Category Archives: San Mateo County

11/20 – 2023 Transgender Day of Remembrance

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), we invite the community to join us at San Mateo Public Library on Monday, November 20, from 4:30-6:30pm.

TDOR has traditionally been about honoring the trans people who have been murdered simply by being themselves (the highest number are Black Transgender women). We want to honor victims’ lives with dignity and end the stigma that trans and gender diverse people face. Ultimately, we want to live in a world where transgender people are protected and safe from transphobia and violence.

This year’s event includes an Altar, Reading of the Names, and a Call to Action. Creating change is difficult; especially when we mourn those who have lost their lives simply for being themselves. We want to honor those who have died and also create ways for our community to learn and take action to eliminate the murder of transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance is adjacent to United Against Hate Week 2023. Learn more on the County’s website about how you can take part in other activities throughout the week from November 12-19. 

Register for the event here.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance event is a collaboration between several community organizations around San Mateo County. Please visit each group’s website to learn more about how they support the LGBTQIA+ community. This is where “ally” becomes a verb and we all take part in creating inclusive spaces at home, at work, and at school.

Voices of Recovery San Mateo County has Moved!

As of Monday, October 30th, Voices of Recovery San Mateo County (VORSMC) has moved locations from Belmont to 650 Main Street, Redwood City. For hours and more information, email them at

About Voices of Recovery San Mateo County:
Their mission is to create peer-led opportunities for education, wellness, advocacy and support services for individuals seeking long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs. VORSMC aims to equally share these opportunities with our vulnerable community members in San Mateo County.  

VORSMC is for every individual seeking and maintaining long-term recovery, including family members, friends, allies and community partners and recovery stakeholders. 

More info on their website here.

Youth Leaders Share Mental Health Advice to Parents at “What I Wish My Parents Knew” Forum

In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity’s Chinese Health Initiative partnered with Belmont, Redwood Shore, San Carlos Chinese Community  (BRSCC), and Star Vista’s Health Ambassador Youth Program to host the “What I Wish My Parents Knew” forum on Saturday, September 16, 2023.

The successful forum was led by San Mateo County youths Xin Xin Cai, Anthony Lee, and Anastasia Yang, with over 50 participants of parents, caregivers, and allies. As a way to ensure this forum was accessible to our communities, it was provided in English with Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation.

Youth leaders addressed mental health questions using their lens of the Chinese-American culture and provided insightful advice to parents and mental health clinicians in the audience. They identified the top reasons for not wanting to share about their mental health were stigma and not wanting to worry their parents. One piece of advice offered to address this challenge was for parents and caregivers to talk to teens about their mental health in ways that support teens as independent individuals such as giving them time and space.

To learn more about the Chinese Health Initiative, visit and follow them on Facebook.

Written by Alyson Suzuki, Chinese Health Initiative Co-Chair and Kayla Tolentino, BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity

11/4- 10th Annual Sana Sana Colita de Rana

Please join us for our 10th Annual Sana Sana, Colita de Rana event that is co-sponsored by BHRS’ Latino/a/x Collaborative, ALAS, Spiritualiy Initiative, Native Indigenous People’s Initiative, and BHRS’ Office of Diversity & Equity.

Date/ time: Saturday, November 4th, 2023 from 11AM-3PM

Location: South San Francisco High School (400 B Street, South San Francisco, Ca).

About the event: This is a family-friendly event to promote health and wellness among our Latino/a/x community in SMC. This event will be in Spanish with English interpretation for main events.

This year’s theme is “10 Años Sañando Juntos / Ten Years of Healing Together” to recognize our tenth year of holding this event and to reflect on how far we have come as a Latino/a/x Collaborative community.

We are proud to share that our keynote speaker will be Dra. Estela Garcia. Dra. Garcia has received numerous leadership recognition awards for her commitment to Chicano, Latino/a/x community. Additionally, we will have on-site health screenings, food, music, resource booths, and so much more.

This event is dedicated in memory of Hector Robles-Moncada, co-chair and co-leader of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sana Sana. Hector Robles Moncada, who passed earlier this year.

