Tuesday, December 8, 2015

How to Raise Independent Children with Great Social Emotional Skills

Today's guest post is from Yi Zhao, LMFT, who serves as Mental Health Consultant at the RAMS Fu Yau Project which provides prevention and early intervention mental health services to the family resource centers and childcare community that cares for children, ages 0-5 years old.

The book “How to Raise Independent Children with Great Social Emotional Skills” was born on SF MUNI. I was approached by a publisher in China to write a parenting book to address the concerns by Chinese parents— young children nowadays are very dependent and have poor social skills. Over the past four-years at RAMS Fu Yau Project, I have been working with young children in Chinatown and having weekly conversation with my mentor, Christina Shea, LMFT (RAMS Deputy Chief and Director of Clinical Services) about parenting, early childhood education, immigration and acculturation.

Thanks to these inspiring conversation and the precious experiences of working with young children and their families provided by Fu Yau Project, I actually have a lot to think, process, talk about and write about. Somehow, I am very productive when I am in movement, maybe because of my educational background in Somatic Psychology, so writing on the go- on MUNI- became my hobby. What I wrote, I believe many of my RAMS colleagues know very well, so in a sense, I am writing down the collective wisdom of Fu Yau Project. I also integrated Drama therapy, Play therapy, Somatic Psychotherapy, Expressive Art therapy, and Mindfulness practice into my writing. To me, the process of writing this book, is an embodied process. This book is written in simplified Chinese. I welcome critiques and reviews. You can feel free to purchase the book and/or share your comments on Amazon.com.cn and Dangdang.com. Thank you!

-Yi Zhao, MA, LMFT 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate ADVANCED COURSE -- Now Accepting Applications for the Winter 2015-2016 Cohort

RAMS is excited to announce that the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program is now accepting applications for its NEW 8-week Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Advanced Course, with classes set to begin on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016!

Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program (part of the Division of Peer-Based Services at RAMS) provides training for consumers of behavioral health services or their family members who are interested in becoming peer counselors/peer specialists in the field of community behavioral health. In addition to the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Entry Level Course that is currently offered, RAMS has designed its Advanced Course to support and educate individuals who are providing, or have recently provided peer-based services to clients in the community (or possess relevant training, volunteer and/or educational experience), and would like to obtain more specialized peer counseling training and professional development opportunities.

We are looking for individuals who: 

  • Are at least 18 years of age and a resident of San Francisco, 
  • Have successfully completed at least a High School education or GED, and 
  • Are able to attend 8 weeks of classes, which will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays (3PM-6PM). 
  • This program is funded by MHSA through San Francisco Behavioral Health Services. As such, the course is targeted to individuals with personal experience with the Community Behavioral Health System of Care and family members. 
  • Individuals with current or past work experience, education, and/or training (including volunteer and advocacy work) in the peer counseling field are highly encouraged to apply 

 Application and Course Timeline: 

  • Friday, November 13th: Application Release 
  • Thursday, November 19th & Tuesday, December 1st: Optional Program Open Houses 
  • Wednesday, December 16th @ 5PM: Application Submission Deadline 
  • Week of January 4th, 2016: Notification of Application Status 
  • Friday, January 15th, 2016: Registration Forms Due for Accepted Applicants 
  • Tuesday, January 26th, 2016: First Day of Class 
  • Thursday, March 17th, 2016: Last Day of Class & Graduation 

Materials are available for download at: http://www.ramsinc.org/peer.php.

Please feel free to contact Program Coordinator, Kristin Snell, at (415) 579-3021 x102, or via email at kristinsnell@ramsinc.org should you have any questions or would like any additional information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Community Voices: Stories From The Frontline

All RAMS staff, interns, and trainees are invited to this presentation & discussion at the 10th Annual Evelyn Lee Diversity and Cultural Competency Training:

Community Voices: Stories from the Frontline 
Friday, November 13th, 9am – 12pm 
State Building, Milton Marks Auditorium, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco

This presentation will describe grassroots efforts for community and capacity building, strategies for advocacy and community empowerment, and engagement with leaders and legislative groups.

