(Published in 2016)
"Walk In Our Shoes"
Stigma and fear of discrimination are serious obstacles for people seeking help for mental health challenges. The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is working to reduce stigma associated with mental illnesses by de-bunking myths and educating 9-13 year olds about mental wellness. The Walk In Our Shoes campaign utilizes real stories from teens and young adults to teach youth about mental health challenges and mental wellness.
In March 2016, Fresno County hosted three performances impacting over 700 youth & educators. The impact had positive outcomes for everyone involved.
The Selma Enterprise newspaper wrote a great article about the experience. The estimated circulation for the newspaper is 4,681.
Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health produced a short documentary video about the visit.
KFSN – TV, ABC 30 produced a short piece regarding the visit as well. They have an estimated audience reach of 84,326 people.
“The Art in My Recovery” - Art Hop
On May 5, 2016 the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health in collaboration with the Fresno Arts Council hosted, “The Art in My Recovery” Art Hop in downtown Fresno. Local artists from throughout Fresno County submitted their artwork for exhibition. The theme was well received by all who attended and coincided with May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Art Hop was promoted by KMPH Fox 26, Great Day morning show where Karen Markland promoted the event as well as bringing additional awareness to May is Mental Health Matters month. Local artists displayed their work including a musician who played his music. The event was catered by Alta Monte Catering, staffed by tenants in supportive housing.
The Directing Change Program & Film Contest was excited to partner with teen singer/songwriter and bullying-prevention activist, Meredith O’Connor.
Through this partnership the program was able to offer 4 performances in Fresno County Schools on January 19th. The 45 minute assembly style presentation includes a musical performance from Meredith during which she shared her personal struggles with bullying and mental health, as well as screenings of Directing Change films, a Q&A session, and suicide prevention & mental health information and educational resources.
Meredith is a singer and rising teen pop star who recently toured the world speaking to youth about her own experience overcoming bullying and other obstacles. Meredith rose to fame when her first song “Celebrity” went viral on YouTube seeing over two million views within the first two months of its release. It became a radio favorite, and increased her fan base first established by her anti bullying platform. Her music encourages teens to be inclusive and tolerant of one another’s differences and her anti bullying songs and music videos such as “The Game” and “Just The Thing” have changed the lives of victims of bullying. Meredith now dedicates her time to touring schools throughout the nation advocating for mental health and is excited to partner with the Directing Change program.
A short documentary of Meredith’s visit was created to share her impact on Fresno County.
The Perinatal Program provides support for pregnant and postpartum women for outreach and early identification of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders through screening, assessment, and referrals to treatment. We provide short-term mental health and supportive services to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants, which may begin at any point during a woman’s pregnancy and continue through the infant’s first year of life. These services include individual therapy, as well as various therapeutic support groups including ‘Infant Bonding and Attachment’, ‘DBT skills’, ‘Seeking Safety’, ‘Grief Support’, and various topical education/support groups, all of which are designed to support each woman’s wellness and recovery.
In addition to therapeutic support, women seeking supportive services through the Perinatal Program have access to support from a Public Health Nurse who monitors the health and development of those women and their babies accessing services offered through the Perinatal Program. Medication support services that include one of the leading Perinatal Psychiatrists in the U.S., a Nurse Practitioner, and a LVN are also available to women seeking supportive services through the Perinatal Program. Case Management services can also be provided to these women, based on their needs, as adjunctive support.
Therapeutic and supportive services for these women and their babies can be provided by Clinicians, Public Health Nurses, and Case Managers either in the office or as home-based services depending on the needs of these women as determined by Clinicians. Medication support services are only provided in the office.
By identifying and treating Perinatal and Postpartum mood disorders, prevention and early intervention services can be provided for these women at first onset of any symptoms of mental illness, and they can be provided supportive services by trained mental health staff who can support and stabilize the mother, as well as address attachment/bonding issues with the infant.
"Youth Empowerment Centers"
Blue Sky Youth Empowerment Centers Program is a MHSA (Mental Health Service Act), PEI (Prevention Early Intervention), non-profit program administered by Kings View in collaboration with Fresno County Behavioral Health with a focus on youth and their families in Fresno Communities. Since April, 2011, we have facilitated curriculum, support groups and made numerous mental health and community referrals. When called upon, we assist youth and their guardian/parents with accessing mental health resources.
The Youth Empowerment Center (YEC) meets with youth in their natural settings and establishes trust, hope, stability, education, and support in the areas of mental health in terms and understandings that are age appropriate. YEC co-locates with other agencies and organizations targeted to reach the unserved and underserved children, youth, and adolescent populations in Fresno County. The services provided to this population offer wellness and recovery activities that include, but are not limited to education, socialization, life-skills training, and other peer support activities.
Our goal is to provide information and education on life skills, mental health issues and resources to unserved and underserved youth ages 10-18. Our target populations are but not limited to the Southeast Asian, Native American, African-American, and Latino youth. Our goal is to build leadership, increase hope and healthy and positive decision making within all youth in Fresno County.
Recently three of our groups created videos for the Directing Change, Each Mind Matters video contest. The contest focuses on bringing awareness to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness as well as suicide prevention efforts.