Tag Archives: Office of Diversity and Equity

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:  www.eachmindmatters.org

¿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: www.sanamente.org

Reimagine SamTrans — Please Help Diversify the Feedback!

SamTrans launched Reimagine SamTrans, a transformative study that will examine each route in the SamTrans bus system in light of changing travel patterns. Reimagine SamTrans will consider everything from customer experience, to route design, to how often buses run, to efficient and effective operations and practice. SamTrans needs your feedback on this critical effort!

Take the Reimagine Survey: Whether you ride the bus, drive, walk, bike or other we want to hear from you. Share your vision for a future SamTrans network. Visit https://www.reimaginesamtrans.com/survey to take this fun short survey. Survey closes December 31, 2019.

Share your feedback in-person: SamTrans staff are in the field at bus stops, farmers markets and community meetings. A full list of events is available on the website and if you miss them in-person, you can always leave a comment. To learn more about the project and events go to www.reimaginesamtrans.com.

Social media: SamTrans wants your input to Reimagine SamTrans service. Take the survey, join an event, or submit a comment and make your voice heard! Whether you take the bus, drive, walk, bike or other share your vision for a future SamTrans network. Visit www.reimaginesamtrans.com

Please share with your networks so we may diversify the feedback.

In community,

The Office of Diversity and Equity

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San Mateo County Launches 2020-2025 Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and suicide rates have increased in nearly every state (including California) from 1999 to 2016. While San Mateo County’s suicide rate is lower than the national and state average (ranking second to the lowest county rate in California), San Mateo County is committed to continue advancing suicide prevention and saving as many lives possible.


The San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) is a collective of passionate suicide prevention advocates, including behavioral health/social service providers, law enforcement, local crisis hotline (StarVista), transportation agency (Caltrain), suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors. Founded in 2010, the SPC is dedicates to its mission of providing oversight and guidance for suicide prevention efforts in San Mateo County.

From about October 2019 through August 2019, SPC will conduct the 2020-2025 San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Strategic Planning process. San Mateo County’s suicide prevention strategic plan will build off of the 2017-2020 San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Roadmap, California Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan (draft in progress) and National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. This strategic plan will also be shaped by public health and health equity frameworks which aim to advance health of people, communities, environments and society. For more details on the strategic planning steps and timeline, please visit smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention.


You can Get Involved by taking one or more of the following steps:

  1. Join SMC Suicide Prevention Committee. You can just join our mailing list to stay in the know or attend our monthly meetings which usually are on the 1st Tuesday of the Month 1:30-3pm at the Department of Housing – Jupiter Room, 264 Harbor Blvd, Belmont. To join, please reach out to SPC Co-Chair Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

  2. Share your feedback on the process or strategic plan by reaching out to SPC Co-Chair Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

This program is coordinated by the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) at the San Mateo County Health, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and funded by Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63).

10/10/19 is World Mental Health Day!

Join us in taking “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness and help prevent suicide. You can start by knowing the signs, finding the words and reaching out. More information at smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention. #WorldMentalHealthDay #SuicidePrevention #BeTheOneSMC

California Peer-Run Warm Line Now Offers Free Emotional Support and Referrals

The California Peer-Run Warm Line (1-855-845-7415)  is officially open to offer all Californians free non-emergency emotional support and referrals via telephone and instant messaging. This launch coincides with World Mental Health Day (this Thursday, October 10) and its theme of suicide prevention this year.

Initially, the warm line call center will be opened most of the day (Mondays to Fridays: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm; Saturdays: 7:00 am – 3:00 pm and Sundays: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm) and, by the end of the year, the call center will ramp up to open 24/7. This new service is funded by a state budget allocation of $10.8 million over three years and championed by Governor @GavinNewsom, State Senator @ScottWiener2 (D-San Francisco) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair @PhilTingSF (D-San Francisco).

“Too many Californians are struggling with mental health and emotional well-being challenges. Peer-to-peer support is a proven way of helping people stay healthy and get the help they need. The California Peer-Run Warm Line is an important resource for so many people, and I’m thrilled we were able to get it funded,” said Wiener.

More details at: https://a19.asmdc.org/press-releases/20191007-california-launches-first-statewide-mental-health-line

9/23 & 9/24 – Preventing Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults

In honor of Suicide Prevention month, we are hosting a few events next week focused on preventing isolation and loneliness in older adults. Be a part of the conversation! 

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #4: Self-Care and Resilience

On our last day of Suicide Prevention Week, we would like to remind us all that, as we take action to support others, it is also vital that we take the time to support and care for ourselves. 