PRESENTERS:  Gordon Chin, MSW, and Robert L. Okin, MD

Robert Okin, MD was chief of service at SFGH Department of Psychiatry; professor of clinical psychiatry at UCSF; and vice chair of the UCSF, School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, where he oversaw the development of crucial services for San Francisco’s most acute & chronic patients with mental health conditions, including the SFGH Department of Psychiatry’s culturally focused inpatient units and Emergency Department Case Management Program (which received the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems’ Safety Net Award in 1999). He has been quoted numerous times in the New York Times, was featured on ABC’s 20/20, and in 2009, he received the American Psychiatric Association’s prestigious Human Rights Award.

Gordon Chin, MSW is the founding Executive Director of San Francisco’s Chinatown Community Development Center, serving in this position until his retirement in October 2011. He has been active in San Francisco’s Chinatown community for over four decades, and has served on many community and civic boards including the national boards of the Center for Community Change, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, and the SF Public Utilities Commission. Mr. Chin was selected as one of six inaugural fellows for the Fannie Mae Foundation’s James A. Johnson Community Fellows Award, and was one of the community development leaders honored at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Silver Anniversary with a Mike Sviridoff Leadership Award.

If you have any questions about this training, please feel free to contact Angela Tang at angelatang@ramsinc.org or (415) 800-0699.

To view the flyer below, right-click and select any option to "Open".

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hire-Ability: A Light Of The Village

The Mental Health Services Act - San Francisco held its 5th Annual Award Ceremony at the Scottish Rite Masonic Auditorium on October 15, 2015. It was a thoughtfully coordinated event that included stories and poetry from those mental health consumers with lived experience, as well as delightful musical entertainment from pianist, Mr. Walter Earl, and beatbox vocalist, Mr. Carlos Aguirre. With the tagline “It Takes a Village to Recover,” the event celebrated the recovery of over 100 consumers, each of whom received an Achievement in Recovery Award.

It was a big year for RAMS Hire-Ability Vocational Services, which saw its i-Ability Vocational IT Training program receive two distinctions. A graduate of i-Ability, was honored with the MHSA Consumer of the Year Award. His inspiring speech echoed the award ceremony’s sentiment, as he thanked those who were key to his recovery, including RAMS, AA, and his community behavioral health providers.

The i-Ability Vocational IT Training program also received the MHSA Team of the Year Award. The program’s entire staff was welcomed onstage to accept this award, including IT trainers, counselors, peer staff members, and management. RAMS i-Ability provides on-the-job vocational IT training to consumers through its partnership with SF Dept. of Public Health - Behavioral Health Services (BHS), where i-Ability serves as a critical component of the IT operations at BHS.

The i-Ability program will begin recruiting in January 2016 
for IT training cohorts that will begin in April 2016.  
For more information, please contact Nancy Gobaleza, Intake Coordinator
at 415-282-9675 Ext. 207 or nancygobaleza@hire-ability.org

Friday, October 2, 2015

New Director at RAMS CAAP Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services

We are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Anjuli T. Clopper, LPC, NCC as the new Director of RAMS CAAP Counseling and Pre-Vocational Services (CCS).

Ms. Clopper has most recently been (since June 2015) the Program Coordinator with CCS Workforce Development Department (WDD). She worked directly with staff to develop and implement the Jobs Plus and On the Job Assessment programs. She also serves as a liaison between RAMS and the Personal Assistance to Employment Services (PAES) at the Human Services Agency. Although it has been just a few months, Ms. Clopper has already established a strong connection with PAES and WDD management and staff members as well as the clients. She has also developed a great understanding and appreciation of the CAAP system and how it supports the population most in need of services in San Francisco.

