Skip to main content Skip to site navigation

Spring 2019
May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Wellness Matters Newsletter

Related Content

Article Scott Gilman, MSA, CBHE

From the Director’s Desk

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month and it marks my fifth month with BHRS. It is an exciting time as BHRS and our partners will be hosting a variety of interesting events aimed at reducing stigma and increasing awareness of mental health and substance abuse needs in our county. I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet each of you at one of these events, or over the summer as I continue my orientation to this wonderful community.


Stories of Hope
Inspirational Stories of Recovery

The sharing of a personal story can be self-reflective, educational, de-stigmatizing and incredibly empowering. The following stories of hope, resilience and recovery are from those who have experienced mental health and substance use issues. These individuals are sharing their stories in the hope that others will be inspired to seek help, and join them on the path to recovery.


2019 Consumer Hall of Fame Award
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission

Each year, the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission recognizes individuals who have found their way to a path of wellness and recovery from a mental health condition and have been active in the consumer movement to better the lives of other consumers in the county.  This year, the commission recognized Daric Desautel, a San Mateo County native with a background in education, advocacy, and social justice.

Graduate receiving award

Empowering Consumer and Family Member Voices
Lived Experience Academy Graduates 14 New Speakers

The BHRS Lived Experience Academy is a 10-hour training program that facilitates the development of consumers and family members as empowered leaders in San Mateo County who can represent the voices and interests of all BHRS clients, serve as recovery ambassadors and role models, and help reduce stigma.  Participants learn how to share their personal stories through inspirational, insightful and authentic testimonies, and demonstrate that with the right treatment, services and supports, many can and do recover.

Article Shirley Chu, Supervising Mental Health Clinician, Total Wellness
teaching someone how to use a medical device

Holistic Care Approach Improves Client Outcomes
Total Wellness Integrates Mental and Physical Health Care

On average, people with behavioral health issues die 25 years earlier than their peers. The shortened life span is often attributed to less access and more barriers to obtaining preventive and general health care, including the challenges of navigating and coordinating between separate general health and behavioral health systems;

Article Chyvonne S. Washington, African American Community Initiative Co-Chair
musicians  perform

It Takes a Village: Building Strong Black Families
Celebrating Black History Month

The February Black History Month event and health fair – “It Takes A Village: Building Strong Black Families” – focused on empowering African American families to build resiliency and coping methods for dealing with family stress and racism, educating our youth and families about managing law enforcement encounters, and to celebrate Black History Month.  Hosted by San Mateo County’s BHRS African American Community Initiative (AACI), the East Palo Alto event saw over 50 attendees. 

Article Charo Martinez, BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity
Maria Cuellas

Health Ambassador Making a Difference
Learning, Recovery & Service

Nearly 30 people have graduated from the BHRS Health Ambassador Program (HAP) since its inception in 2014. The program, dedicated to offering public education workshops geared towards empowering the community, provides residents with the ability to take the skills they learn and become a voice and support for their community. Health Ambassadors help link individuals to care by spreading awareness about BHRS resources and services and in turn helps BHRS better understand the community’s needs.    

Article Doris Estremera, MHSA ManagerProp 63
MHSA logo

Mental Health Services Act Update
New Innovation Funding Cycle

MHSA Steering Committee 

The MHSA Steering Committee meets twice a year to make recommendations to the planning, funding and services development for MHSA.  During a recent meeting the following, the items were included for comment and approval:


Blog & Events
Upcoming Events and Blog News

May 18 | Phoenix Garden Project Volunteer Day

Orchard Care Day!  Help us with the installation of tree cages; continued planting, composting, watering; and work on pathways at 222 Paul Scannell Drive, San Mateo.  More info and additional volunteer dates in June, July and August.