Friday, July 19, 2013

Teaming Up For Mental Health

On July 18, Entertainment & Media Communication Institute of the Entertainment Industries Council (eic), in collaboration with National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and KTVU as well as other media and community partners, sponsored the “Picture This: Mental Health in the San Francisco Bay Area” forum, held in Oakland, California.  The focus of the gathering was to bring the media, entertainment industry, and mental health community together to talk about media portrayals of mental health and related issues.  Kavoos Bassiri (RAMS CEO) and Christine Tam, LCSW (RAMS Director of Peer Counseling Services) were invited to participate in this forum.  The forum’s goal is to work together (media and mental health community) in partnership in order to have positive, accurate, diverse, respectful & personal stories of mental health be portrayed in the media.  Representatives from the media, entertainment industry, state & local community partners, mental health professionals, and consumer advocates held roundtable work groups and engaged in discussions to come up with action items on which they plan to work together to promote mental health and stories on mental/behavioral health in the media.  In moving forward, there are plans to publish findings and recommendations from this forum to inform other media outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally on changing social perception on mental/behavioral health and related issues. 

You can check out RAMS CEO being interviewed by KTVU's Dave Clark:



Click HERE if you are unable to view the video above.

Click HERE to view video clips from the forum and interviews with other organizations and representatives, and follow @MediaTEAMup on Twitter and visit TeamUp online!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Introducing the Awardees of the Inaugural 2013 Staff Awards for Outstanding Service

RAMS is thrilled to announce the awardees of the first annual Awards for Outstanding Service!

To be considered for this recognition, anyone working at RAMS may be nominated by anyone within the agency. A diverse committee representing staff and management personnel reviewed all nomination submissions.

The awardees were announced during the July 2013 all-staff meeting, at which they were presented with a certificate. Awardees were also given a cash prize.


Consumer/Community Advocate Award: This award honors an individual who has been an outstanding voice for consumer empowerment by promoting client centered decision-making & change, access to information & resources, and creating relationships that foster hope, safety, and a sense of self-efficacy. S/he is mindful not only of consumer needs, but also of the needs of the larger community. S/he goes above and beyond the “call of duty”, outside her/his regular responsibilities to advocate on the behalf of the organization, consumers, their communities, and the “cause” at large.

Awardee: Colleen Wong, MA
Colleen Wong is a bilingual and bicultural Mental Health Consultant working at the RAMS Fu Yau Project. During her six years at RAMS, she has positively established trusting and effective relationships with child care sites and the community. In her nomination, an example was given in which she worked with an extremely challenging child care site and how she has fostered confidence in both teachers and parents by modeling effective techniques with children as well as offering training and psycho-education. This has led to many successes including children gaining a more stable environment, parents finding jobs through her workshops, and sites enhancing their infrastructure. In her nomination, she is remarked as having “opened up conversation [at sites]. No topic is off the table.” In addition to the remarkable work at Fu Yau, Colleen also volunteers her time at the Boys and Girls Club and the Asian American Donor Program. She has shown “admirable efforts in serving her community... Colleen makes her goal very clear and that is to create a beautiful world for our children through patience, empathy, and understanding.”


Excellence in Service & Cultural Competency Award: This award honors a skilled & compassionate individual who exemplifies the values and ideals of RAMS’ mission in her/his work & interaction with staff, consumers, and the community. S/he has given superior, sustained commitment to quality services, along with unwavering dedication to serve the organization (including other staff, consumers & their communities) with professionalism, integrity, respect, and humility. This individual is not only skilled at what s/he does, but also values diversity, is able to conduct self-assessments, manage & embrace the dynamics of difference, acquire new cultural knowledge, and adapt to the cultural context of the people s/he serves. S/he has a lasting positive impact on the organization and the communities.

Awardee: Paul Walsh, MA
Paul Walsh is a Mental Health Counselor at the Broderick Street Adult Residential Facility where he exhibits great enthusiasm for clinical work and very motivated to help clients in any way he can. Having started with Broderick in 2009, he quickly established connections and therapeutic alliances with clients including those who may be “difficult to reach”. His warm, compassionate, and non-judgmental relationship style fosters trust and, through it all, he continually demonstrates self-reflection and a mindful intention in all his work. In his nomination, there were two specific examples that clearly demonstrated his extraordinary efforts in providing care to clients, one being a case in which he providing instrumental support in working with a client get reconnected to the family after being estranged for many years, and then organizing an out-of-state visit. It is noted that his deep care and willingness to go “above and beyond” is just the standard for him and that he has made “profound impact on the BSARF program and in the lives of the clients we serve”.


Rising Star/Leadership Award: The award honors an individual that has shown exceptional promise in leadership by demonstrating their skills within the organization and our communities. S/he has shown accomplishments in improving the operations of a program, the administrative/supportive functions, and/or the lives of consumers and community we serve using an effective and efficient approach. This individual leads the way with fresh energy, strong ability, and steadfast commitment.

Awardee: Christine Tam, MA, LCSW
Christine Tam is the Director of the RAMS Peer Counseling Services and is a bilingual & bicultural licensed clinical social worker with many years of experience providing dedicated & culturally competent services to underserved communities. She has shown leadership in workforce development services at RAMS, specifically the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate, Outpatient Clinic Peer Counseling Services, and the recent transition of Empowerment Services. In her nomination, she was remarked as having led and trained those interested in and providing peer counseling services to a higher level of development, both professionally and personally. She has navigated Outpatient Clinic personnel and collaborated with program directors in designing, implementing, and supporting the creation of the Peer Counseling Services component. Christine has demonstrated exceptional advocacy skills having been involved in peer services and workforce development sector in the larger community. Prior to her current role, she also served in RAMS roles of Mental Health Counselor and clinical supervisor, as well as clinical consultant for Asian Pacific Islander Family Resources Network. Also, in her nomination, she is remarked to be “continue[ing] to help enhance the lives of consumers and the community (including RAMS community) with enthusiasm, steady, quiet and positive energy”, and exhibiting perseverance and effective problem-solving skills. She has over and over again shown exceptional promise in leadership!

Congratulations to the awardees!  RAMS is excited to be able to have this annual recognition.