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.
Office of Diversity and Equity Interns, Alicia and Priscilla, table at Burlingame High School to teach students about Suicide Prevention Month
A special thank you to Burlingame High School [BHS] for inviting us to their on-campus resource fair for Suicide Prevention and Awareness week. In recognition of September as the National Suicide Prevention month, the counseling team at Burlingame High School organized a tabling event which included community agencies such as StarVista, Health Right 360, The Crisis Text Line, and The San Mateo County Pride Center. The resource fair was held during lunchtime, allowing students to ask questions, learn about different services and resources offered, and gain awareness regarding suicide prevention. We were able to bring awareness to students about knowing the signs of suicide, finding the words to say to a friend or loved one, and how to reach out for help.
Alongside the tabling participation, BHS incorporated games and activities to promote their messaging campaign, “You Matter,” where students wrote positive messages of encouragement to express a shared sentiment of community support amongst peers. The poser is to be displayed on campus.
If you or someone you know is facing a mental health crisis, call the StarVista Crisis Hotline 650-579-0350 (1-800-273-8255).
In partnershship with the San Mateo County Youth Commission, BHRS’ new education initiative aims to teach youth about the health effects of cannabis use. Check out www.cannabisdecoded.org (Parents, we have resources for you too!) and the accompanying Instagram account, @cannabis_decoded today.
For many years, conversations around posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have primarily focused on military veteran populations returning from war. Keeping in mind that exposure to life-threatening, traumatic experiences are not just limited to military veterans, efforts are being made to shed light on other groups that are also impacted by PTSD. One of those groups includes students of color in historically marginalized communities.
1 in 3students of color living in historically marginalized communities display symptoms of mild to severe PTSD.
In other words, youth of color are twice as likely to experience mild to severe symptoms of PTSD compared to soldiers returning from live combat.
Poverty, institutional racism, homicide, and neighborhood disinvestment represent some of many exposures linked to PTSD among students of color. However, the conversation doesn’t end there.
PTSD assumes a person will experience physical, mental, and emotional distress after being exposed to a traumatic life experience. For students of color, that exposure is continuous. Living in a historically marginalized community means that students will return to and experience traumatic events/conditions such as poverty, institutional racism, homicide, and neighborhood disinvestment, on a daily basis. PTSD on its own does not capture the complexity of those experiences. Thus, students of color living in communities with high exposures to such conditions may actually be experiencing Complex Posttraumatic Disorder, or CPTSD.
Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid at Mills High School in April 2018
When parents and caregivers sign up to take the 12 week Parent Project course, they might not know what is in store for them. A sense of community is built in those short weeks and the knowledge gained sparks a deeper interest to continue learning to help others and their children.
By offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid training after Parent Project, parents and caregivers learn why knowing the signs of a mental health challenge or crisis, including suicide, can help their children. For many, their children are first generation U.S. born children, who face the challenges of growing up in a culture different from their parents. For many parents and caregivers attending the training, trying to understand the world their children are growing up in and finding the support from their peers in the room is the most beneficial aspect of their time in the class.
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. For more information, please contact Frances Lobos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid, please contact Natalie Andrade at email@example.com
To learn more about other programs and classes similar to these, visit the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)’s website here.
Written by Natalie Andrade, YMHFA Program Coordinator
On Tuesday May 1st, Westmoor High School in Daly City will be hosting a Parent Education night for May Mental Health Awareness Month. This will occur between 6:30-8:30 p.m. Panelists will talk about different concerns that students may face such as student stress, mental health concerns, and suicide. This is a great opportunity for parents to gain additional information and support. A FREE dinner will be served, and there will be Spanish interpretation services available as well. RSVP Links Below!
Please let your community and networks know of this free event!
Young people have an incredible capacity to learn, grow and experience new things. Cannabis use can negatively impact a young person’s development. San Mateo County is hosting free cannabis education workshops for parents. Join local experts to learn how marijuana use can affect your child’s health, safety and educational outcomes. Find out what you can do to prevent underage use. See dates, locations and additional information below. Read more
The Health Ambassador Program for Youth (HAP-Y) is an innovative and community-developed program delivered by StarVista. It is designed for youth ages 16 to 24 who are interested in advocating for communities that have been touched by mental health challenges, raising awareness about mental wellness and increasing access to mental health services. The program is funded by innovation funds through the Mental Health Services Act, which are designed to engage individuals, families and communities to be active change agents regarding wellness, particularly behavioral health. The program is managed by BHRS’ Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), whose primary focus is reaching and engaging vulnerable families and communities in San Mateo.
The participants of the program, most whom have lived experience with mental health challenges, participate in a 14-week training program, creating a personal Wellness Recovery Action, and learning about common mental health challenges and the principles of suicide prevention.
After completing the trainings, HAP-Y graduates are encouraged to conduct community presentations to start conversations and increase knowledge about mental health and community supports available. In the first year of HAP-Y, 20 youth successfully completed the program. They have already reached an audience of over 300 through classroom-based presentations. Preliminary evaluations suggest an increase of over 30 percent in knowledge of where to seek supports and services for mental health issues.
HAP-Y has seen success, not only in reaching an audience, but in providing a sense of community for participants. HAP-Y graduates said the group provided a welcoming and loving environment, where they could have real conversations about topics that they are often unable to have with their peers.
As the program enters its second year, there is an additional focus on continuing to engage past participants and building on their skills and passions. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next 14-week HAP-Y training will start on May 15th and will be hosted in Half Moon Bay. Please share this information with any youth you think may be interested in participating in this program.
Co-written by Narges Dillon, Brenda Nunez & Islam Hassanein, StarVista and Nancy Chen, ODE