Category Archives: Stigma

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 SMCHealth.org/CHI and follow them on Facebook.

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

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!

MESSAGING MATTERS ANNUAL WEBINAR

Learn safe and effective messaging about suicide prevention

Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2023  

Time: 1:30-3:00pm

Virtual Location: Zoom Webinar. Register here: bit.ly/2023messagingmatters

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

Jackie Speier Collaborates with BHRS ODE to Hear from Latinx Mothers

On Wednesday, March 15th, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Office of Diversity of Equity (ODE) worked in collaboration with retired Congresswoman, Jackie Speier, and Louise Rogers, Director of San Mateo County (SMC) Health to host a virtual event for SMC Latinx mothers to identify their needs and experiences. Jackie Speier has just launched “The Jackie Speier Foundation,” therefore, this virtual event served as a means of better understanding how to better support this community. In an effort to hear the voice of San Mateo County (SMC) mothers, participants from the SMC Parent Project© and the BHRS ODE Health Ambassador Program were invited to attend.

This dialogue led to learning more about our SMC mothers’ concerns around access to services, behavioral health needs for children, economic and employment challenges, and the desire for youth support in different areas of their lives. Additionally, the participants shared thoughtful recommendations and hopes for mothers balancing many needs to provide the best life for their children. The resilience of our communities shined through, with mothers speaking about overcoming obstacles and advocating for their families. Throughout this conversation, Jackie Speier looked to better understand gaps and system barriers impacting mothers and children to access services and supports.

With much gratitude, we thank our community for joining us at this event and for sharing each of their stories with such heart and thoughtfulness. We also thank Jackie Speier for her persistence in identifying how our county can better accommodate the needs of Latinx mothers. We would also like to thank Louise Rogers for her support in making this event happen and her deep understanding of our communities and work throughout our system of care. BHRS ODE will continue to host similar events to ensure the voice of those we serve is represented in our work.

2023 Mental Health Month | #Share4MH

Partners and community members,  

We are quickly approaching that lime green time of the year again! 💚 Every May is Mental Health Month and California’s theme this year is #Share4MH! To promote engagement across communities in California and San Mateo County, we are asking everyone to find opportunities to share throughout the month. Sharing for mental health can look like:  

  • Sharing how you practice self-care.  
  • Sharing how you practice mental wellness.  
  • Sharing how you get support for your mental health.  
  • Sharing how you overcame stigma.  
  • Sharing your journey towards wellness 
  • Sharing mental health resources 

Check out our attached flyer to spark some other ideas! Also use our virtual background at your next virtual meeting to spark conversation.  

For our full list of free and public events, ways to get involved, and mental health resources, visit SMCHealth.org/MHM

Please share this email with your clients/consumers, colleagues, friends and community! 


Socios y miembros de la comunidad, 

¡Nos acercamos rápidamente a esa época verde lima del año! ¡Cada mayo es el Mes de la Salud Mental y el tema de California este año es #Share4MH! Para promover la participación en las comunidades de California y el condado de San Mateo, les pedimos a todos que encuentren oportunidades para compartir durante todo el mes. Compartir para la salud mental puede verse como: 

  • Compartir cómo practica el autocuidado. 
  • Compartir cómo practica el bienestar mental. 
  • Compartir cómo obtiene apoyo para su salud mental. 
  • Compartir cómo superó el estigma. 
  • Compartiendo su experiencia hacia el bienestar 
  • Compartir recursos de salud mental 

¡Vea nuestro folleto adjunto para generar otras ideas! También use nuestro fondo virtual en su próxima reunión virtual para iniciar la conversación. 

Para ver nuestra lista completa de eventos públicos y gratuitos, formas de participar y recursos de salud mental, visite SMCHealth.org/MHM. 

¡Comparta este correo electrónico con sus clientes/consumidores, colegas, amigos y comunidad! 

2023-MHM-General-Flyer-Eng&SP

*NEW* Peer Support Group at Heart & Soul

Alternatives To Suicide is a new approach to sharing about our experiences without the fear of judgment or coercion. Originally created by the Wildflower Alliance, this group is a safe non-clinical space for individuals who are personally experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or have attempted suicide.

