Category Archives: Prevention

[Cannabis] Decoded Educates San Mateo County Youth

In partnershship with the San Mateo County Youth Commission, BHRS’ new education initiative aims to teach youth about the health effects of cannabis use. Check out www.cannabisdecoded.org (Parents, we have resources for you too!) and the accompanying Instagram account, @cannabis_decoded today.

Police Victimization: A Link to Suicide

Among many different factors, one’s environment can play a major role in increasing risk for suicide. Almost 57% of suicide risk can be attributed traumatic events occurring in one’s physical and social environments. Stressful life events experienced at the neighborhood and community levels can create feelings of hopelessness, fear, sorrow, and despair. If left untreated, such feelings can translate to suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. One major environmental exposure of concern is police victimization, whose impacts stem beyond its immediate effects on death and physical harm. 

A study published just last year, found a 12-month prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals with lifetime exposure to police victimization. Police victimization was defined as: physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, sexual assault, psychological victimization, and neglect. Racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, males, and low income populations disproportionately experienced and/or witnessed police victimization. Suicide attempts were highest among individuals specifically exposed to assaultive forms of police victimization such as physical violence, physical violence with a weapon, and sexual assault. In brief, it was established that assaultive police victimization is strongly associated with suicide attempts.

Given its serious collateral effects on mental health, there is an urgent need to prevent suicide among marginalized communities heavily exposed to police victimization. Comprehensive, trauma-informed trainings for police officers are one of many upstream approaches to help prevent exposure to police victimization. Trainings should specifically include information on Race-Based Trauma, given that police victimization is most commonly reported by African American and Latino populations. Additionally, people reporting exposure to police victimization should be screened for suicide ideation and/or attempts with tools that specifically assess for physical and sexual violence during police-community encounters. Screenings should then of course be followed by appropriate ongoing treatment and support. Applying both a preventive and treatment lens to this issue is critical, as it will ensure that we are fully supporting the lives, health, and wellbeing of individuals and entire communities impacted by police victimization.

San Mateo County’s Suicide Prevention Committee is currently focusing on two workgroups: QPR training and outreach. To learn more about the Suicide Prevention Committee, and how to become a member of the committee, visit here

Written by Angelica Delgado, Office of Diversity and Equity

 

BE SAFE. BE RESPONSIBLE. Know the health effects of cannabis use

Let's Talk Cannabis blueThe New Year brought with it the legalization of cannabis in California. While medical marijuana has been legal in the state for over two decades, California voters took to the ballots last November to approve of Proposition 64, legalizing recreational cannabis.

Adults 21 or older can now use, carry and grow cannabis. In a 2016 survey of San Mateo County residents, 20 percent of respondents reported currently using cannabis. One in ten non-users said they would try it if it were legalized.

Now that adult use is legal in San Mateo County, you probably have lots of questions about the health effects of cannabis use. Check out this Wellness Matters article for answers.

Empowering Communities Far From Home

Written by Natalie Andrade, Mental Health First Aid

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Philippine Consulate’s Mental Health First Aid Training on January 27th.

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) was invited to the Philippine Consulate on Saturday, January 27 to provide a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to consulate staff. The Philippine Consulate provides services to Filipino Nationals in the San Francisco Bay Area. The day was filled with rich conversation about the struggles of feeling homesick and how this can affect one’s mental health, which is a taboo and stigmatized topic in the Filipino community. A participant stated that she was able to feel a connection to the information provided due to the cultural piece both instructors integrated in the course.

The word “homesick” is defined as the experience or longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it. When people leave their home countries, the sense of loss and homesickness is commonly felt. Homesickness is the word used by Philippine Consul General, Hon. Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. in his opening speech during the training to staff to describe the challenges they, as a community, often face when living away from home.

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Stay Safe this Season with a Flu Shot

What do we need to know about flu in San Mateo County right now?

“Get your flu shot. Get your flu shot. Get your flu shot.” – Scott Morrow M.D., San Mateo County Health Officer.

It’s not too late! Check out the video below for answers about how to stay safe this flu season, and visit smchealth.org/alert for more information.

 

How Knowing the Signs Can Help Save a Life

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Natalie Andrade with ALGEE the MHFA mascot

Before I started working at the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), I did not have a clue as to what the warning signs of suicide, depression, and anxiety were. It wasn’t until I became a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructor that I realized the importance of knowing the signs of mental health challenges. During my instructor training, taught by two amazing trainers from the National Council, I felt empowered to go back to my community and teach others important skills one can learn from the training. Knowing the signs of suicide can help save a life, yet the most challenging piece of knowing the signs is having the courage to start the conversation about suicide with someone you are concerned about.

In the YMHFA training, participants practice using a 5-step action plan called ALGEE, which stands for:

 

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

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Mental Health Awareness Poetry Slam at Philz Coffee

The room was filled with a standing audience at the first Mental Health Awareness Poetry Slam at Philz Coffee in Westborough on Friday, November 17 6:00-8:00PM.  District 5 Supervisor David Canepa, the Office of Diversity and Equity’s Filipino Mental Health Initiative (FHMI) and Chinese Health Initiative (CHI) hosted this event and plan to host more on an ongoing basis. There were youth and adults who shared their poems and many shared very personal lived experience with mental health, addiction and suicidal ideation. The room was filled with not only people but courage from the poets and support from the audience.

Written by Sylvia Tang, Co-Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee

Learn more about suicide prevention at: smchealth.org/suicide-prevention

What does “Sana, Sana Colita de Rana” mean for the Latino community?

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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. 

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Mental Health Services Act Prevention and Early Intervention Task Force

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Starting this Friday, October 27th, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) will be convening a Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Task Force to develop strategies to better serve the behavioral health care needs of individuals ages 0-25.

The last PEI Task Force was assembled in 2006 prior to the disbursement of MHSA funding. Since then, learning and best practices have emerged; context and environment have shifted. For three 2-hour meetings, this special time-limited task force is intended to make recommendations for prevention and early intervention priorities and programming for children, youth and transition age youth in San Mateo County as part of the MHSA Three-Year Plan.

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