The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) had the honor of graduating two Health Ambassadors, Maria Valencia Trinidad Hernandez and Alexi Rosales, during the monthly Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission on November 1st. They each shared with the group their heartfelt personal stories and dedication to help support healthy families and build stronger communities.
Left to right: David Young (Director of BHRS), Maria Valencia Trinidad Hernandez (HAP graduate), Alexi Rosales (HAP graduate), Jei Africa (Director of ODE)
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) started the Health Ambassador Program (HAP) in 2014. HAP was first created per the request of parents subsequent to graduating the Parent Project program. After their 12-week course spent sharing their stories, learning new parenting skills, and supporting one another, the graduates expressed wanting to continue learning about mental illness and staying connected with each other, their neighbors and community members.
Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day, and in commemoration of this year’s theme “Mental Health in the Workplace”, Mental Health First Aid USA provides some thought provoking statistics about how “good health is good for business, and good health includes mental health”.
According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 1 in 5 American adults have a mental illness and 1 in 10 full time employees have an addiction. Even more concerning is that 35% of managers feel they receive no formal support or resources to help employees. This highly correlates with work performance as mental health in the workplace is known to impact productivity, engagement, and quality of work. High-performing teams also rely on inclusion, respect, and skillful communication which fall under the umbrella of good mental health.
This week, October 1st through October 7th, is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during this week provides a dedicated time for mental health allies and advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice.
This year during MTV’s Video Music Awards, rapper Logic released the video for his new song titled 1-800-273-8255. The song brought up the topic of suicidal ideation: the feeling of not wanting to live and feelings of hopelessness. The video portrays a black high school student struggling to cope with his father’s reaction to his sexuality and the loneliness of abruptly losing a safe haven. Watch the video here.
A coalition of local leaders in schools, mental health, crisis intervention, law enforcement and government are utilizing Measure K funds to prevent suicide in our schools and community. This unprecedented effort includes a Suicide Prevention Protocol and Threat Assessment Protocol that help school staff identify and help students who may be in crisis.
The $15.6 million in funds invested by the Board of Supervisors since 2013 have yielded tangible results in prevention and early intervention. Nearly 2,000 individuals have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. For more on how San Mateo County is providing help and hope to youth in crisis, see this report.
Moonridge Apartments are a secluded apartment complex surrounded by rolling hills in an unincorporated area of San Mateo County, where its residents are predominantly Latinx and monolingual. Providing YMHFA for this community challenged the stigma often associated with mental health and connected residents to resources and supports provided in their area, including what to do if someone is having a mental health crisis or emergency. Supervising Mental Health Clinician Hector Moncada from Coastside Clinic attended the training to answer any questions and provided information on services offered by the clinic and in the community.
#BeThe1To remind the #Veterans and #Servicemembers in your life that you support them. 1 small act can make a big difference for those in crisis. Learn more how to support a veteran in crisis by attending the Department of Veteran Affairs Suicide Prevention Training on Friday, September 22 10-11:30am at 225 37th Avenue, San Mateo. Register by 9/18 at www.vasuicideprevention.eventbrite.com. #SMCPrevention
If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the 1-800-273-8255. For veterans, press 1.
NAMI is offering a free, six week course for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness. The course will run from September 6 to October 10.
This program is taught by trained teachers who are also parents or caregivers of individuals who developed symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13. The course will offer tips and tools for being an effective caregiver and coping with the impact of mental illness on the family.
For more information about the course or how to register, see the event flier or contact Claudia Saggese at
(650) – 573 – 2189, or Yolanda Ramirez at (650) – 559 – 1047.
A Wellness Recovery Action Plan, or WRAP, helps people develop real tools they can use to manage their physical and mental health. Based on hope, personal responsibility, self-advocacy, support and education, WRAP has helped many individuals and now you have the chance to join a group to create your personal WRAP. Check out this flyer for information this workshop which will be taught in Spanish, on how to join an upcoming WRAP group.
On November 15th, the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) delivered a workshop on the basics of local advocacy to over 40 behavioral health peer partners, family members and advocates from Heart & Soul, Inc., the California Clubhouse, Voice of Recovery, National Alliance on Mental Illness San Mateo and BHRS.
The workshop covered everything from what it takes to participate in community program planning, mental health boards, system of care meetings and other local input opportunities, to knowing the laws including the Mental Health Services Act regulations, to mock input opportunities.
Participants got to practice writing and giving effective public comment input. Many nervously made their way up to the room podium and shared their 2 minute public comment, often including their own personal lived experience as a means to add a personal touch to their input.
The most inspiring part of the workshop was getting to wrap up the day with a real action plan. Groups were formed representing each of the agencies that were present to select a topic and issue they would like to work on as a team. The groups developed on action plan that included next steps, who was responsible, deadlines and a follow up meeting. You could feel the excitement in the room as each group presented their advocacy issue and next steps.
The workshop was provided in collaboration with the Peer Recovery Collaborative and the BHRS Office of Consumer and Family Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Equity.