For more information about this event visit

8/10 – Latino/a/x Community Assessment Report in Half Moon Bay

Please join Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) and partner agencies as they present the findings of the Latino/a/x community assessment! Attached are the flyers for the August 10th presentation. There will be refreshments before the presentation, which will include community entertainment. Please note that the event will be to give back to the community with the data the community provided for the assessment. The data presentation will be conducted in Spanish. There will be interpreter devices available for those who need it, a great opportunity to get a sense of what it’s like for communications to happen through devices! 

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Rae Abileah at and let her know if you need an interpreter device.

If you have any questions, please email Edith Cabuslay at

PRIDE is in full effect for San Mateo County’s 11th annual pride celebration!

On Saturday, June 10th San Mateo County celebrated its 11th PRIDE event with a fresh, new twist! This year San Mateo County had its first PRIDE parade. Starting at B street in downtown San Mateo and ending at Central Park, LGBTQIA+ community members were able to march and show their authentic selves with the likes of community organizations like the El Camino Reelers as well as a community-led marching band. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Free to be me in 2023”; which is important with the current climate. DJ China G and MC Jeremy Jones kept the crowd entertained with dance tunes and various activities including dance parties, raffles, and walking the runway. And you can’t forget the amazing community vendors that came out to feed our attendees some amazing food; including Tacos El Flamingo, Eats Meets West, Empanada King, and Mr. Softee!

Thousands of San Mateo County residents came out to celebrate, show support, and express themselves in their authentic skin. Older adults, younger generations, and everyone in between showed up and showed out for this cherished safe space. The County of San Mateo is a proud supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community and the support from our residents was beautiful to see. Behavioral Health Recovery Services (i.e. Heart & Soul/ Voices of Recovery/ San Mateo Pride Center/ Etc..) were out in full effect to provide mental health and equity resources to anyone in need. San Mateo County is proud to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community and are proud to have seen such a turnout at the PRIDE celebration.

Written by Kai Thornton (he/she/they), BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity

6/10 – SMC Pride Parade and Pride Celebration

San Mateo County PRIDE Parade and Pride Celebration is 11 days away!

We hope you can join us on Saturday June 10th for the San Mateo County (SMC) Pride Parade, and after the parade come over to the SMC Pride celebration and celebrate Pride with us!! 

Friendly Reminder, if you are interested in having a contingent at the 1st Annual SMC Pride Parade, registration is currently open!! The SMC Pride Parade registration deadline is Friday June 2nd. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to be a part of history and participate in the San Mateo County 1st Annual Pride Parade!

The 1st Annual SMC Pride Parade will be Saturday June 10th from 10am-11am, starting on 2nd B street and ending at San Mateo Central Park! The SMC Pride Celebration will be Saturday June 10th from 11am-5pm at San Mateo Central Park.

Registration to the Pride Parade is currently OPEN but will close at the end of the day on June 2nd.
Register Your contingent today using the link below.

Let’s show up and show support in the first San Mateo County Pride Parade!!

For more info visit


Congratulations 2023 Tony Hoffman Award Recipients!

Top Row: Katelyn C., Chris R., Frieda E., Hudson F., Paul N., Jacki R. Leticia B., Jean P., Chelsea B., Jeff E.,
Middle Row: Fatima O., Jani D., Nicholas M., Leslie D., Ivette H., Regina M., Dr. Lovella C., Ziomara O.,
Bottom Row: John B., Charlotte R.

The Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Services Award recognizes individuals, professionals, businesses, and media who have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of individuals living with mental health challenges and the communities in which they live. This year’s recipients included a diverse group of individuals representing BHRS programs and staff, partner agencies, media outlets, peers and youth leaders. The Board of Supervisors recognized and honored each recipient of the Tony Hoffman Community Mental Health Service Award for making an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with mental health challenges and the San Mateo County community.

More photos from the event here.

1. BHRS Prenatal-to-Three Program staff strive to provide trauma-informed care and resources that improve infant, children and family overall quality of life who often experience stressors associated with financial difficulties, difficult parenting issues, trauma, domestic violence, mental health disorders, and drug and alcohol issues. Regina Moreno, Clinical Services Manager, Dr. Lovella Caluya-Diaz, Adult Psychiatrist, and Ivette Huerta, Unit Supervisor accepted the award on behalf of the program team.

