Every year, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) recognizes individuals who have found their way to a path of wellness and recovery from mental illness and are active in the consumer movement to better the lives of other consumers in the county.
On March 7, the MHSARC honored Alan Cochran with the Mental Health Consumer Hall of Fame Award.
Alan took the opportunity to promote the HOPE program, a collaboration between NAMI SMC, Heart & Soul Inc., California Clubhouse and BHRS, where he has been hired as a peer mentor.
“This will be my first paid job since 2011, and it’s all because of the help I got from BHRS, San Mateo County and NAMI,” said Alan. For more on HOPE and Alan’s remarkable work in the behavioral health community, check out this Wellness Matters article.
The Lived Experience Academy is training consumers and family members to share their recovery stories in order to empower themselves and others, educate the health system and dispel stigma. Dinner will be provided at every session and those who complete the academy will be awarded a cash stipend. To participate, candidates must complete and return applications to Lee Harrison by Thursday, February 22. Please share the information below with family and friends who may be interested.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness San Mateo County (NAMI SMC) program, Peer PALS, is off to a great start. The free program pairs PALS, who are doing well on their own recovery journey with peers, who are also seeking recovery and could benefit from the friendship and support of a PAL who’s been there.
After holding the first PAL training in November, the program is gaining momentum and seeking more Peer and PAL applicants. NAMI SMC is also partnering with CATS, a free ticket program that will allow Peer PALS to attend exciting events and venues in the Bay Area.
For more information about PeerPALS, check out this Wellness Matters article, or email Rocio, the Peer PALS coordinator at PeerPals@namisanmateo.org.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender activist and columnist for the Bay Area Reporter, to recognize the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester on November 28, 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts. For many in the LGBTQ+ community, Rita’s murder exposed the lack of media coverage and particularly, culturally sensitive and respectful media coverage that takes place when transgender members of our community lose their lives to violent hate crimes. The communal anger and grief that was experienced led to a candlelight vigil that was attended by 250 participants. Eighteen years later, Transgender Day of Remembrance events occur on a national and international basis on November 20th each year, and often include a candlelight procession or vigil within the program.
On November 16th, 2017, San Mateo County Pride Center held San Mateo County’s second annual Transgender Day of Remembrance event. Transgender Day of Remembrance serves multiple purposes– this is a day for folks to come together and publicly mourn the lives of transgender siblings whose lives have been taken from us in brutal acts of violence and hatred, and a day for us to find strength within each other to mobilize and combat the violence our transgender community disproportionally faces. Transgender Day of Remembrance in San Mateo County included community speakers Alyss Swanson, Lexi Shimmers and Dr. Jei Africa, along with altars commemorating the lives of transgender siblings lost in 2016 and 2017, followed by a silent candlelight procession down El Camino Real to Central Park in San Mateo. During the procession, 25 participants traded their candles for signs that were each hand-painted by community members the afternoon prior with the names and ages of the lives we’ve lost in 2017. You can view the memorial we created for 2017 in the slideshow on this blog.
Last week several local nonprofits providing substance use services received a boost when county supervisors approved millions of dollars in reimbursements available due to the affordable care act. San Mateo County is one of the first in California to pull federal funds for local providers. The county approved funds from the Drug Medi-Cal Orgranized Delivery System for programs like StarVista, Our Common Ground and Project 90.
Check out this article The San Mateo Daily Journal published on November 3 for more, including thoughtful insight from health services manager, Clara Boyden.
In raising awareness around suicide prevention and celebrating recovery, our community sent a strong message this September: suicide is preventable and recovery is possible.
One of the most important things we did this September – and will continue to do all year long – is amplify the voices of those who have worked hard to overcome their behavioral health challenges. In sharing these stories, we embolden others to seek recovery as well. Read more