Ms. Clopper is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Washington, DC and has experience working with consumers with serious mental health conditions at the largest non-profit agency in Washington, DC before relocating to San Francisco and working at RAMS. Ms. Clopper holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Certificate in Secondary School Counseling. Her clinical passion and experience lies within the field of substance abuse and trauma informed care. She has led several trainings and has been a group facilitator with the group module, Trauma Recovery Empowerment Module (TREM). She is invested in supporting and empowering those who suffer from mental health issues to fulfill their personal goals as it best suites their lives. Ms. Clopper is taking the Director position effective October 1, 2015 and Dr. Shyam Kotagal is transitioning out of this position, while we’re actively recruiting for the open Coordinator positions. We are truly grateful for Dr. Kotagal’s years of devoted service to RAMS and our community.

Please join us in welcoming and congratulating Ms. Anjuli T. Clopper to her new leadership appointment as the Director of CAAP Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services.

You may contact Anjuli T. Clopper, LPC, NCC at RAMS by telephone at 415-558-1391 and/or email by email at anjuliclopper@ramsinc.org or anjuli.clopper@sfgov.org.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Introducing: The RAMS Peer Internship Program

RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services is very excited to announce the inaugural Peer Internship 2015-2016. The Peer Internship Program is with the “Division of Peer- Based Services” for individuals with lived experience who are a consumer of behavioral health services, a former consumer, a family member of a consumer, and/or currently a peer provider working for a community agency providing behavioral health services.

The Internship Program offers a collaborative learning – peer supported environment, in which Peer Interns work with other Peer Practitioners throughout the 9-month program. Peer Interns will receive weekly supervision and also attend at least two formal trainings per month provided by RAMS for additional professional development. The Internship Program also provides weekly group supervision from a Peer Supervisor, as well as ongoing individual supervision from a site supervisor.

The Peer Internship Program is a 9-month, 20 hours/week, paid ($12.25/hour) under RAMS “Division of Peer-Based Services”.

Please check it out and share with those interested in your network. For questions, please feel free to contact us at 415-579-3021 (ask for Miguel Leyva at Ext. 107) or email us at peerinternship@ramsinc.org.

  • APPLICATION DUE DATE: October 2, 2015 by 5:00pm 
  • Notification of Application Status: Week of October 19th 
  • Registration Forms Due Date: October 28, 2015 
  • Internship Start Date: November 2, 2015 
Click HERE to download the application.

Thank you for your interest in the Peer Internship Program!

To view the flyer below, right-click and select any option to "Open".  Click HERE to download the flyer. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Six Seasons of Summer Bridge

Today's guest post is from Danni Biondini, MA, Behavioral Health Counselor at RAMS who also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Summer Bridge program, which is an 8-week summer mentoring program for San Francisco high school students, designed "to promote awareness of psychological well-being and foster interest in the helping professions". 


RAMS has successfully graduated its sixth cohort of future mental health professionals!

Summer Bridge held its graduation at the CA Institute of Integral Studies on Thursday, July 30th. The event was well-attended by the 27 graduates, their families/friends, and RAMS staff.

This event celebrated the culmination of this year's Summer Bridge, our 8-week summer program which introduces youth to the field of psychology. Funded by the Mental Health Services Act, the program recruits SF Unified School District youth from underrepresented backgrounds for an intensive introduction to the mental health field, exploring topics such as: Identity, Mental Health, Education, Helping Professions, Therapy, and Self-Care. As one parent noted at the graduation, he has "never seen a program that includes so much learning and so much fun."

Staff bring in guest speakers, lead interactive activities, and take the participants on field trips. We returned to some of our most popular field trip sites, including the Fort Miley Ropes Course, the GLBT History Museum, RAMS Child Youth & Family Outpatient Clinic, SF State University, and Psychiatric Emergency Services at General Hospital. A new addition to this year's program was a scavenger hunt to different agencies throughout the city. Participants broke into three teams to see who could visit the most agencies within the allotted time. Participants cited this as a highlight of the program! (And the winning team was rewarded with 'highly-coveted' RAMS glass water bottles.)

Summer Bridge Mentors (L-R): Sophia Padilla, Erica Kan, and Jemel Borromeo

This year's participants were a thoughtful, engaged group of young people. About half of them will be going to college in the Fall, hopefully to study Psychology, and the others will return to high school. After completing Summer Bridge, participants are invited to join theYouth Council, RAMS' youth advisory board.

