Category Archives: Uncategorized

In the News: Half Moon Bay’s Homeless Service Day

Group pic
Staff lend a helping hand on Homeless Service Day. Left to right:  Diana Cervantes, Claudia Ramirez, Cristian Ruiz, Jamie Matter and Jennifer Acuna

On February 8, the Coastside Outpatient Mental Health Clinic participated in a homeless service day, coordinated by the City of Half Moon Bay and the Human Services Agency.

A heavily populated homeless encampment behind the Safeway in Half Moon Bay will be closed by early April. In contrast to other cities that have quickly removed homeless encampments with little notice, Half Moon Bay is taking a planned, phased approach. The goal of the service day was to connect homeless individuals on site to services to support them through this transition.

There were over 27 individual service providers and 14 county agencies and departments, including the Homeless Outreach Team, Adult Resource Management, Coastside Hope and San Mateo Medical Center. Read more

Wellness, Resilience and Recovery: Black History Month Event Reflection

On Saturday January 27th, BHRS’ African American Community Initiative (AACI) hosted their 2018 Black History Month event and health fair.  The theme was Wellness, Resilience and Recovery, with the purpose of empowering the community to take charge of their wellness and recovery using the resilience inside us all, and to celebrate Black History Month.  This year’s event was held in San Mateo at the Martin Luther King Junior Community Center. The event was enjoyed by over 70 people consisting of community members/partners, Health System staff, and consumers.  Over thirty plus community agencies provided information and materials on their services.  

The co-chairs of AACI, Tennille Tucker and Talisha Racy co the hosted the event  with Ms. Tucker leading the singing of the National Black Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.  Opening remarks were provided by Carole Groom of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, David Young, the San Mateo County Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and Rick Bonilla, the Mayor of the City of San Mateo.  Invocation was provided by Elder Alvin Swindell, the Pastor of Macedonia Church of God and Christ.

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What’s Happening in SMC’s LGBTQ+ Community?

PRIDE Center on Spirit Day 2017

Annette photographed second from the right on Spirit Day 10/19/17

As a queer person living in San Mateo County, the monthly Pride Initiative meetings are a haven for me to feel connected to local LGBTQ+ community members. Nothing beats being around a table of beautifully unique and bold community members to talk about the numerous efforts we’re working on to strengthen the sense of LGBTQ+ community in San Mateo County.


Pride Initiative Mixer 6-19-11 001

PRIDE Initiative, 2011

Founded in 2007, the Pride Initiative is a health equity initiative that was created by the Office of Diversity and Equity in recognition that LGBTQ+ folks are often met with culturally inappropriate care and a lack of knowledge by service providers in health settings. Since 2007, the Pride Initiative has met on a monthly basis to organize community-based events, create trainings for service providers and advocate as a community for more LGBTQ+ services within county and community settings.

One such example is sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection that will be rolled out this year across BHRS as well as the whole health system; collecting this data will help reduce health disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ folks by normalizing conversations about these aspects of our identities that have a direct impact on our health. Pride Initiative members participated in not only advocating for this, they also contributed to the curriculum that was created to train BHRS staff on how to appropriately serve LGBTQ+ clients and ask SOGI questions with cultural humility.

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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

Black History Month Kick Off: Substance Abuse and Suicide Photovoices

AACI’s Black History Month kick off event included informational keynote speakers, activities for children, resources, and powerful storytellers. Of the powerferul storytellers were three individuals who created Photovoice projects about Substance Abuse and Suicide.

In collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Equity, Service Connect, and the African American Community Initiative, this group of storytellers came together to share the ways that they have been affected by the issues of substance abuse and suicicdal thoughts. At the Black History Month kick off event, the storytellers shared their photovoices and sat on a panel to answer questions and discuss the way the topics of their photovoices interact with the African American community.

Some shared the way that substance abuse has affected their relationships, growth, and responsibilites. Others shared that they wish their families and community members would be more open about suicide and other mental health issues so that they would feel more supported to cope with those stigmatized issues.

To view last year’s Black Lives Matter photovoices, click here.

NEW BHRS 2018-2019 Internship Placement Opportunities

Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) offers comprehensive behavioral health services to adults with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring substance abuse concerns and severely emotionally-disturbed youth and families. BHRS’ services are offered to children, adolescents, adults, and older adults in inpatient, outpatient, and outreach programs, through a multidisciplinary staff of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Social Workers, MFTs, Interns, Trainees, and Peer Support positions.

Field Placements for MFT, MSW, and Alcohol and Drug Certification Program Students

For information about field placements for current students, read the Masters-Level Students’ and Alcohol and Drug Certification Program Students Placements for a detailed review of each placement. BBS registered MSW and MFT graduates interested in volunteering for licensing hours and supervision can also review these materials to see which sites work with post-graduates.

Deadline to apply is March 1st, 2018. (Applications submitted after this date might still be considered depending on openings availability)

More BHRS Internship opportunities can be found here.

For any questions, please contact

This Saturday, Black History Month Kick-Off Event: Empowerment Begins with You

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

Reminder that this Saturday, the African American Community Initiative (AACI) is kicking off Black History Month with their event, Empowerment Begins with You. 

Stop by to show your support as well as have fun with a free soulful lunch and inspiring speakers on suicide risk and substance use in the African American community and real stories from real people. There will also be interactive activities for children and cultural entertainment.

A healthy mind, body, and spirit promotes healthy families and communities. 

For more info about the AACI visit their website here

For more info about the event visit

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