Co
Location: Zoom Link or Dial 669-900-6833 (Meeting ID: 934 8070 2047 | Passcode: 207173)
Details: The Photovoice ‘Hope for Change’ project theme will encourage participants to frame their Photovoice stories around Hope, Resilience, Community Inclusion and mental health wellness. Their stories will share recovery and wellness journeys and processes in ways that will be clear, concise and connecting journals of human experience that will touch and engage members of the public.
Language: English
Contact: Jairo Wilches | JWilches@smcgov.org or Lee Harrison | LEHarrison@smcgov.org 

Wed, 5/12- 6pm-7pm | Meditation as an Approach to Handle Anxiety Uncertainty
Location: Via Zoom (Registration Form
Details: We’re living in a time that often feels confusing and stressful. People are more anxious and many experience a struggle to stay positive and true to our inner core. Through regular meditation, we can experience profound peace, bliss, and happiness.
Umesh Bhatia, a long-time meditator, will share the scientific research around meditation and offer a simple meditation technique you can use every day. We look forward to seeing you at this informative and centering experience.
Language: English
Contact: Jessic Ormonde | Ormonde@smcl.org

Read more

Hope For Change Photovoice Series

A group of dedicated consumer leaders from the Lived Experience and Education Workgroup (LEEW) worked together to explore the ways in which they find hope. They examined their own lives, reflected and shared with others in order to attune with, photograph and then write about the sources of hope that each ones has, and from where each finds meaning and orientation. The LEEW members hope this collection of pieces will help viewers learn about their lives and the integral role that hope has in their lives in recovery.

This Photovoice Workshop was possible with the help of the Office of Diversity & Equity and the Office of Consumer &Family Affairs.

To see the full Photovoice series and past series, visit on our Storytelling Program site. You can also find this full series attached below.

ICYMI: Watch the 2021 Mental Health Month Livestream Kick-Off: #HopeForChange 💚

If you weren’t able to join us last Saturday, you can watch our 2021 Mental Health Month Kick-Off event here! Look forward to guest speakers commemorating May Mental Health Month, a delightful cooking demo, a calming nature meditation, and debunking of common myths about mental health.

For the full list of free virtual events happening throughout the month of May, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM.

#HopeForChange: Consume Content That Uplifts you

#HopeForChange for your wellness and switch up the content you are consuming. A 2012 study, “identified the power of films that elicit ‘elevation,’ the warm, uplifting feeling we get when we watch someone perform deeply moral acts…”

View https://bit.ly/3tsf8sx for a list of uplifting books, movies, and TV shows: P.S. Be sure to check in with your local library to borrow one of these! You can check out physical books or audio books at your local library!

For more info about Mental Health Month and our free virtual events, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM.

Health Ambassador Program Partners with HPP to Bring Ambassadors to Vaccine sites

As vaccination efforts continue in San Mateo County with a focus on equity, the health ambassadors offer a warm smile and support to those who are waiting their turn in line, and those who have just been vaccinated. The Health Ambassador Program (HAP) that is housed under the Office of Diversity and Equity has partnered with Health Policy and Planning (HPP) to bring health ambassadors to vaccination sites. The Health Ambassadors are highly skilled community members who complete at least 5 mental health courses including the Parent Project, Mental Health First Aid, Wellness Recovery Action Plan and many others. This program is part of the community empowerment branch of ODE, and they serve to increase community awareness of services available in San Mateo County and connect individuals with support, help reduce stigma around mental health and substance use, and improve the ability of community members to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

The Health Ambassadors are a vital resource, the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many reasons and because of the grief, financial loss and isolation we have seen a rise in anxiety and/or depressive disorders. Last July, 40% of US adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use. [1] Additionally, young adults, people of color, and essential workers, reported disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use and suicidal ideation.[2] Access to resources is also an issue, communities of color have historically faced challenges accessing mental health resources. The Health Ambassadors are peers, and well-known members of their communities that know firsthand how essential it is to have access to mental health resources. Cyntia, who has helped with vaccination clinics in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven shares with us, “before the pandemic, people didn’t even want to accept materials that had mental health information on it. They would tell us ‘I don’t need that, I’m not crazy.’ But the pandemic has changed things, no one has turned away any of the materials we are giving out. I think people are realizing that we all need help sometimes, and that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.”

HAPs bring a wealth of knowledge to their work. Many of them are consumers of services or family members of someone that has experienced mental health or substance use challenges. Additionally, many of them are bilingual and enable us to increase our language capacity at the vaccination sites. They have also been able to hand out information about county wide resources for food insecurity, housing as well as financial resources. Amada, who has been a health ambassador for years stated that “even just asking people how they are doing makes all of the difference. There are some people that come to get a vaccine and are really scared of the symptoms they will experience. It helps to calm them when I can tell them about my own experience, and they can visually see that I am okay.” Also, “there has been so much sadness from unemployment, grief from losing loved ones as well as anxiety about getting sick in our community, but we are seeing hope at the end of all of this.”

Cyntia, Amada and Lourdes all became HAPs because their children were going through a difficult time and they needed more tools in order to be able to help them. “I am worried about the youth; I became a HAP to help my daughter when she suffered through mental health challenges and I fear that the youth are really suffering during this time.” Pediatric mental health related emergency department visits have increased for youth 5-11 and 12-17, 24% and 31% with youth of color and LGBTQ youth being at a heightened risk of suicidal ideation even before the pandemic.[3] Community members that are well informed about mental health and help break down stigma, and support people in accessing services are vital especially during this time. If you are interested in becoming a Health Ambassador and supporting your community more information can be found here.


[1] Mental Health, Substance Use and Suicidal Ideation during the COVID-19 Pandemic ( https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm)

[2] The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/#:~:text=During%20the%20COVID%2D19%20pandemic,largely%20stable%20since%20spring%202020.

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6945a3.htm

4th Community & COVID Town Hall

On behalf of the collaborators that brought you the “Race & COVID-19” Town Hall series in 2020, we’d like to invite you to our 4th Town Hall: “Community & Coronavirus: a year later” that will take place on Thursday, April 29th at 3pm. Together we’ve experienced so much in the past year, this event will be dedicated to acknowledging our collective challenges, growth and experiences. We will ask for your input on what supports are still needed and what are the priorities of our communities as we continue to respond to the pandemic.

As a result to the feedback we received during the previous Town Halls, Digital literacy trainings, resource guides, and needs assessments for some of our marginalized groups have been conducted and made available to communities throughout San Mateo County.

Join us to get an update on San Mateo County efforts and to hear from your fellow community members and leaders as we continue to work toward healing and recovery.

Please share this information widely, we look forward to a great dialogue.

REGISTRATION LINK

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