We encourage participants to remain in contact with their mentors, as well as the Summer Bridge staff: Danni Biondini, MA; Ernest Brown, Ph.D.; and Heather Truschel, LPCC.  Looking forward to the future, we will be conducting research to follow the progress of our six cohorts. Additionally, in the coming months, we will be planning how to build on the success of the program.

(L-R): Ernest Brown, Ph.D., Summer Bridge Counselor; Heather Truschel, LPCC, Summer Bridge Counselor; Danni Biondini, M.A., Summer Bridge Coordinator; Yuka Hachiuma, LMFT, RAMS Child, Youth, & Family Services Clinic Program Director; Christina Shea, LMFT, RAMS Deputy Chief & Director of Clinical Services

Friday, July 31, 2015

Introducing the Awardees of the 2015 Staff Awards for Outstanding Service

RAMS is delighted to announce the awardees of the third annual Staff Awards for Outstanding Service!

To be considered for this recognition, anyone working at RAMS may be nominated by anyone within the agency. The awardees were announced during the July 2015 all-staff meeting; each awardee received a certificate and 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: Miguel Leyva
Mr. Miguel Levya is a bicultural & bilingual Tagalog-speaking peer services provider and advocate. In the nomination, Mr. Miguel Levya was described as being instrumental in the development and implementation of peer counseling services at the RAMS Adult/Older Adult Outpatient Services Clinic. In addition to creating a welcoming space through his tireless efforts, he brought different services and group activities such as gardening, movie & discussion, art, pet therapy, and community outings. Mr. Leyva supported clients by offering experiences to enhance overall wellness. By bearing the honorable title of Peer Counselor, he assumed the responsibility of an advocate by example. In accomplishing all that he has at RAMS, he has advocated for all consumers that recovery is possible. Mr. Levya currently serves as the Wellness/Drop-In Center Coordinator with the RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services.

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: Priscilla Kyu, MSW, ASW
Ms. Priscilla Kyu is a bicultural Behavioral Health Counselor/Trainer at the RAMS CalWORKs Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services program. In the nomination, it was noted that Ms. Kyu has demonstrated, during the course of her entire adult life, a dedication to underserved groups and individuals, and a clear understating of the importance of culturally sensitive services in the community. She exhibits humility, empathy, professionalism & diplomacy, and systemic thinking as well as is a steadfast advocate for culturally competent services and outreach. Ms. Kyu continuously exhibits her commitment to working with diverse groups of clients – and her natural ability to build rapport with clients and colleagues alike – has made her invaluable in our community.

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: Michael Silva, RN, NP
Mr. Michael Silva is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and provides services at various RAMS programs: Adult/Older Ddult Outpatient Services Clinic; Broderick Street Adult Residential Facility; and CAAP Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services. In the nomination, Mr. Silva is described as having provided instrumental leadership in clinical services. He leads with his humility, work ethics, and professionalism and is committed to RAMS and his work. Because of him, the different programs can operate smoothly, the staff members work closer as a team, and clients can leave RAMS happier and with more fulfilled lives.

Congratulations to the awardees! RAMS is pleased to be able to have this annual recognition for its staff.

Click HERE to view awardees from the previous year. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Director of RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services

It is with great pleasure that we announce the new appointment of Hasian T. Sinaga, as the Director for the newly established RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services, effective July 16, 2015.

