Category Archives: Workforce Development

ODE Welcomes Three New Interns

The San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is happy to share that we have three Mental Health Interns for this fiscal year.

Our interns have passion, personal experience and work experience in advancing equity, wellness and recovery for culturally diverse and underserved communities.  Our interns and their respective work areas include:

Angelica Delgado – Workforce Education & Training | Suicide Prevention Martha Gonzalez – Mental Health First Aid | Digital Storytelling        Mayra Gonzalez – Parent Project | Health Ambassador Program

IMG_6445(L-R: Martha Gonzalez, Mayra Gonzales and Angelica Delgado)

About the Internship Program

The ODE Internship Program is designed to provide work opportunities and practical learning experience for undergraduate college and graduate students in order to enhance their academic preparation and expose them to public service at the county level. This program is offered every fiscal year from September to June. Interns work 16-20 hours per week and are paid with a stipend funded by the Mental Health Services Act.

About the Office of Diversity and Equity

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


Meet our newest Parent Project Facilitators

Congratulations to our newest ODE Parent Project® facilitators! These 3 individuals completed a week long training in San Jose, honing their facilitation skills and learning various techniques from the creators of the Parent Project®, Ralph Fry and Dr. Roger Morgan. Congratulations and we can’t wait to have you begin teaching in our communities!
Pictured from L to R: Dr. Roger Morgan, Rocio Lemus, Darryl Stubblefield, Alexi Rosales, and Ralph Fry.
To learn more about our upcoming Parent Project® courses, please visit:

VRS – Financial Empowerment Project Employment Opportunities

You’ve probably seen the Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) staff around but may not know who they are or what they offer to your clients. VRS initiated the Financial Empowerment Program (FEP) in 2005 after completing a 5 year SSA research project. Their mission is to provide Benefits Counseling and Assistance services to individuals living with a serious mental health condition in San Mateo County. They utilize a Peer Counseling model which means that some of their team members have lived experience and may be receiving benefits themselves. They are CARF certified, one of the few Benefits Counseling programs in the country.

FEP Peer Counselors primarily assist with the following benefits: cash assistance like GA, CalWORKS, Unemployment, State Disability Insurance (SDI) and the Social Security programs (SSI and SSDI); health insurance assistance (Medi-Cal and Medicare) and food resources.

FEP services include application assistance, benefits education and help exploring post-eligibility issues like returning to work or school. Poverty will increase the stress in anyone’s life. Benefits counseling services are important in the disability recovery process and have been identified as a “best practice.”

Read more

The Lived Experience Academy is Back in Action!

LEA Refresher Course Graduates and Facilitators. Bottom left: Janet Stoller, Robert Ortiz, Kathy Mackin, Alan Cochran. Top left: Cindy Robbins-Roth, Lee Harrison, Katy Davis, and Kim Westrick

LEA Refresher Course Graduates and Facilitators. Bottom left: Janet Stoller, Robert Ortiz, Kathy Mackin, Alan Cochran. Top left: Cindy Robbins-Roth, Lee Harrison, Katy Davis, and Kim Westrick

The BHRS Lived Experience Academy (LEA) is having an exciting winter and spring! We received a 6-month grant from CalMHSA to boost our speakers’ bureau efforts toward reducing stigma. With these funds, we hosted a 3-session refresher course for our Lived Experience Academy graduates in February. Currently, we are in the middle of a new 5-session academy with 16 participants (both clients and family members) from around the county. Participants are learning the skills to share their stories of recovery from mental health and substance use conditions. They will then become part of our speakers’ bureau and will be paid to speak at various BHRS events and trainings. Their energy and courage is very inspiring and has made for a positive community-building and learning environment. There has also been enthusiastic participation from our dedicated group of facilitators that includes both staff and past LEA graduates. Special thanks to Lee Harrison, Cindy Robbins-Roth, Renee Harris, Jairo Wilches, Holly Severson, Alan Cochran, Kathy Mackin, Kim Westrick, Marisol Solis, and Hiba AbuDamous for your hard work and dedication. In April, 6 LEA graduates will participate in a 3-day digital storytelling workshop and will then present their digital stories throughout the month of May in multiple mental health awareness events.


For more information on the Lived Experience Academy, you can contact Katy Davis at or Kim Westrick at

Workforce, Education, and Training (WET) Plan Update

As part of the MHSA process, counties are expected to submit a three year plan including an update on Workforce, Education, and Training (WET). Our WET Plan update was recently presented and approved by the Mental Health Substance Abuse and Recovery Commission this November. This Plan Update was created with the input of over 600 community stakeholders and will guide BHRS’ training and workforce development efforts for the final 3 years of MHSA WET funding (FY 14/15 to FY 16/17). The input process consisted of 2 surveys, 14 meetings with specific stakeholder groups, and 2 community meetings that occurred between May and October 2014. Through the stakeholder process, in which many of you participated, 7 priority areas for training were identified and will serve as the focus for BHRS trainings for the next 3 years.

  1. Trauma-Informed Care
  2. Cultural Competence and Humility
  3. Crisis Management and Safet
  4. Self-Care
  5. Co-Occurring-Informed Care
  6. Support and Integration of Families in Treatment
  7. Partnering and Collaboration with Other Providers and Systems

Our WET Plan Update emphasizes the training and workforce development needs of people with behavioral health lived experience and their family members. Our Lived Experience Academy will continue to train clients and family members to share their story and educate others on multiple behavioral health topics. This training program will be expanded in the coming years to teach advocacy skills as well. Clients/Consumers will also continue to have the opportunity to be trained in Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) and to become certified WRAP facilitators. We will also fund the Lived Experience Scholarship program in which current and former behavioral health clients and family members can receive up to $500 to pursue education in the field of behavioral health.

The other workforce development efforts that we will pursue over the final 3 years of WET funding include the BHRS Intern/Trainee Program and Cultural Competency Stipend Program to strengthen diversity in our workforce; our Behavioral Health Career Pathways Program to encourage Daly City high school students’ interest in behavioral health careers; and our BHRS New-Hire Orientation and BHRS College to enhance staff professional development.

It will be an exciting 3 years full of many education and training opportunities!

For more information about Workforce Education and Training, check out our website: or contact WET Coordinator, Katy Davis, at

Upcoming BHRS Trainings…

Please join us for the following trainings.  Sign up on LMS:

Thursday, September 25th–Prevention and Management of Assaultive Behavior in Outpatient Settings (Introductory Course) with Ian Brennan (Non-violent Crisis Resolution Consultant)

Friday, September 26th–Harm Reduction Therapy Part I with Jeannie Little, LCSW

Thursday, October 16th–Prevention and Management of Assaultive Behavior in Outpatient Settings (Advanced Course) with Ian Brennan (Non-violent Crisis Resolution Consultant)–Please note participants have to have completed the introductory course in order to register for this course.

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