Tag Archives: Pride Center

Pride Center MHSA Project Outcomes

The San Mateo County Pride Center opened it’s doors in July 2016 as a Mental Health ServicesAct (MHSA) Innovation (INN)-approved five-year pilot project. Since then, the Pride Center has expanded the network of services available to the LGBTQ+ community, promoted visibility and belonging, and filled gaps in culturally responsive mental health treatment services.

According to the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission’s 2018 countywide survey of 546 LGBTQ+ residents and employees, fewer than half (43%) of adult respondents felt that their mental health care provider had the expertise to care for their needs. Among LGBTQ+ youth who responded to the survey, three-quarters (74%)
reported that they had considered harming themselves in the past 12 months, and two-thirds (65%) did not know where to access LGBTQ+ friendly health care.

The MHSA INN component allows counties to introduce and evaluate mental health approaches that have not been tried elsewhere, to develop new best practices. The San Mateo County Pride Center was developed as an INN project since the U.S. has no other model of a coordinated approach across mental health, social, and psychoeducational services for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride Center offers services in three components:

  1. Social and Community Activities: outreaches, engages, reduces isolation, educates, and provides support to high-risk LGBTQ+ individuals through peer-based models of wellness and recovery that include educational and stigma reduction activities.
  2. Clinical Services: provides mental health services focusing on individuals at high risk of, or with moderate to severe, mental health challenges.
  3. Resource Services and Training: serves as a hub for LGBTQ+ resources. Hosts trainings and events related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and on providing culturally affirmative services.

In FY 2020-21 alone:
• 3,000+ participants served through clinical, social, training, and drop-in services
• 169 unique individuals received clinical services
• 2,700 hours of clinical services were delivered
• 359 community members served across 10 different peer support groups
• 300+ LGBTQ+ older adults were regularly contacted via emails, calls, and support groups

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June 6- June 12 | 9th Annual San Mateo County PRIDE Celebration

Please join the PRIDE Initiative, our sponsors, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, the BHRS, Office of Diversity and Equity, the SMC PRIDE Center, the SMC LGBTQ+ Commission and our Community Partners for the 9th Annual San Mateo County PRIDE Celebration June 6th-June 12th. This will be our second mostly virtual event. The Purpose of the Annual PRIDE Celebration is to promote health and wellness among the LGBTQ+ Community. To Build a sense of community. To provide info about behavioral health services. Help individuals in marginalized communities seeking services. To provide a free LGBTQ+ positive, sober environment for San Mateo County.

This year’s event will consist of a week-long series of Workshops centered on issues important to the LGBTQ Community and ending on Saturday with a Grand Finale filled with entertainers from our Local Community from 11-2pm, streamed live from the PRIDE Center Facebook page in partnership with PENN TV. So far some of the workshops include a return of the Queer Author’s series which is a collaboration of the SMC LGBTQ+ Commission and SMC Public Libraries. This year the Queer Author’s Series is featuring author George M Johnson with their book All Boys Aren’t Blue: A memoir manifesto on June 9th at 6pm. The SMC PRIDE Center is offering a workshop A Road Map, Tips and Tools for people who identify as Transgender or Gender Non-Binary on June 10th 6-7:30 pm.

The PRIDE Center is offering a SOGIE Training for Community Members on June 7th 6-8 pm. Kaiser is offering a workshop with an Expression Specialist from their Gender Clinic to offer people who identify as Transgender and Gender Non-binary tips on everything from how-to put-on makeup, how to dress and how to walk etc. on June 10th 6-7:30 pm. The Office of Diversity and Equity Health Equity Initiatives will be holding an informative outreach workshop on June 8th 7-8 pm.

On Saturday we will be having our Grand Celebration filmed live at SMC PRIDE Center and streamed on the PRIDE Initiative Facebook page featuring MC Jesus U Betta Work, the return of favorites like local rap artist Aima the Dreamer and the Youth Drag Group from Cappuccino High School the Rebel Kings and much more. To link to our full schedule of events, to register and to stream our Grand Finale go to www.SMCPRIDECelebration.com.

Written by Zachary Comtois, PRIDE Initiative Co-Chair

2/25 – Black History Month Intergenerational Dinner

On February 25th from 6-7:30 pm, join the San Mateo County Pride Center for a virtual Black History Month Intergenerational Dinner. In partnership with the African American Community Initiative, the Pride Initiative, and the LGBT Commission, we encourage members of the San Mateo Black and African Diaspora to celebrate a night of Afro-LGBTQ history. Mark your calendars, bring your food, and share community as we engage in an interactive presentation and group dialogue about the dinner theme, “We Are Because They Do”. For more information, please contact Azisa Todd at azisa.todd@sanmateopride.org

Please use this link to register to attend: https://tinyurl.com/BlackHistoryDinner  This is a free space open to all community members.