With over 20 years of community services, Ms. Hasian Sinaga has significant experience in leadership roles of vocational and peer employment programs.  She has been serving as the RAMS Director of Vocational Services since 2010.  During her tenure, the RAMS Hire-Ability Vocational Services program has achieved great accomplishments such as outstanding reaccreditation surveys, commendable external program reviews, and the successful expansion & implementation of program services. To highlight, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) – the most valued recognition worldwide for high quality rehabilitation services and agency operations – noted that RAMS and Hire-Ability achieved the maximum 3-year accreditation during its most recent reaccreditation visit in 2014.  The CARF surveyors also made no recommendations which only three percent of CARF surveys achieve.  In addition, Ms. Sinaga led the program in RAMS’ successful transition of multiple, substantial vocational services contracts which has enhanced the agency’s continuum of vocational and peer services.  She is a strong advocate for consumer training & peer employment and consumer empowerment as well as promoter of the wellness & recovery principles.  Prior to RAMS, Ms. Sinaga has held positions as Director of Employment Services at Toolworks as well as worked at Kainos Home & Training Center and Family Housing & Adult Resources.  She is also an alumnus of Leadership San Francisco, an affiliate of the SF Chamber of Commerce, which aims to strengthen the leadership, communications, and collaborative skills of its participants.

Ms. Sinaga clearly demonstrates effective leadership skills, expertise in cultural competent vocational and peer employment programming, and a highly collaborative approach resulting in many strong partnerships with our consumer community, community agencies, and funders.  Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Ms. Hasian Sinaga to her new appointment at RAMS.  You may contact our Division of Peer-Based Services at (415) 579-3021.

Division Director Hasian Sinaga (center), pictured with Division of Peer Based Services management staff:                 Clinical Manager Richard Zevin, LCSW (left) and Operations Manager Nicole Ng (right)

About the RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services:
At the forefront of the peer provider profession, RAMS offers peer counseling, outreach, and education & training throughout San Francisco. Under the RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services, there are four components: (1) Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate, (2) Peer Counseling & Outreach Services, (3) Peer Internship Program, and (4) Wellness/Drop-In Center. RAMS programs uphold principles of wellness and recovery with an approach that is strengths-based and promotes a sense of empowerment, self-direction, and hope.

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Program Director at RAMS Asian Family Institute

It is with great pleasure that we announce the new appointment of Mary Poon, PsyD, as the RAMS Director of Asian Family Institute.  

Dr. Mary Poon is a licensed clinical psychologist and is bilingual in Cantonese and English.  She comes to this role with supervisory & management, teaching, and extensive clinical experience in providing culturally competent services in the community behavioral health and human services sector.  Dr. Poon has held various positions at RAMS, throughout the years, having initially worked as a Mental Health Counselor at the Outpatient Clinic before relocating to Macau where she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Macau, Department of Psychology and held faculty appointments at various other universities.  In addition, she continued to provide psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and adults in various agencies.  Upon Dr. Poon’s return to the San Francisco Bay Area, she reconnected with RAMS and most recently served in the role of Instructor/Coordinator of the RAMS Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate, a collaboration between RAMS and San Francisco State University, Department of Counseling.  She also served as a Behavioral Health Consultant at the RAMS PAES Counseling & Pre-Vocational Services program.  Dr. Poon has a deep commitment and unique expertise for serving the Asian & Pacific Islander community and diverse populations, having worked in the various community settings – outpatient, residential, school-based, juvenile justice – for 20 years.

Dr. Poon received her Doctorate of Psychology from The Wright Institute.  She is a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and also maintains her registration as a Clinical Psychologist with the Hong Kong Psychological Association in addition to her California licensure as a Psychologist.  Dr. Poon is a skilled clinician, possesses a sound understanding of the multiple systems and continuum of care, and exhibits exceptional organizational and management skills.

Please join us in welcoming and congratulating Dr. Mary Poon to her new appointment at RAMS Asian Family Institute.  You may contact Dr. Mary Poon at RAMS at (415) 668-5998 x26 or marypoon@ramsinc.org.

(L-R) Mary Poon, PsyD, Director of Asian Family Institute, with Christina Shea, LMFT, RAMS Deputy Chief & Director of Clinical Services

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate -- Now Accepting Applications for Fall 2015 Class

RAMS, in collaboration with SFSU, is excited to announce that the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2015 Class!

Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program provides a 12-week long training for consumers of behavioral health services or their family members who are interested in becoming peer counselors/peer specialists in the field of community behavioral health.  Having already successfully completed 10 cohort cycles, this program has had over 130 graduates, the majority of whom are actively engaging in work, volunteer, and educational opportunities as a direct result of taking the course.  This program is free of cost for the attendee, with books and materials included, and a modest stipend provided upon completion of the course.

We are looking for individuals who:
•    are at least 18 years old residents of San Francisco
•    have completed at least a high school level education or GED
•    are current or past consumers of behavioral health services and/or family members of consumers
•    are interested in helping others in the community behavioral health setting

Application and course timeline is as follows:
•    Monday, July 6th - Application Release
•    Tuesday, July 21st & Thursday, July 23rd - Optional Program Open Houses (see Flyer HERE for details)
•    Friday, August 7th @ 5:00pm - Application Deadline
•    Week of August 24th - Notification of Application Status
•    Friday, September 4th - Registration Forms Due for Accepted Applicants
•    Tuesday, September 15th - 1st Day of Class
•    Thursday, December 17th - Graduation Ceremony

Please feel free to contact us at (415) 579-3021 x102 or certificate@ramsinc.org should you have any questions. Materials are also available for download at: http://www.ramsinc.org/peer.php.

We look forward to receiving applications for the Fall 2015 class, and beginning another great cohort!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mental Health and Wellness in May 2015

In honor of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day and May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, on May 10, RAMS was pleased to partner with the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC) to hold a Family Wellness Fair focusing on fun activities and games to involve the whole family, and encourage conversation & awareness of mental health & wellness.  As this day also fell on Mother's Day this year, RAMS and RDNC staff & volunteers facilitated interactive and engaging activities focusing on togetherness, family interaction, and of course honoring and celebrating Mom on this special day.

Additionally, during the month of May, RAMS is pleased to be engaged in a series of mental health activities:
  -- RAMS Deputy Chief & Director of Clinical Services Christina Shea, LMFT, and API Mental Health Collaborative Program Coordinator Natalie T. Ah Soon, MPH, co-presented at the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies (CASRA) Spring Conference on May 7 in Concord.  Their workshop was titled "Lost in Translation: How Cultures and Languages Describe their Own Health", and described how culturally competent treatment is beyond just the language, how culture explains physical and emotional pain, and how it can only be understood within the cultural context. "Globalizing mental illness" can only lead to misunderstanding, miscommunication, and mistreatment, and Asian Pacific Islander communities in San Francisco attempt to support API communities in understanding and communicating about their pain, and hopefully lead to healing. 

  -- RAMS co-sponsored the 3rd Annual Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum, Northern California’s health education forum focusing on the Asian and Pacific Islander Communities, on May 7. The goals were to inform professionals about the most relevant challenges facing the Asian/Pacific Islander population in Sonoma County, to enhance access and quality of health services for the Asian/Pacific Islander community, and to facilitate networking among healthcare and other service providers.

  -- RAMS co-sponsored the annual Richmond Community Health Festival on May 2nd.

RAMS will also be participating in the upcoming NAMIWalk event taking place in San Francisco on Saturday, May 30.  The 5k walk will be held in Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park.  Check-in starts at 8:30am; Walk time starts at 10:00am.  Please click HERE to register, donate, or join & raise funds, or see more details about the event.  We hope you join us at the Walk!

Friday, May 8, 2015

RAMS honors May 10th Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day

In honor of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day and May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS), on May 10, RAMS is proudly partnering with Richmond District Neighborhood Center to hold a mental health awareness event. This year, May 10 is also Mother’s Day and the event will focus on outreach efforts to families and supporting adult-child bonds. Held at Richmond District Neighborhood Center, the free community event will include interactive and engaging activities – arts & crafts, group sing along, games & activities, face painting, yoga, family photo fun, snacks, information & resources, and giveaways – all in celebration of mental wellness and maintaining balanced mental and physical health. 

May is established nationally as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Established by the State of California, the City & County of San Francisco, and the City of Austin (TX), Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day on May 10 recognizes the importance of raising awareness about mental health and promoting mental wellness in the Asian Pacific American community. The establishment of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day was an effort spearheaded by RAMS and overwhelmingly supported by many major associations and community coalitions. Since May is already established nationally as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as Mental Health Awareness Month, institution of this day in the month of May more closely aligns both awareness efforts.

