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Health Equity Initiative Virtual Meeting links

Hello Community,

On behalf of all the Health Equity Initiatives, we hope you and your families are safe and healthy. We are sharing with you the Zoom links for all upcoming Health Equity Initiative meetings. Please see attached below.

In 2007, the Mental Health Services Act provided funding to continue and support staff efforts to address racial, ethnic, and cultural disparities in the delivery of and access to mental health and substance use services in the community. These Initiatives were created to focus on health disparities in access and quality of care for underserved, unserved and inappropriately served cultural and ethnic communities and identify the workforce development needs of staff of these communities.

Each Initiative plans and implements activities in collaboration with other county staff, community partners, consumers/clients/family members and community stakeholders. Activities include educational resources (translated in different languages); facilitated training on culturally-responsive practices, workshops and support groups; and community outreach.  

For more information about Health Equity Initiatives, please visit

In community,

The Office of Diversity and Equity

MHSA Needs Survey – Last chance to provide input!

Final opportunity to complete a 12 question survey that will help inform the mental health and substance use needs in San Mateo County, the survey closes on March 20, 2020… feel free to share it broadly!  

MHSA Needs Prioritization Survey

We are still conducing community Input Sessions to help develop strategies for potential funding over the next three years, see the input session schedule below.  Due to coronavirus response guidelines we have converted meetings to either over-the-phone and/or online, check back regularly for updates!

For more information, contact Doris Estremera at or visit

Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Updates to Meet Coronavirus Guidelines

MHSA Three-Year Planning – Updated to Meet Coronavirus Guidelines

The recommendations regarding coronavirus precautions include that “all non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed, or done remotely.”  This applies to all 30+ MHSA Input Sessions for the MHSA Three-Year Plan development. We have shifted most MHSA Three-Year Planning sessions to over-the-phone and a few by Zoom (online conference) to allow for more interactive sharing of information online.

Input Sessions

See the attached Input Session list which now includes conference line and/or Zoom online conference information, please check the MHSA website regularly for updates

MHSA Steering Committee

The MHSA Steering Committee on April 29th will be conducted over Zoom online conference, which can also be attended through the conference line provided for over-the-phone access.  The meeting is open to the public. The presentation slides will be posted on the MHSA website prior to the meeting for your reference.

Please see the attached flyer for details.  The flyers are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Tongan and Russian and are posted on the MHSA website.  Language services will still be provided, please contact Tania Perez at at (650) 573-5047 or one week in advance of the meeting. 

I am hopeful that we can still get meaningful input and look forward to to engaging you in a discussion about priority strategies for MHSA funding.  

MHSA Steering Committee – Prioritization of Strategies

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Join Zoom Meeting: / Meeting ID: 125 761 698

Dial in: +1 669 900 6833 / Meeting ID: 125 761 698

One tap mobile: +16699006833,,125761698# 

Thank you for your help in making San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services a better community partner!


For more information, contact Doris Estremera at or 650-573-2889.

8th Annual Directing Change Program and Film Contest –Deadline March 1st

Calling for submissions! Create a film for the Directing Change Program and you’ll be eligible to win cash prizes, trophies, and even a trip to an annual red-carpet awards ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. Films are used in communities across the state to educate and encourage conversations around mental health and suicide prevention.

Directing Change invites you to create a film to help change conversations around mental health and suicide prevention in your community! Youth ages 14-25 and students in grades 6-12 are invited to submit 30 and 60 second films in a range of categories that are used to help those in your community learn about mental health and suicide prevention, while also giving filmmakers the chance to win prizes! Check out a few of our different categories below!

Through the Lens of Culture is the submission category that asks young people each year to share what mental health or suicide prevention looks like in their culture. Are there specific supports available in your community? Additional challenges that your group experiences? Young people are invited to submit 60-second films about how their culture views suicide prevention and mental health. Films will be used in diverse communities across the state.

Walk in our shoes. What would it be like to walk in someone else’s shoes? The Directing Change Film Contest’s middle school submission category asks students in grades 6-8 to answer that question, telling a story about someone who is facing a mental health challenge or who has been thinking about suicide. Creating a film can help you make a difference in your community, and you could win prizes!

Get involved and submit your film by March 1 at!

In our San Mateo County community, youth have submitted and won awards for their Directing Change films. Participating schools include Aragon High School, Burlingame High School and Hillsdale High School (see  We would love to see more participating middle schools and high schools across San Mateo County!

Parent Project Spring 2020 Schedule

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. The classes meet for three hours each week. Parents learn parenting skills and get information about resources and other support available in their communities. Parents/caregivers learn and practice skills such as:

  • appropriate ways to discipline
  • preventing or stopping alcohol, drug and tobacco use
  • improving communication skills
  • improving grades and school attendance

For more information about the Parent Project, please visit

The Parent Project is coordinated by the Office of Diversity and Equity. To learn more about the Office of Diversity and Equity, please visit

Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is looking for new interns!

