In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity’s Chinese Health Initiative partnered with Belmont, Redwood Shore, San Carlos Chinese Community (BRSCC), and Star Vista’s Health Ambassador Youth Program to host the “What I Wish My Parents Knew” forum on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
The successful forum was led by San Mateo County youths Xin Xin Cai, Anthony Lee, and Anastasia Yang, with over 50 participants of parents, caregivers, and allies. As a way to ensure this forum was accessible to our communities, it was provided in English with Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation.
Youth leaders addressed mental health questions using their lens of the Chinese-American culture and provided insightful advice to parents and mental health clinicians in the audience. They identified the top reasons for not wanting to share about their mental health were stigma and not wanting to worry their parents. One piece of advice offered to address this challenge was for parents and caregivers to talk to teens about their mental health in ways that support teens as independent individuals such as giving them time and space.
The in-person location is at Ravenswood Family Health Network in the Juanita Duncan Conference Room (1842 Bay Road, E Palo Alto).
Lunch and refreshments will be served!
Please see the above flyer for more information and how to reserve your seat if you plan to attend in-person (seating is limited).
You will need to log in separately for each meeting if you plan to participate via Zoom. For Zoom Info, email Lee Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both meetings will have brief presentations:
Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)
African American Community Initiative (AAC) – Adult Protective Services Presentation (Cassie Villar) and AACI Introduction and Overview
Spirituality Initiative (SI) – Bishop, Dr. Cleveland Prince, Senior Pastor of True Light Missionary Baptist Church in East Palo Alto. A discussion about “Spirituality in the African American Experience, Overcoming Struggles, Faith and Fatherhood.”
Please plan to join us, and please share this information widely in your networks!
Also join AACI and Voices of Recovery for their Juneteenth celebration on Friday, 6/16/23. More info here.
As our country’s newest National Holiday, Juneteenth acknowledges and celebrates the final end of institutional slavery in the United States.
This year’s event promises to be inspirational, fun and educational, with a program that includes presentations from San Mateo County Supervisor Noelia Corzo, a Proclamation presented by City of East Palo Alto Mayor Lisa Gauthier, African drumming and storytelling, a panel discussion, cultural performances, health checks (blood pressure and glucose), a photo booth, music and dinner.
On Saturday, February 18th, San Mateo County Supervisor, David Canepa, hosted a “Caffeinate and Conversate with Canepa” event in Daly City, creating a space for a community conversation on mental health. Following the Half Moon Bay shooting and the recent storms in the Bay Area, it was great having the opportunity to learn from fellow mental health providers andadvocates on accessing and improving mental health resources within San Mateo County.
San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) Director, Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti and Program Coordinator, Nicoletta Kelleher had the honor of presenting about BHRS services and resources. The presentation focused on Prevention and Early Intervention programs, youth and adult Mental Health First Aid, Workforce Education Trainings, Health Equity Initiatives and more. Throughout the presentation, attendees were referred to BHRS ODE’s program brochures and resources in order to ensure community members could easily access our services. The event also included contributions and resources from valued partners including Christi Morales-Kumasawa and Stephanie Garma Balon from KAPWA Kultural Center and Café, Virginia Chang Kiraly from National Alliance and Mental Illness (NAMI), and Fan Li from North East Medical Services (NEMS).
BHRS ODE is extremely appreciative to have had the opportunity to inform our community of our programs and services. We are grateful to Supervisor David Canepa and his team for inviting us to speak at this event, as well as creating a space for the community to voice their concerns and struggles following the recent traumatic events within our county. We look forward to participating in more events to help build community connections and the opportunity to amplify the voices of our underserved communities in order to make accessing behavioral health services more equitable and inclusive for all.
To learn more about David Canepa’s past and upcoming events, visit his social media pages:
The Parent Project Spring 2023 semester is officially here! As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parent Project classes have been strictly virtual for the past three years. For this reason, we are excited to be transitioning back into in-person classes. This semester, our first in-person class is facilitated by Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center’s (PCRC), Evelia Chairez, alongside the Community Alliance to Revitalize Our Neighborhoods’ (CARON), Jose Luis Aguirre. Our first class was quite the success as we had numerous parents and caregivers join us at the Redwood City Library for our first in-person Spanish class since Spring of 2020. Our second in-person class is hosted by StarVista’s, Eddy Caldera and Mario Vargas, who are hosting another in-person Spanish class at Fiesta Gardens International school.
For virtual classes, we have one virtual Spanish class being hosted by StarVista’s Lilia Quezada, alongside Ara Vazquez and Gaby Berber. Our virtual English class is hosted by Peninsula Conflict Resolution’s Center and the Pacific Islander Initiative’s co-chair, Brittany Tonga.
“I am very happy to have the Parent Project classes in person again. It is very motivating for me to see that parents want to learn more tools to educate their children. Each week they return with new experiences and feedback on how they are applying what they learn in the classroom at home. I have always said that today’s parents have a harder job to do, since they were educated in an analog world and now they have to educate in a digital era, often unknown to them. The fact that they attend the classes every week speaks volumes about their role as parents who always want to be better for their kids.”