Many people believe that mental disorders are rare and “happen to someone else" however one in four adults are impacted by mental illness in the United States every year. Childhood mental illness occurs in one out of five children in the United States during a given year, and two-thirds of them get little or no help according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Many factors contribute to mental health concerns such as biological, life experiences (e.g. trauma), and family history of mental health conditions. Asian & Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) specifically make up one of the fastest growing ethnic communities in the United States, yet they have the lowest rates of utilization of mental health services among ethnic populations, which may be due to the substantial stigma that exists as well as cultural & linguistic isolation of the community, family, and individual. These disparities indicate the critical need to raise awareness, de-stigmatize seeking help, and increase access to culturally competent/ relevant services for the Asian American & Pacific Islander community. It is important that each person is aware of some of the warning signs and ways to support and help.

The press release is below (right-click and select any option to "Open").

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Peace of Mind for Mom & the Whole Family

Come celebrate Mental Wellness on Mother's Day with FREE activities for the whole family!

RAMS and the Richmond District Neighborhood Center are hosting an event to promote and celebrate mental health awareness and wellness at this free family-friendly event.  This event is also in recognition of Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day, observed annually on May 10.

WHEN:  Sunday May 10, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
WHERE: Richmond District Neighborhood Center, 741 30th Avenue, San Francisco

There will be fun and activities for the whole family, as well as snacks and freebies.  Admission is free and all are welcome to drop by anytime!

For more information, contact Angela Tang at (415) 800-0699 x200.

To view flyer, right-click and select any option to "Open".

Friday, April 24, 2015

Richmond Community Health Festival on Saturday, May 2nd

RAMS is proud to be a co-sponsor along with San Francisco District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, California District 19 Assemblymember Phil Ting, Kaiser Permanente, Compassionate Community Care, and Self-Help for the Elderly for the Richmond Community Health Festival. 

View the flyer by clicking on the image below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open"). 

The purpose of this free health festival is to encourage a healthy lifestyle and provide access to resources that help meet the health needs of our diverse community.

The Health Festival will feature FREE health screenings and medication review along with FREE giveaways, cooking demonstrations, health education offered by about 40 community health organizations, children’s activities and family fun.

When: Saturday, May 2, 2015, 10am-2pm

Where: George Peabody Elementary School, 251 6th Avenue, San Francisco (between California and Clement)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Announcement: Peer to Peer Programs Advisory & Focus Groups


Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) was selected to operate several Peer to Peer programs, funded by SF DPH – Behavioral Health Services (BHS).  RAMS will build upon SFDPH BHS’ strong foundation & further develop an integrative delivery system that promotes best practices, shared resources, peer advancement opportunities and quality driven peer to peer services for behavioral health consumers.

RAMS invites peer/consumer workforce, consumers; family members, community providers, and interested parties to GET INVOLVED and provide ideas in the planning of the Peer to Peer programs.   

Give your input about peer services, program structure, peer support, and more!

Advisory & Focus Group Schedule:

Peer Wellness/Drop-in Center
May 5: 2pm-4pm 
May 20: 2pm-4pm 
Location: BHS, 1380 Howard Street, Room 424 

Peer Counseling/Outreach Services
May 6: 11am-1pm 
May 27: 2pm-4pm 
Location: BHS, 1380 Howard Street, Room 424

Peer Support Internship
May 13: 10am-12pm 
May 28: 2pm-4pm 
Location: BHS, 1380 Howard Street, Room 417

RSVP Preferred but not Required.
Angela Tang: (415) 800-0699 Ext. 200 / angelatang@ramsinc.org  

* You can attend one or more meetings, of one or more topics, depending on your interest. 