The first in-person group will meet on Thursday, March 16, 3:30 – 5:00 pm at Heart & Soul’s Community Drop-In Center (1633 Old Bayshore Hwy. Suite 258, Burlingame, CA 94010).

The group will be offered on the 1st Thursday of the month on Zoom and on the 3rd Thursday of the month in person at Heart & Soul’s Burlingame location.

All participants must agree to respect and apply the Alternatives To Suicide Charter provided at the beginning of the group meetings.

​No registration is required. 

For questions, email info@heartandsoulinc.org.

Parent Project Hosts First In-Person Class Since Spring 2020!

The Parent Project Spring 2023 semester is officially here! As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parent Project classes have been strictly virtual for the past three years. For this reason, we are excited to be transitioning back into in-person classes. This semester, our first in-person class is facilitated by Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center’s (PCRC), Evelia Chairez, alongside the Community Alliance to Revitalize Our Neighborhoods’ (CARON), Jose Luis Aguirre. Our first class was quite the success as we had numerous parents and caregivers join us at the Redwood City Library for our first in-person Spanish class since Spring of 2020. Our second in-person class is hosted by StarVista’s, Eddy Caldera and Mario Vargas, who are hosting another in-person Spanish class at Fiesta Gardens International school.

For virtual classes, we have one virtual Spanish class being hosted by StarVista’s Lilia Quezada, alongside Ara Vazquez and Gaby Berber. Our virtual English class is hosted by Peninsula Conflict Resolution’s Center and the Pacific Islander Initiative’s co-chair, Brittany Tonga.  

“I am very happy to have the Parent Project classes in person again. It is very motivating for me to see that parents want to learn more tools to educate their children. Each week they return with new experiences and feedback on how they are applying what they learn in the classroom at home. I have always said that today’s parents have a harder job to do, since they were educated in an analog world and now they have to educate in a digital era, often unknown to them. The fact that they attend the classes every week speaks volumes about their role as parents who always want to be better for their kids.” 

Jose Luis Aguirre, Parent Project Facilitator

[En Español]

“Estoy muy feliz de tener nuevamente las clases del Proyecto de Padres en persona. Es muy motivador para mi ver que los padres quieren aprender más herramientas para educar a sus hijos. Cada semana regresan con nuevas experiencias y comentarios de cómo están aplicando en casa lo que aprenden en el salón de clase. Siempre he dicho que a los padres de hoy en día les toca una labor más fuerte, pues ellos fueron educados en un mundo análogo y ahora tienen que educar en un mundo digital, en muchas ocasiones desconocido para ellos. El hecho de que asistan cada semana a su clase habla muy bien de su papel como padres que siempre quieren lo mejor para sus hijos.   

Jose Luis Aguirre, Facilitador del Proyecto de Padres 

Thus far, this semester has allowed us to rebuild connections with our community members. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware that there are added obstacles associated with rebuilding familial relationships. For this reason, we are implementing practices to better assist parents in an era that has been more anxiety inducing for both parents and children. ODE’s Community Program Specialist, Charo Martinez, will be working in collaboration with her fellow Health Ambassadors to educate parents and caregivers on the Health Ambassador Program. We are beyond thankful for the outstanding contributions of our partners Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and StarVista. We are looking forward to what the future of the Parent Project has in store!  

For more information on the Parent Project, please visit: https://www.smchealth.org/post/parent-project-r 

For any Parent Project related questions or concerns, please reach me via my email: Nkelleher@smcgov.org  

Written by Nicoletta Kelleher (she/her)
BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity

TransACTION Day of Change – Dreaming of a World without TDOR (#endTDOR)

On Friday November 18, 2022, San Mateo County (SMC) community members gathered at Redwood City Courthouse square for the first annual TransACTION Day of Change in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). SMC has observed TDOR since 2015. By providing these annual days of action, the planning committee hope to create more awareness, education, and visibility to stop this violence enacted toward transgender individuals.