San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) is a comprehensive county behavioral health services program dedicated to serving the needs of adults with serious mental illness and/ or co-occurring substance abuse concerns, as well as severely emotionally disturbed youth and their families. Services offered to children, adolescents, adults, and other adults in inpatient, outpatient, and outreach programs by multidisciplinary staff that includes psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, MFT’s trainees, interns and peer support positions. BHRS provides clinical training opportunities to students pursuing their masters’ degree, their Alcohol and Drug Certification, or their doctorate.

Cultural Competency stipends are available for those who are to help provide services to marginalized communities within our system of Older Adult, Adult, and Youth Services and are selected to participate in our Cultural Stipend Intern Program (CSIP).

More information about the internship program can be found here.

About the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)

The Office of Diversity and Equity is dedicated to addressing health disparities, health inequities and stigma in the areas of mental health and substance use, and supporting wellness and recovery among underserved, unserved, and inappropriately served communities in San Mateo County. ODE works to achieve these goals by promoting cultural competence and cultural humility, which are rooted in principles of social justice. To learn more about ODE’s work, visit

Each Mind Matters Self Care Challenge #1: Take Time to Reflect on Your Self-Care Routine | Reto del autocuidado de SanaMente #1: Tome tiempo para reflexionar en tu rutina del autocuidado

As we wrap up one year and begin another, Each Mind Matters invites you to join us in a Self-Care Challenge.
The holidays can be an especially busy time of year, and we sometimes think about self-care as a reward for after you finish all the many things on your list. But self-care isn’t a reward for getting everything done — it is a critical part of the process of getting everything done. Regular self-care prevents burnout, reduces the negative effects of stress, and helps you refocus.
In general, self-care falls into three domains: Physical, mental/emotional health, and spiritual health.
Over the next few weeks, these Each Mind Matters will bring an opportunity to try out a self-care practice from one of these three domains and reflect on what kind of self-care plan we might want to build into our new year.
To get started on your self-care challenge, check out this Each Mind Matters infographic on self-care tips: Steps to Self-Care.
To learn more about Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement, visit:

¿Qué tal si esta época festiva te hace sentir más agobiado que nada con reuniones sociales en el trabajo y en casa y otros compromisos sociales que puedan producir ansiedad?

Ser cariñoso con sí mismo y tener límites protege tu salud mental y puede ser lo más importante para el autocuidado. Parece que hemos creado la expectativa que el autocuidado es algo opcional, algo que podemos hacer ocasionalmente cuando tenemos tiempo. El autocuidado no debe de ser algo al que recurrimos cuando ya estamos desgastados y necesitamos descansar de nuestra propia presión interna. El autocuidado no se trata de baños salinos y pasteles de chocolate, se trata de las decisiones que tomamos para crear una vida al que no tenemos que escapar regularmente.

Pero cambiando las expectativas de nosotros mismos y de los demás toma tiempo y práctica. Acciones pequeñas pueden ser una forma buena de empezar. Por ejemplo, si el decir no a las obligaciones sociales es muy difícil, trata de tomar un descanso breve antes y después de cada evento. Durante este descanso, use el tiempo para aprender cómo darle atención a la respiración, una práctica que ha demostrado reducir el estrés y la ansiedad. Para aprender más de SanaMente: El movimiento de salud mental de California, visite:

2020 Mental Health Awareness Month Planning Committee – Meeting Schedule

Please save-the-date for our upcoming planning meetings for 2020 May Mental Health Awareness Month. The meetings will be on Thursdays 10:30am-12pm at Millbrae Library – Rm B, 1 Library Avenue, Millbrae CA 94030 for the dates below.  Please see attached meeting schedule for more details. If you are interested in hosting an event, let’s touch base before the next meeting to start looking into dates/times/locations/topics for the events.

  • 12/12/2019
  • 1/9/2020
  • 2/13/2020
  • 3/12/2020
  • 4/9/2020  
  • 6/4/2020

Thank you to San Mateo County Libraries and Peninsula Library System for partnering with us for the second time for MHAM. And special thank you to Kajah Ram for graciously providing us a space to meet at Millbrae Library.

For more information, please visit or contact Sylvia Tang at

New Community Collaborative to Address Shortage of Youth Mental Health Services in Palo Alto

A community collaborative of local nonprofits, healthcare providers (including Behavioral Health and Recovery Services), and schools are coming together to address a lack of mental health services for children and teens with mild to moderate mental health needs such as depression, anxiety, and environmental stressors such as homelessness and poverty.

Read the full article at:

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