Tag Archives: StarVista

Mental Health Monday: Events Reminder #2

Event Reminders!

Mental Health Awareness Month 2019 is now on its second week!

Here’s a friendly reminder of all the exciting events happening this week!

Mon, 5/6 6pm StarVista Crisis Hotline Volunteer Panel 
San Mateo Public Library – Oak Room, 55 W 3rd Ave, SM
Details: The StarVista Crisis Center’s volunteers and staff will come to answer questions about the hotline and what it is like to be a volunteer! Community members will learn about the Crisis Center’s services and how to get involved. 
Languages: English
Contact: Karina Chapa | karina.chapa@star-vista.org

Tue, 5/7 1pm Lived Experience Academy- Hearing Stories of Mental Health From Those Who’ve Lived It
Skyline College Campus – Building 4 Room 4301
Detail: Panel of lived experience speakers will talk about their personal experience with mental health. 
Language: English
Contact: Perry Chen | chenp@smccd.edu

Tue, 5/7 6pm Book Talk with Francine Toder, Ph.D., Inward Traveler: 51 Ways to Explore the World Mindfully​
SSF Main Library
840 W. Orange Ave., SSF
Details: Francine Toder, Ph.D., psychologist and writer, will share some of the 51 ways to explore the world mindfully from her new book, Inward Traveler. Learn how Eastern philosophy and practices can enhance your travels. Find out how to energize or quiet yourself on the road. Discover how your personality and time-perspective affects travel, with others or solo. Get tips to supercharge your five senses, on any journey. Find out how a distracted mind can boost creativity—on trips of any length. Come away with new strategies for traveling mindfully.     Francine Toder, Ph.D. is an emeritus faculty member of California State University, Sacramento, a clinical psychologist and writer. She is the author of 3 other books including most recently, The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) After Sixty. Her writing appears in magazines, professional journals, newspapers, and online magazines such as Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Next Avenue.
Language: English
Contact: Stacy Lein | lein@plsinfo.org

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The S- Word Film Screening and Panel Opens Up Dialogue About Suicide and Stigma

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Last Wednesday, on September 19th, over 100 people attended San Mateo County’s first ever S- Word Film Screening and Panel hosted at the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Center in collaboration with San Mateo Union High School District, Star-Vista and the Office of Diversity and Equity. 

The S- Word is a documentary following a survivor of a suicide attempt as she embarks on a mission to document the stories of fellow survivors and document their stories of insight, humor, and courage. She discovers a national community rising to transform personal struggles into action.

During the panel discussion, audience members were able to ask questions about suicide anonymously that were displayed on the projector for the panelists to answer. Questions included “how do I connect with others that are considering suicide” and “what’s the best time or age to talk about this topic?” 

Sylvia Tang, Office of Diversity and Equity, Co- Chair of Suicide Prevention Committee, and Co- Coordinator of this event states,  

“I am so thankful that we had an engaged audience who asked thoughtful questions and wanted more community screenings of the S-Word. This film helped start a dialogue about suicide; this is such an important first step in suicide prevention because it raises awareness and reduces stigma around suicide.  We hope more community members and agencies join the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention Committee because we need everyone to help prevent suicide in our schools and greater community.”  

Special thanks to all the panelists: 

And all who tabled including:

This event was co-partnered by StarVista, The Office of Diversity and Equity, and San Mateo Union High School District.

Empowering Youth to be Change Agents


HAP-Y Cohort

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.

HAP-Y Cohort

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 hapy@star-vista.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

StarVista Launches New Youth Website With Peer to Peer Chat Services

Written by Nicole Marshall, Youth Outreach Coordinator

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           As of January 2018, StarVista, a San Mateo County community based mental health provider, is excited to announce the launching of its fully renovated youth website, OnYourMind.net. This represents a huge success as it represents an expansion of services, and is also a win for the teen volunteers who run the site and have advocated for the changes. The site focuses on mental health and suicide prevention education, offering teen blogs and instant peer to peer chat. Teens are encouraged to seek direct support on a wide range of topics including relationships, stress, bullying, depression, identity, and health. New to the site are several redesigned interactive features: blogs allow visitors of the site to ask questions and leave comments, and new chat software allows seamless connection to fully trained teen counselors Monday through Thursday from 4:30PM to 9:30PM. The best part? OnYourMind.net and its chat services are now completely mobile accessible. Read more

Happy 50th Anniversary to the StarVista Crisis Center!



Picture (Left to Right): Sylvia Tang, Narges Dillon, Stephanie Weisner,  Jei Africa

On September 22, the  StarVista Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center celebrated 50 years of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to San Mateo County. The event involved recognition of the Crisis Center’s volunteers, staff and community partners.

The San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity is honored to continue to partner with StarVista on suicide prevention efforts.

Visit our previous blog post to learn more about the services provided by the Crisis Center.

Cheers to 50 more years!