Jose Luis Aguirre, Parent Project Facilitator
“Estoy muy feliz de tener nuevamente las clases del Proyecto de Padres en persona. Es muy motivador para mi ver que los padres quieren aprender más herramientas para educar a sus hijos. Cada semana regresan con nuevas experiencias y comentarios de cómo están aplicando en casa lo que aprenden en el salón de clase. Siempre he dicho que a los padres de hoy en día les toca una labor más fuerte, pues ellos fueron educados en un mundo análogo y ahora tienen que educar en un mundo digital, en muchas ocasiones desconocido para ellos. El hecho de que asistan cada semana a su clase habla muy bien de su papel como padres que siempre quieren lo mejor para sus hijos.
Jose Luis Aguirre, Facilitador del Proyecto de Padres
Thus far, this semester has allowed us to rebuild connections with our community members. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware that there are added obstacles associated with rebuilding familial relationships. For this reason, we are implementing practices to better assist parents in an era that has been more anxiety inducing for both parents and children. ODE’s Community Program Specialist, Charo Martinez, will be working in collaboration with her fellow Health Ambassadors to educate parents and caregivers on the Health Ambassador Program. We are beyond thankful for the outstanding contributions of our partners Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and StarVista. We are looking forward to what the future of the Parent Project has in store!
Each year our San Mateo County Women in County Government recognizes exceptional women working in our government departments. This year numerous nominations were received to honor the outstanding dedication and service women have made to serve our communities.
We would like to congratulate Gloria Cahuich Gonzalez, Co-Chair of Behavioral Health & Recovery Services’ Latino Collaborative and Community Program Specialist II with SMC Public Health, Policy and Planning. Gloria has shown her passion, commitment and compassion to our Latinx community in her work to lead two Sana Sana Colita de Rana Events and provide resources and supports to our marginalized communities. The work she and other nominees below have done emphasizes the importance of creating a positive impact in San Mateo communities by implementing a racial equity lens in the work we do.
Congratulations to all other BHRS nominees: Rookie of the Year: Dori Bailey, MD., BHRS Adult Psychiatrist
Development Champion: Chummy Sevilla, BHRS Clinical Services Manager II
Public Service/Extra Mile: Barbara Weissman, MD, BHRS Adult Psychiatrist Linda Hildreth, BHRS Supervising Mental Health Clinician Maria Lorente-Foresti, Ph.D., BHRS Director Office of Diversity and Equity Tennille Tucker, BHRS Supervising Mental Health Clinician Yolanda Ramirez, BHRS Senior Community Program Specialist
Please join us in congratulating these amazing women that make a difference everyday for our workforce and those we serve.
Written by Kristie Lui and Maria Lorente-Foresti, Ph.D., BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity
In honor of *Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), San Mateo County and San Mateo County Pride Center invites you to TransACTION Day of Change where they are providing the community the opportunity to commit to ending TDOR (#endTDOR).
TransACTION Day of Change will feature resource booths, an Allegiance Wall, Reading of the Names, and a Candlelight Vigil. Creating change is difficult; especially when we mourn those who have lost their lives simply for being themselves. The event want to honor those who have died and also create ways for our community to learn and take action to #endTDOR.
Amazing agencies from San Mateo County and the Bay Area have been invited to provide exclusive resources, services and practical information that support trans and gender-diverse community members and their friends and families. This is where “ally” becomes a verb and we all take part in creating inclusive spaces at home, at work, and at school.
This event is free, inclusive, and will feature an Allegiance Wall where you can sign your name and walk away with practical ways to build awareness and ways that allies can impact and create a safer community for everyone.
Additionally, we are proud to announce that there will also be a COVID-19 and MPX vaccination clinics will be joining us. Both clinics are open to the public and they encourage folx to make appointments via MyTurn while walk-ins are also welcome. Please see the second attached flyer below for more information!
Questions? Email Tanya Beat, LGBTQ Commission Director, email@example.com or Azisa Todd, SMC Pride Center Lead Trainer & Events Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
MCOD stands for Multicultural Organization Development, and since 2015 BHRS has been working on our MCOD plan to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in the workplace. This framework was established to support BHRS’ ability to work effectively and respectfully with people from diverse cultural, linguistic, and social backgrounds.
To achieve this, the MCOD Action Plan was developed to focus on three key areas:
1) The recruitment, retention, and promotion of diverse staff at ALL levels, including leadership, 2) the creation of a brave workplace environment in which speaking out, respectful dialogue, and acknowledging differences is accepted and encouraged, and 3) promoting transparency and collaboration in decision-making and policy-making to ensure that those who are most impacted have meaningful participation.
Each of these areas has specific strategies, activities, and tasks to make progress towards a more inclusive organization. To begin this work, BHRS rolled out a survey in 2019 to measure our culture among staff. Since 2019 leadership team members have been surveyed to better understand the organizational climate and sentiment around MCOD. For example, 73% of BHRS leadership members currently agree that BHRS values diversity at all levels of the organization. In addition, BHRS executive team members were assigned, and subcommittees were formed to oversee the progress in each plan area. As we begin 2022, we look forward to supporting the subcommittee work and beginning to engage all BHRS staff in these efforts.
For more information on the MCOD action plan please click here. For any questions, please contact Frances Lobos at email@example.com
Written by Frances Lobos, Office of Diversity & Equity
We want to learn about what the impact of remote services has had on the quality of BHRS services. Your responses to this survey will help us to understand what barriers you still encounter for remote interactions during the COVID-19 health emergency. Your feedback will help BHRS better address issues with and develop strategies for remote client engagement during the pandemic and after the health emergency is over.
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.