Category Archives: Public Policy/Issues

From Neighborhood to Classroom: Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)


Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Informed Care

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.

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MHSA Innovation Community Forums

BHRS is looking into technology-based solutions to our community’s unique behavioral health needs. Attend one of the forums listed below, and share your voice on how these Mental Health Services Act dollars are spent.MHSA Innovation Community Forums.jpg

Director of Office of Diversity and Equity honored with Immigrant Recognition Award

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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

Surgeon General Releases Landmark Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

Yesterday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new, landmark report on alcohol and drugs, and health. “Alcohol and drug addiction take an enormous toll on individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr.  Murthy. “Most Americans know someone who has been touched by an alcohol or a drug use disorder. Yet 90 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder are not getting treatment. That has to change.” This report is significant because it is the first ever report on addiction from a top federal health official. Some of the highlights of the 428-page include:

Addiction is costly with an estimated cost of $442 billion each year.

Addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) was identified as an evidence-based component of care.

For the full report and executive summary, visit

Diversity and Equity Council Discuss Issues Related to Immigration

To increase awareness of recent immigration policy shifts and trends, the Diversity and Equity Council (DEC) hosted Alison Kamhi of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center during the recent monthly meeting in July 2015. The presentation focused on the topic of unaccompanied minors as well as proposed policy expansions that would allow many more in our community to be able to work legally.

The increase in numbers of unaccompanied minors was striking to the group as the number has increased from average of 6,775 unaccompanied children detained per year in 2003-2011 to over 57,000 detained in 2014. The group explored challenges of reaching out to and providing services to these children who have often been traumatized prior and during their journeys to the U.S. Read more