Category Archives: Wellness Matters

A Vision of a World Free of Stigma

Scott Gilman, BHRS Director

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.

Mental Health Services Act Update (Prop 63)

Proposition 63, known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), provides increased funding, personnel and other resources to support County behavioral health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition-age youth, adults, older adults and families. The Act addresses a broad continuum of prevention, early intervention and direct service needs and the necessary infrastructure, technology and training elements that will effectively support this system. The public is encouraged to participate in the MHSA planning process as community input shapes MHSA spending.

MHSA Steering Committee Meeting
The MHSA Steering Committee is open to the public to make  recommendations to the planning, funding and services development for MHSA.   

The MHSA Steering Committee meeting is combined with the monthly Mental Health Substance Abuse and Recovery Commission (MHSARC) meeting in March and October each year. The MHSA portion will begin at 4 pm and both meetings are open to the public. 

Wednesday, March 4
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm (MHSARC) 
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm (MHSA) 
San Mateo County Health Campus, Room 100, 225 37th Ave., San Mateo 

Read the details on what the Committee is working on here. The public is encouraged to participate and get involved in providing input.

2019 BHRS Highlights

Check out BHRS’s highlights in our Winter issue of the Wellness Matters Newsletter!

Highlights for 2019 include:

  • Survey results: 91% of Consumers Say They are Satisfied with Services Received
  • Pilot Program to Treat Substance Use Disorders Increases Services Provided and People Served
  • IMAT’s New Treatment Protocol Allows More People to Access Opioid Use Treatment Faster
  • and more!

HEALTH COVERAGE EXPANDED FOR UNDOCUMENTED YOUNG ADULTS

Effective January 1, 2020 low income undocumented young adults age 19-25 can enroll in full-scope Medi-Cal coverage and receive care regardless of their current immigration status under the expansion of the Health4All Medi-Cal program.  

Young adults who reside lawfully in the US have been included in the expansion of Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act since 2014. This new law allows anyone who resides in the US currently on a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) visa or in an undocumented status to gain access to the same level of health care services as a US citizen. 

Read the details here.

Integrated Medication Assisted Treatment Program Recognized for Statewide Innovation Award

Congratulations to the Integrated Medication Assisted Team (IMAT), recipients of the 2019 California State Association of Counties Challenge Awards, which recognizes programs that find innovative, creative, effective, and cost-saving ways to provide services to their citizens by California Counties. 

IMAT Team: Erin Davis, Camilo Gonzalez, Matthew Boyle, Mark Ross, Alberto Ramos, Mary Taylor Fullerton, Gabriel Lemus, Joe Gutierrez.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) helps people with an alcohol or opioid addiction using a proven and comprehensive approach which combines FDA-approved medications with counseling and other lifestyle/behavioral therapies to support treatment and recovery.

Learn more about the IMAT program and the work being done in the County to help people with an opioid use disorder.

Simplifying the Representative Payee Process

As of July 1, 2019, San Mateo County Health transitioned their Representative Payee services to Life Inc.  Rep Payee services are provided to clients of BHRS and Aging & Adults Services who need assistance managing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This service helps ensure clients pay their bills on time and can take care of their essential living needs.

Before the transition, Aging & Adult Services staff processed and distributed the payments to clients. The change to Life Inc. removes the need to have service providers and other vendors involved in the payment process. The transition is expected to be complete by October.

You can read more about what other benefits clients will receive from Life Inc. in the BHRS Newsletter “Wellness Matters” here.

Youth Center Receives New Certification

After a three-year process, Canyon Oaks Youth Center (COYC) Residential Treatment Facility completed the conversion from a Level 14 Youth Group Home to a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) and the program received their permanent STRTP License on June 1st.

The committed and experienced team of leaders and staff of COYC have pioneered therapeutic approaches to address the needs of youth who have experienced significant trauma to support their health and recovery and continue to do so. In addition, COYC has been accredited for a period of 3 years by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, International (CARF).  

Youth drawing with chalk on wall

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, COYC has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. 

To  receive a three-Year Accreditation of this caliber, an organization has to put itself through a rigorous peer review process and demonstrate to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. 

Read the full article in the latest edition of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters“, here.

Need Support During the Holidays? Call/IM the Peer Run Warm Line

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is a non-emergency resource for anyone in the Bay Area seeking emotional support, providing assistance via phone and web chat on a nondiscriminatory basis to anyone in need.

Some concerns callers share are challenges with interpersonal relationships, anxiety, panic, depression, finance, and alcohol and drug use.

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is open for service this Thanksgiving weekend and throughout December, including Holidays!

Current hours: 7am-11pm, 7 Days a Week.
Call 1-855-845-7415.
For more info and to access online chat: California Peer-Run Warm Line

Watch for announcements as hours will be expanding to 24/7 sometime soon in 2020!



Parents Are Key to Addressing Youth Cannabis Use

In partnership with other jurisdictions around the San Francisco Bay Area, San Mateo County commissioned a survey of parents and teens during December 2018-January 2019 to establish the baseline measures on the knowledge, perceptions and use of cannabis.

788 total parents and youth participated in that survey (502 parents and 286 teens and young adults). The AOD Prevention Program intends to use the findings to support an education campaign that will focus on the target groups with the messages needed to improve prevention efforts in San Mateo County.  

The survey revealed the importance of engaging parents in the effort to address their child’s use of cannabis – pointing to the significant influence that parent perceptions and behaviors have on youth perception and use. Also, the data shows that parents who have used cannabis are less concerned about potential harm or their teen using cannabis, which points to the need to ensure that parents understand the difference in the potency of current cannabis products in comparison to the cannabis they  may have used when they were young. 

Read more about this and other key findings highlighted in the survey in our latest edition of the “Wellness Matters” newsletter.

David Lewis Garden Back in Bloom

The garden at the David Lewis Reentry Center is back in full operation after a temporary hiatus. New funding sources and dedicated volunteers made re-opening the garden to the public possible this past spring.

The center has long been a refuge for East Palo Alto community members coming home from prison. The gardening project allows them an opportunity to reconnect with their community and nature.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits are growing in abundance and are available for community members.

Read more about the garden on Wellness Matters.

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