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.
For more information about TDOR and to view the TDOR 2022 PowerPoint presentation visit SMC LGBTQ Commission website here.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
There continues to be a great deal of stigma in American society associated with mental health illness, substance use and addiction.
However, with the number of opioid overdoses quadrupling nationwide since 1999 and drug-related deaths accounting for 2% of all deaths in San Mateo County in 2017, no one can afford to turn a blind eye.
As difficult as it may be to understand, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is not a social ill but actually a complex disease that can be treated. In coming together during this annual Recovery Month of September to support individuals with substance use issues, we must acknowledge that these individuals benefit from receiving medical help and community support.
Stigma can prevent those who can help from
wanting to help and those who need help from having the courage to seek it.
Learning about mental health and sharing personal stories are great ways to overcome stigma and so is supporting loved ones and friends on their journey of recovery.
You can also attend a Recovery month event. Find a complete list of events happening throughout the month in San Mateo here. Learn more about Recovery Month.
The six-week course known as “NAMI Basics,” provides basic mental health support training based on protocols from the National Alliance for Mental Illness. NAMI Basics, offered for the first time in Spanish on the Coastside, offers information and guided support for family members and caregivers of youth and young adults with mental health disorders and is graduating its first class of participants next week.
Overall, the Latino community does not talk about mental health issues so there is a general lack of information and misunderstanding about the subject,” according to information provided on NAMI’s website.
“Some people refuse to acknowledge that their kids have
mental health issues. We want them to know that they are not alone,” said San
Mateo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Victor Lopez.
to read more about this unique program.
Office of Diversity and Equity Interns, Alicia and Priscilla, table at Burlingame High School to teach students about Suicide Prevention Month
A special thank you to Burlingame High School [BHS] for inviting us to their on-campus resource fair for Suicide Prevention and Awareness week. In recognition of September as the National Suicide Prevention month, the counseling team at Burlingame High School organized a tabling event which included community agencies such as StarVista, Health Right 360, The Crisis Text Line, and The San Mateo County Pride Center. The resource fair was held during lunchtime, allowing students to ask questions, learn about different services and resources offered, and gain awareness regarding suicide prevention. We were able to bring awareness to students about knowing the signs of suicide, finding the words to say to a friend or loved one, and how to reach out for help.
Alongside the tabling participation, BHS incorporated games and activities to promote their messaging campaign, “You Matter,” where students wrote positive messages of encouragement to express a shared sentiment of community support amongst peers. The poser is to be displayed on campus.
If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the StarVista Crisis Hotline 650-579-0350 (1-800-273-8255).
Last Wednesday, on September 19th, over 100 people attended San Mateo County’s first ever S- Word Film Screening and Panel hosted at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center in collaboration with San Mateo Union High School District, Star-Vista and the Office of Diversity and Equity.
The S- Word is a documentary following a survivor of a suicide attempt as she embarks on a mission to document the stories of fellow survivors and document their stories of insight, humor, and courage. She discovers a national community rising to transform personal struggles into action.
During the panel discussion, audience members were able to ask questions about suicide anonymously that were displayed on the projector for the panelists to answer. Questions included “how do I connect with others that are considering suicide” and “what’s the best time or age to talk about this topic?”
Sylvia Tang, Office of Diversity and Equity, Co- Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee, and Co- Coordinator of this event states,
“I am so thankful that we had an engaged audience who asked thoughtful questions and wanted more community screenings of the S-Word. This film helped start a dialogue about suicide; this is such an important first step in suicide prevention because it raises awareness and reduces stigma around suicide. We hope more community members and agencies join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee because we need everyone to help prevent suicide in our schools and greater community.”
Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid at Mills High School in April 2018
When parents and caregivers sign up to take the 12 week Parent Project course, they might not know what is in store for them. A sense of community is built in those short weeks and the knowledge gained sparks a deeper interest to continue learning to help others and their children.
By offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid training after Parent Project, parents and caregivers learn why knowing the signs of a mental health challenge or crisis, including suicide, can help their children. For many, their children are first generation U.S. born children, who face the challenges of growing up in a culture different from their parents. For many parents and caregivers attending the training, trying to understand the world their children are growing up in and finding the support from their peers in the room is the most beneficial aspect of their time in the class.
The Parent Project® is a free, 12-week course that is offered in English and Spanish to anyone who cares for a child or adolescent. For more information, please contact Frances Lobos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid, please contact Natalie Andrade at email@example.com
To learn more about other programs and classes similar to these, visit the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)’s website here.
Written by Natalie Andrade, YMHFA Program Coordinator
On Tuesday May 1st, Westmoor High School in Daly City will be hosting a Parent Education night for May Mental Health Awareness Month. This will occur between 6:30-8:30 p.m. Panelists will talk about different concerns that students may face such as student stress, mental health concerns, and suicide. This is a great opportunity for parents to gain additional information and support. A FREE dinner will be served, and there will be Spanish interpretation services available as well. RSVP Links Below!
Please let your community and networks know of this free event!