11/20 – Transgender Day of Remembrance

Please join the PRIDE Initiative, the  Office of Diversity and Equity, the San Mateo County LGBTQ+ Commission  and Community Partners on November 20th 4 pm to 5:30 pm for Transgender day of Remembrance.  Registration through https://tinyurl.com/TDOR2020smc.

Innovative Pride Center to Remain Open

The one stop shop support and services center is the first of its kind in San Mateo County and thanks to an Innovation funding extension, it will continue serving the local LGBTQ+ community.

Services offered by the Center include:

  • Psycho-educational and social/community activities
  • Mental health clinical services
  • Resources for local, county and national LGBTQ+ services.

California’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) approved the extension to keep the center operating in March.

The Pride center has provided services, training and events for over 3,000 participants since opening in 2017. Read the full article here.

To see more stories, read past and current issues, or subscribe to our Wellness Matters newsletter, click here.

Mental Health Monday: Events Reminder #4

Mental Health Awareness Month 2019 is now in its 4th week!
Check out some upcoming events below, and enter in our raffle to win lime green swag! All you have to do is like this post, comment below, and share the post with your friends!

Mon, 5/20 1pm Introduction to Mental Health with NAMI
Woodside Library 
3140 Woodside Rd, Woodside
Details: NAMI San Mateo will present a mental health program discussing mental illness, as well as the services and programs that NAMI offers. Following this discussion, a person living well with their mental health diagnosis will be sharing their story.
Languages: English
Contact: Kayla Marie; Paula Teixeira | teixeira@smcl.org

Mon, 5/20 4pm Design and Bind Journals (Teens)*
Menlo Park Belle Haven Branch Library
413 Ivy Drive, Menlo Park
Details: Take some time out of your hectic schedule to enjoy some art therapy with Christie Inocencio from Christie’s Creative Cupboard. She will bring all the supplies for you to design and bind your own journal. For grades 5-12.
Languages: English
Contact: Gina Feil | gifeil@menlopark.org
For pre- registration click here.

Tue, 5/21 6pm Design and Bind Journals (Teens)*
Menlo Park Main Library
800 Alma Street, Menlo Park
Details: Take some time out of your hectic schedule to enjoy some art therapy with Christie Inocencio from Christie’s Creative Cupboard. She will bring all the supplies for you to design and bind your own journal. For grades 5-12.
Language: English 
Contact: Gina Feil | gifeil@menlopark.org
For pre- registration click here. 

Wed, 5/22 6:30pm Mental Health Self Care with StarVista
Sharp Park Library
104 Hilton Way, Pacifica
Details: Learn techniques for self care! Each participant will create their own self care kit to take home. 
Languages: English
Contact: Paula Teixeiral | teixeira@smcl.org

Wed, 5/22 7:45pm Wed, 12th Annual Break-Fast event ​
Westmoor High School – Cafeteria
131 Westmoor Avenue, Daly City
Details: This event is to bring community together to share a meal and celebrate the month of Ramadan. This event helps bridge community members of all faiths or no faiths and is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 
Languages: English
Contact: Islam Hassanein | islam.hassanein@star-vista.org

Thu, 5/23 10:30am – 12pm Millbrae Library: Story time​
Millbrae Library 
1 Library Ave, Millbrae
Details: Come to Story Time to hear stories related to social emotional development to children and families at Millbrae library. This can be a Chinese and English bilingual story time. 
Languages: English, Chinese Mandarin if requested
Contact: Shiyu Zhang | zhan1502@umn.edu

Thu, 5/23 3pm Felton Early Psychosis/BEAM Open House
1108 S El Camino Real, San Mateo CA
Details: Felton Early Psychosis and BEAM Programs of San Mateo will be hosting an annual Open House celebration. Come and learn about the program, the services offered, and the dynamic team that provides the services. Included in this year’s Open House Agenda will be an announcement about exciting changes coming to the program. You will not want to miss it!
Languages: English (Spanish and Mandarin available upon request) 
Contact: Rod Cooper | rcooper@felton.org

Thu, 5/23 6-7:30m Youth Mental Health: Assessing Resources for Yourself and Others
Half Moon Bay Library, Community Room
620 Correas St, Half Moon Bay
Language: English
Contact: Smitha Gundavajhala | sgundavajhala@yli.org

Fri, 5/24 7pm Building a Community of Healers: An Open Mic Night
PRIDE Center
1021 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
Details: Join CORA and the PRIDE Center for an open mic night focused on healing, self-care, and mental health. 
Languages: English
Contact: Sagarika Gami | sagarikag@corasupport.org

Fri, 5/24 7:15pm Mental Health Open Mic
Café Zoë, 1929 Menalto Ave, Menlo Park
Details: San Mateo County poet Laureate Aileen Cassinetto joins the Menlo Park Library at Café Zoë to help break the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. Enjoy some coffee or tea while you share your own words and/or listen to others.
Languages: English
Contact: John Weaver | jnweaver@menlopark.org

