Written by Natalie Andrade, Mental Health First Aid
Philippine Consulate’s Mental Health First Aid Training on January 27th.
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) was invited to the Philippine Consulate on Saturday, January 27 to provide a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to consulate staff. The Philippine Consulate provides services to Filipino Nationals in the San Francisco Bay Area. The day was filled with rich conversation about the struggles of feeling homesick and how this can affect one’s mental health, which is a taboo and stigmatized topic in the Filipino community. A participant stated that she was able to feel a connection to the information provided due to the cultural piece both instructors integrated in the course.
The word “homesick” is defined as the experience or longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it. When people leave their home countries, the sense of loss and homesickness is commonly felt. Homesickness is the word used by Philippine Consul General, Hon. Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. in his opening speech during the training to staff to describe the challenges they, as a community, often face when living away from home.
A portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.
Millions of fans mourn the tragic loss of K-Pop star, Kim Jong-Hyun, better known as Jonghyun, who died by suicide on Monday at the age of 27. Jonghyun was best known as the lead singer of K-Pop band, SHINee which rose to fame after the release of its debut EP, Replay, in 2008. As well as being a singer and accomplished dancer, Jonghyun played a large part in the group’s song writing and production. He had also made headlines for speaking out on issues of the government’s education policy and in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
Jonghyun was considered one of the most talented and well- rounded artists in the K-Pop music industry. According to SM Entertainment, the singer’s management company, “Jonghyun is the best artist who loved music more than anyone else, enjoyed the stage, and loved to communicate with fans through his music. We will always remember you.”
Suicide continues to be a prevalent public health issue primarily due to the constant stigmatization of mental health. A petition on change.org was created in honor of Jonghyun asking for more mental health support for artists in the entertainment industry. The petition explicitly asks for all entertainment industries to make a plan or program to monitor mental health in their employees as well as ensuring that the program would not be used against them and harm their careers. This petition, once reaching its goal of 300,000 signatures is expected to be delivered to Entertainment Industries and the South Korean Government.
Hopefully this petition will increase conversations about mental health and suicide prevention as well as recognition of its importance in saving a life.
Between 2010-2015, males comprised 73.8% of suicides reported in San Mateo County. While men aged 25 to 54 years old account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the U.S., they are also the least likely to seek any kind of support or treatment.
Check out ManTherapy.org which was created by men and for men (and their loved ones) to combat the problematic idea that mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness, and to share mental health information with the men in your life. #BeThe1To reach out and support the men in your life. #SMCPrevention.
To see more of the new Know The Signs posters visit these links: English & Spanish
1 in 4 adults in America struggles with a mental health challenge. The Know the Signs Campaign dedicates itself to increasing knowledge and awareness of warning signs, how to talk about suicide, and accessing local resources for support. In a collaborative effort engaging experts and community stakeholders, the overall look and feel of the campaign has now been updated in order to further its mission.
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is committed to wellness, recovery, and resilience in behavioral health services. In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, ODE created a calendar of events devoted to suicide prevention and awareness. Show your support by attending an upcoming event!
Broadway by the Bay will be presenting NEXT TO NORMAL a contemporary musical addressing several mental health issues such as ethics in modern psychiatry, mental illness, grief and lose, drug abuse, and the power of love and sheds light on a few subject matters still considered taboo in many communities and allows the opportunity to open the conversation about mental illness and its impact on families.
NEXT TO NORMAL is a brave and breathtaking musical that the New York Times calls “… a feel everything musical.” The contemporary musical follows the journey of the Goodman family. While on the surface, suburban parents Dan and Diana, and their children Natalie and Gabi appear a “perfect loving family”, beneath the surface shows how far two parents will go to keep themselves sane and their family’s world intact.
NEXT TO NORMAL is running August 11 – 27, 2017 at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City. For more information visit BroadwayBytheBay.org or check out the flyer.
May Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) Kick Off Event was a huge success with over 100 people in attendance. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), along with other organizations serving San Mateo County, led the planning of this event and many have organized a variety of events throughout the month of May. The “Be the One” slogan is this year’s MHAM theme and the primary goal is to raise awareness and reduce stigma against individuals with mental health or substance use conditions and learn how to be the one to help.
This year’s Kick Off event consisted of resource tables, a “Be the One” photo booth, art display, community artwork and a digital storytelling panel. Individuals with lived experience with mental health and/or substance abuse conditions shared their stories through a short video they created that included any combination of video, sound, music, animation, photographs, and other images of their choosing. Digital stories are an effective means of shedding light on important social issues including stigma and empowering individuals, as they share their personal journey.
Following is a list with links to view the digital stories that were screened in this year’s kick off event:
Overall, the the kick off event was a humbling and inspiring experience as participants had the opportunity to listen to speakers who shared their personal stories with behavioral health conditions and also offer their voice through community artwork and their pledges to reduce stigma at the Be the One photobooth.
ODE thanks all the organizations and planning committee members for the work they put into organizing a very successful Kick Off event, and the events throughout the month of May, as well as all the community members and providers who came out in support!
Written by: Martha Gonzalez