2. Charlotte Rosario is a student in San Mateo who organized an open-mic event at San Mateo Central Park after losing Felipe, an Aragon High School student, to suicide. She is the founder of the community photobooth, a group of young photographers and filmmakers that raise funds for film projects that support mental health. Charlotte is also a member of the Behavioral Health Commission Youth Committee, Youth Action Board.

“When I was 12 years old, I lost my dad to suicide… the more I say it the stronger I get… through this journey my mom has taught me that the way to get through these challenges is by helping others”

– Charlotte R.

3. Fatima Olivares is a BHRS Mental Health Counselor who works with the Homeless Outreach program. She supported the Half Moon Bay community after the tragedy earlier this year. She was part of the Crisis Response Team and spent countless hours assisting families whose primary language is Spanish and who were in need of services and assistance.

Read more

It’s AANHPI Month! Here are Resources and Ways to Celebrate

As we settle into this month of May, we recognize several celebrations that are important to us, our work, and our communities: Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Month and Mental Health Month (MHM)!

At BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity, we are working hard to increase the visibility of our AANHPI communities and destigmatize mental health. Our AANHPI communities make up over 30% of our County, and have invaluably contributed to the vibrancy of neighborhoods. From being able to taste delicious food spreads of pancit and haupia, and practicing resilient wellness remedies passed on from generation to generation, it is a special time to lift up our AANHPI communities, friends, and family members.

In that spirit, we have two EVENTS where you can honor our diversity:

  • Sat, 5/20- A Wellness Gathering, hosted by Pacific Islander Initiative and the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center at Sneath Lane Cultural Center in San Bruno. Please consider joining us and sharing this opportunity with those we serve.  The event will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with our community, obtain resources, complete health screenings and COVID vaccines and boosters, and enjoy delicious food and fun raffles.
  • Tues, 5/23- AANHPI Month Proclamation, feel free to join us at the Board of Supervisors Meeting, starting at 9am. Zoom link will be available at County of San Mateo – Calendar (

You can also dig deeper into an abundance of RESOURCES to learn more at FAPAC – AAPI Resources and FYI: Weekly Health Resources for May 3, 2023 ( And don’t forget to spread the word, or better yet, join us in of all our numerous SMC Mental Health Month activities which can be found at Mental Health Month – San Mateo County Health (!

Beyond this month, we warmly invite you to join our Health Equity Initiatives that specifically lift up our AANHPI communities:

Chinese Health InitiativeFirst Friday of the month1:30-3pm
Pacific Islander InitiativeFirst Tuesday of the month11am-1pm
Filipino Mental Health InitiativeThird Thursday of the month5-6:30pm

Full schedule of our 9 Health Equity Initiatives can be found here!

We extend these opportunities as invitations for you to join us as we lift up our AANHPI communities and reduce the barriers to addressing mental health!

In community,

Your ODE Team

Co-written by Kayla Tolentino (she/her) & Maria Lorente-Foresti (she/her)

5/2- Suicide Prevention Messaging Matters Annual Webinar

The San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee is hosting below event that is free and open to the public. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity!


Learn safe and effective messaging about suicide prevention

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2023  

Time: 1:30-3:00pm

Virtual Location: Zoom Webinar. Register here:

Details: Please join us for this annual webinar “Messaging Matters” to learn more about safe and effective messaging about suicide prevention. Participants will learn about responsible media reporting, how to engage the news media as partners in suicide prevention, and how to create effective suicide prevention materials and talking points. Presentation will be by subject matter expert Stan Collins, Suicide Prevention Specialist with California Mental Health Services Authority Technical Assistance Team. Flyer: View here and attached.

Please help us outreach to all members of our community, especially those who communicate publicly about suicide and suicide prevention. Examples include

  • Public information officers
  • Social media managers or influencers
  • Print media professionals (newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters)
  • Broadcast media professionals (television, radio)
  • Journalists and student journalists
  • Presenters/trainers who present on suicide and suicide prevention
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