Sat, 5/25 3pm Film Screening & Panel: The S- Word
San Carlos Library Upstairs Community Rooms A&B
610 Elm St, San Carlos
Details: Screening of the S-Word Film “It is not the word suicide that is the problem; it is the silence that so often follows.” This film follows people who are surviving and thriving. Q and A to follow. 
Languages: English
Contact: Rhea Bradley | bradley@smcl.org

For a complete list of events and more information about Mental Health Awareness month, visit www.smchealth.org/mentalhealthmonth
To find mental health and substance use services and resources in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/bhrsservices


What’s Happening in SMC’s LGBTQ+ Community?

PRIDE Center on Spirit Day 2017

Annette photographed second from the right on Spirit Day 10/19/17

As a queer person living in San Mateo County, the monthly Pride Initiative meetings are a haven for me to feel connected to local LGBTQ+ community members. Nothing beats being around a table of beautifully unique and bold community members to talk about the numerous efforts we’re working on to strengthen the sense of LGBTQ+ community in San Mateo County.


Pride Initiative Mixer 6-19-11 001

PRIDE Initiative, 2011

Founded in 2007, the Pride Initiative is a health equity initiative that was created by the Office of Diversity and Equity in recognition that LGBTQ+ folks are often met with culturally inappropriate care and a lack of knowledge by service providers in health settings. Since 2007, the Pride Initiative has met on a monthly basis to organize community-based events, create trainings for service providers and advocate as a community for more LGBTQ+ services within county and community settings.

One such example is sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection that will be rolled out this year across BHRS as well as the whole health system; collecting this data will help reduce health disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ folks by normalizing conversations about these aspects of our identities that have a direct impact on our health. Pride Initiative members participated in not only advocating for this, they also contributed to the curriculum that was created to train BHRS staff on how to appropriately serve LGBTQ+ clients and ask SOGI questions with cultural humility.

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Overcoming Violence against Trans Community

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Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender activist and columnist for the Bay Area Reporter, to recognize the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester on November 28, 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts. For many in the LGBTQ+ community, Rita’s murder exposed the lack of media coverage and particularly, culturally sensitive and respectful media coverage that takes place when transgender members of our community lose their lives to violent hate crimes. The communal anger and grief that was experienced led to a candlelight vigil that was attended by 250 participants.  Eighteen years later, Transgender Day of Remembrance events occur on a national and international basis on November 20th each year, and often include a candlelight procession or vigil within the program.

On November 16th, 2017, San Mateo County Pride Center held San Mateo County’s second annual Transgender Day of Remembrance event. Transgender Day of Remembrance serves multiple purposes– this is a day for folks to come together and publicly mourn the lives of transgender siblings whose lives have been taken from us in brutal acts of violence and hatred, and a day for us to find strength within each other to mobilize and combat the violence our transgender community disproportionally faces. Transgender Day of Remembrance in San Mateo County included community speakers Alyss Swanson, Lexi Shimmers and Dr. Jei Africa, along with altars commemorating the lives of transgender siblings lost in 2016 and 2017, followed by a silent candlelight procession down El Camino Real to Central Park in San Mateo. During the procession, 25 participants traded their candles for signs that were each hand-painted by community members the afternoon prior with the names and ages of the lives we’ve lost in 2017. You can view the memorial we created for 2017 in the slideshow on this blog.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance: Join Us In Commemorating Trans Lives Lost To Violence

You are invited to join us for Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event that aims to commemorate our transgender community members that have lost their lives due to brutal and unconscionable anti-transgender violence.TransgenderDayRememberance2017_DF-1

This event aims to raise public awareness of violence that transgender people face that often goes underreported or incorrectly reported in the news media, with those who are mentioned often misgendered or “deadnamed,” a term used to describe when a transgender person is referred to the name they were given at birth and no longer use. Transgender Day of Remembrance allows us to come together and publicly mourn our transgender siblings as well as find strength within each other as we mobilize to combat anti-transgender violence.

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November 20 – What’s the T: Being Trans in the Peninsula


Trans Pride Flag Waving

Transgender Pride Flag

On November 20th between 6pm – 8pm at the San Mateo County Pride Center please join the San Mateo County LGBTQ+ community at this community dialogue event recognizing the trans community in the Peninsula. 

In collaboration with Peninsula Conflict and Resolution Center and the Pride Initiative, the Pride Center will be holding a dialogue series to discuss transgender experiences and issues right here in the county. This event will be a starting point for local action around the issues that our transgender and gender nonconforming neighbors are facing.

For any questions about this event, contact Fern Farley at Fern.farley@sanmateopride.org. 

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