The Importance of Building Resiliency. Practicing self-care is one part of building resilience and does not mean you are being selfish or choosing yourself over your loved one. It means that you are simply being mindful of your own needs, so you are better able to support others. You are better able to take care of the needs of others when you take care of yourself. 

Self-care can be as simple as taking a deep breath when you notice you are becoming stressed. By maintaining your physical and mental wellness, you will likely be better equipped to handle the stressors that come along with supporting someone you care about.

Self-Care Strategies to Build Resiliency and Manage Stress. 

When we are most stressed, we have a tendency to ignore taking care of ourselves, so it is important to set time to care for ourselves in big and little ways. 

  • Remain socially connected. When you are supporting someone else, it can be easy to lose sight of your other social connections. Stay in touch with your family and friends who can offer support. Recognize the importance of setting time with positive support networks. 
  • Make time for yourself. When caring for someone who may be suicidal, it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself. However, to be a productive caregiver, it is important to have some “me time.” Healthy activities that makes you feel better is worth a little bit of time out of your day.
  • Know when you need to ask for help. When caring for someone with suicidal thoughts, it is possible to become overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed does not make you a bad caregiver, family member, or friend, it makes you human. There are various resources for caregivers such as NAMI Family Support Groups. These groups offer support for people with loved ones who have experienced mental health conditions or issues. In addition, you can talk to trained counselors who provide free and confidential support by contacting one of the below 24/7 hotlines: 
    • StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 
    • Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741

To learn more about Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity September Suicide Prevention Month, resources and for a full list of events, visit www.smchealth.org/SuicidePrevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines: StarVista Crisis Hotline (San Mateo County) – 650-579-0350, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or Crisis Text Line – Text “Home” to 741741.

If you or someone you know is in need of mental health or substance use services and you have MediCal, Health Plan San Mateo (HPSM), or are uninsured, please contact BHRS ACCESS at (806) 686- 0101 or TDD at (800) 943- 2833. If you have private insurance please reach out to your insurance company and request support. 

#BetheOneSMC #ImHereForYou

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #3: Validate that a Person’s Feelings Matter

It is important to let another person know what they may be feeling is okay and that you believe in them. 

When reaching out to someone, remember to validate their feelings and acknowledge that they are real. Feelings may not always seem rational or easy to explain, but they are always valid. Understand that people can not control their feelings like they may be able to their thoughts or behaviors. If you are able to show someone that you acknowledge their feelings, it will allow them to feel more receptive to help and support. 

How do I show someone that I validate their feelings? 

Let the person know you hear them and are listening. You may do so by mirroring/echoing/paraphrasing rephrasing their sentiments. Repeat their own words back to them regarding how they’re feeling or what they’re going through. 

Other ways to express validation: 

  • “That makes sense.”
  • “That sounds difficult.”
  • “I’m sorry you are struggling right now.”
  • “I believe you.”
  • “I hear you.”
  • “It seems like you’re having a particularly hard moment.”
  • “It makes a lot of sense that you are stressed.”
  • “You have a lot on your plate.”
  • “Sounds like you’re having a really tough time right now.”
  • “I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling right now.”
  • “That must be really difficult to cope with.”

For an example of how to validate a person’s feelings when reaching out, watch this video from Active Minds. 

Resource: 

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #2: Listen Non-Judgmentally

Listening is an important tool to have in our personal toolboxes to prevent suicide, but listening can be hard! It can be nerve racking to have a conversation about suicide and many of us may feel like we don’t know the “right” thing to say. 

#BeThe1To recommends 5 action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal. ASK. KEEP THEM SAFE. BE THERE. HELP THEM CONNECT. FOLLOW UP. 

These are supported by by evidence in the field of suicide prevention. You can read more about each action step here. 

Listening non-judgmentally may not always come naturally to us. In this video, listen to Dylan, a crisis line counselor, talk about how he devleoped better listening skills while talking to hundreds of individuals who were thinking about suicide. As Dylan says “Listening isn’t really easy” but here is how he developed his own listening skill set.  

Suicide Prevention Week #ImHereForYou Tip #1: It’s Okay To Ask About Suicide

In honor of our theme of interpersonal connectedness (or #ImHereForYou), we are offering tips on how to help someone who might be considering suicide or facing struggles in life. 

Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will increase suicides or suicidal thought. 

Fact: Acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce suicidal ideation. 

Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. In fact, studies suggest the opposite; findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.

Asking a friend the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates to them that you are open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner, can open the door for dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Other questions you can ask include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Avoid promising to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.

It is important to be direct and talk openly about suicide. “Are you thinking about hurting yourself” is not as direct as “Are you thinking about killing yourself”. 

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