Category Archives: Stigma

FMHI and PII Collaborate to Host 1st Mental Health First Aid for API Community


On Saturday, April 21st, the Filipino Mental Health Initiative(FMHI) and Pacific Islander Initiative(PII) welcome all to attend this upcoming Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

This training is the standard MHFA training, but also incorporates Asian- Pacific Islander (API) culturally-responsive material: giving participants an opportunity to learn about how to help friends and family members, who may be experiencing a mental health condition or crisis, and get certified.

This event is of huge importance for San Mateo County’s API community for a few reasons. SMC’s API community continues to have a lot of stigma around mental health; there remains a division between SMC’s API community; and there is not much available data and resources around mental health for the community. 

The goals of this event are to:

  • Decrease stigma around mental health in the API community
  • Build solidarity among APIs
  • Bring visibility to API communities to gain more data and resources around mental health Read more

Alan Cochran Honored with 2018 Consumer Hall of Fame Award

Alan Cochran, 2018 Consumer Hall of Fame awardeeEvery 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.

Lived Experience Academy is back

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.

Lived Experience Academy Final

Photovoice Presents: Spirituality in Recovery

Spirituality in Recovery Image

In 2011, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) created their own “Storytelling Program” that emphasizes the use of personal stories as a means to draw communal attention to mental health and wellness.  Read more

StarVista Launches New Youth Website With Peer to Peer Chat Services

Written by Nicole Marshall, Youth Outreach Coordinator

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           As of January 2018, StarVista, a San Mateo County community based mental health provider, is excited to announce the launching of its fully renovated youth website, This represents a huge success as it represents an expansion of services, and is also a win for the teen volunteers who run the site and have advocated for the changes. The site focuses on mental health and suicide prevention education, offering teen blogs and instant peer to peer chat. Teens are encouraged to seek direct support on a wide range of topics including relationships, stress, bullying, depression, identity, and health. New to the site are several redesigned interactive features: blogs allow visitors of the site to ask questions and leave comments, and new chat software allows seamless connection to fully trained teen counselors Monday through Thursday from 4:30PM to 9:30PM. The best part? and its chat services are now completely mobile accessible. Read more

Empowering Communities Far From Home

Written by Natalie Andrade, Mental Health First Aid


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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AACI Hosts Black History Month Kick Off Event: Empowerment Begins with You

2018 Black History Month Event Final Flier 12 27 (002)-1

On Saturday, January 27th, African American Community Initiative (AACI) will be kicking off Black History month with a fun, informative, and free event celebrating the wellness, resilience, and recovery of the African American Community. 

Stop by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center to share stories, promote wellness and take one step towards improving the well being of our communities. With a focus on understanding substance use and suicide risk in the African American community, the event will feature a resource fair, informative presentations, a Photovoice panel where young people will share their stories, cultural entertainment, children’s activities and a free soulful lunch.

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