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), TransACTION Day of Change was created to provide community the opportunity to commit to ending TDOR (#endTDOR). TDOR has traditionally been about honoring the trans people who have been murdered simply by being themselves (the highest number are Black Transgender women). The TransACTION Day of Change Planning committee (under the lead of LGBTQ Commission Director, Tanya Beat) wanted to honor victims’ lives with dignity and end the stigma that trans, nonbinary and gender diverse people face. Ultimately, we want to live in a world that no longer has Transgender Day of Remembrance. PRIDE Initiative cochairs Dana Johnson and Scott Gruendl joined community in support of TransACTION Day of Change. The featured event had resource booths, an Allegiance Wall, Reading of the Names, and ended in a Candlelight Vigil. PRIDE Initiative cochair and LGBTQ Commissioner Dana Johnson (they/ them) was the event emcee.

The event also offered a vaccination clinic which was able to administer 106 COVID-19 vaccinations and 8 MPOX vaccinations, according to the vaccine site manager.

“The event was affirming and a step towards change. I’m happy to be a part of this community and working with other community leaders in striving to make a safer community for trans, nonbinary and gender diverse folks. Identity, intersectionality, and inclusion is important to me, and I will continue to fight for trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse folks to be heard and seen.”

Dana Johnson, PRIDE Initiative Co-Chair and LGBTQ Commissioner


For more information about TDOR and to view the TDOR 2022 PowerPoint presentation visit SMC LGBTQ Commission website here.

In Solidarity,
Dana Johnson (they/ them/ theirs)

11/24 – Stigma Free San Mateo Spanish Workshop

Please share with your networks this event for a San Mateo Stigma-Free virtual workshop that the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs and Office of Diversity and Equity will be hosting in Spanish on Tuesday, November 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

This presentation will address the negative ideas and myths in regards mental health issues and substance use that often discourages or prevents people from seeking treatment, and how we can help reduce the stigma in our community.

 During these critical times, specially for our vulnerable communities, we reaffirm our commitment to bringing cultural appropriate access to BHRS available resources.

Community Stigma Baseline Survey: Mental Health & Substance Misuse Knowledge, Beliefs & Behavior

StigmaBaselineCoverPhoto

Many (if not all of us) know someone facing a mental health or substance misuse issue. However, many people do not get the help and treatment they need because of the stigma around these issues and fear others will judge them. San Mateo County is dedicated to reducing this stigma so that everyone gets the help they need and, ultimately, are able to live longer and better lives.

While we know stigma is a major barrier, how pervasive is such stigma in our San Mateo County community? Are our current stigma reduction programs reducing this stigma overtime?

To answer these questions, San Mateo County launched and completed a Community Stigma Baseline Survey around mental health and substance misuse knowledge, beliefs and behavior. The San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity commissioned an independent research firm, Strata Research Inc., to implement a baseline survey among San Mateo County residents who were at least 18 years of age. This 15-minute survey was completed by 450 residents in San Mateo County during March 2020. This survey built off of the statewide mental health stigma survey conducted by RAND Corporation.

Key findings from the Community Stigma Baseline Survey are listed below. The Executive Summary  and Full Report have more information on each domain, differences by demographics (e.g. age, gender, race/ethnicity) and general information about the survey.

Mental Health

  • One-third of San Mateo County adults (36%) have had a mental health issue.
  • Among those who have had a mental health issue, almost two-thirds (72%) sought treatment.
  • San Mateo County adults scored highest on Mental Health Inclusive Behavior across the three domains used to assess overall knowledge, beliefs and behavior, followed closely by Mental Health Knowledge.

MentalHealthFigure

Substance Misuse

  • One in ten San Mateo County adults (13%) have had a substance misuse issue.
  • Among those who have had a substance misuse issue, one-half (55%) sought treatment.
  • San Mateo County adults scored highest on the Substance Misuse Knowledge domain.

SubstanceMisuseFigure

To learn more about current stigma reduction programs, please visit www.smchealth.org/endstigma.

To learn more about mental health and substance misuse treatment and services, please visit www.smchealth.org/bhrs.

A Vision of a World Free of Stigma

Scott Gilman, BHRS Director

There are an unlimited number of issues and challenges facing California’s public mental health and substance use (behavioral health) system. Despite billions in revenue being distributed to California counties, there are significant barriers to accessing treatment. Stigma remains one of the main forces keeping people from seeking treatment at all levels of behavioral health needs. Read more from BHRS Director, Scott Gillman, on stigma and the impact it has on individuals and their family members who might need help.

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