** Join the mailing list to receive announcements and information about additional advisory & focus groups meetings by sending your contact information to peerservices@ramsinc.org 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Infographic: RAMS services at Wellness Centers

We are thrilled to present the publication of the RAMS & Wellness Centers Service Summary!  This infographic illustrates the types of services provided by RAMS & being utilized by high school students in San Francisco Wellness Centers.

RAMS is the core behavioral health provider at the Wellness Centers.  The Wellness Initiative and the school-based Wellness Centers is a collaboration with leadership from the SF Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF), Department of Public Health (DPH), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and RAMS. Confidential student services are provided on-site at Wellness Centers located in SFUSD high schools, at which RAMS provides the integrated behavioral health services component (mental health & substance abuse). This includes confidential on-site Mental Health and Substance Abuse Assessments, Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Crisis Intervention/Consultation, Grief & Loss/Trauma Counseling, Referrals to community resources, and Consultation to school staff and community.

 View the document by clicking on the images below to enlarge (right-click and select any options to "Open").

The original PDF document can be viewed or downloaded HERE.  More information on the results and impact of this program can be found HERE.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

RAMS Co-Presenting at CAAMFest 2015

RAMS will be co-presenting a feature film, CICADA, at the CAAMFest 2015, held by the Center for Asian American Media.

 When Jumpei Taneda finds out he has a fertility problem, he begins to have clairvoyant flashes that mysteriously lead him to cicada shells. Jumpei's inability to have children causes him to become a father-figure to his sister Nanaka's young son Ryota, who is being bullied at school. Nanaka and her gambling-addict husband decide to throw a birthday party for Ryota in hopes of changing his classmates' perception of him. Unfortunately, no one shows up to the party except the quirky cast of adults in Ryota's life, and it is here that secrets are revealed and chaos ensues.
 Also a teacher, director Dean Yamada is similarly inspired by youthful energies. A professor at Biola University, Yamada took his students to Japan, where they produced this soft-stepping comedy that combines colorful characterizations with the gentle moods of social discovery found in much Japanese cinema. It’s a welcome return for Yamada, a mainstay of the Asian American film festival circuit, as he steps into the feature film spotlight with longtime collaborator Yu Shibuya and university students ready to mature into filmmakers themselves.   (Brian Hu, CAAMFest)

RAMS will be co-presenting the showing of Cicada on March 18 at 6:30pm, at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 1881 Post Street.  
We also invite viewers to stay and join in a short discussion with RAMS after the film.

Cicada is the first feature film from the team that created the award-winning short films Jitensha and Persimmon. Their work has screened at the Venice Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and Aspen Shortsfest and won awards at the Heartland Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and Sapporo Shortfest.  For more details, visit the film's site at www.cicadathemovie.com

Please join us at the screening and the following discussion, and check out the exciting line-up of events in this 11 day celebration of film, music, and food!  CAAMFest 2015 runs from March 12-22.  We hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In the right "Frames Of Mind": A collaboration with Kearny Street Workshop

RAMS is excited to be collaborating with Kearny Street Workshop on an upcoming project entitled "Frames of Mind".

Funded through a grant of the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Frames Of Mind project will focus on Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) living with or who are at high-risk for mental health issues and connect them with teaching artists/photographers who can equip them with the skills and confidence to creatively tell their own stories through the use of photography. In doing so, we aim to increase visibility and awareness of the daily challenges and experiences of individuals with mental health problems, and build support within APA communities which tends to stigmatize these conditions.

Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) is the oldest APA multidisciplinary arts organization in the country. Founded in San Francisco’s Manilatown/Chinatown neighborhood in 1972, KSW has long been an institution for community-based arts in San Francisco and has greatly impacted the cultural development of APAs in the Bay Area, and consequently, around the country.

This project is slated to commence in mid-2015, with program planning, outreach, and workshops taking place over 2015-2016. It is the goal of RAMS and KSW to release the published work in 2016.  Stay tuned on this blog, where we'll provide updates on this groundbreaking new project.  We are all very excited about this unique collaboration involving the Arts and Community-Based Mental Health sectors, and look forward to working with Kearny Street Workshop in the coming years.

For more details, see: The Arts Commission announces the recipients of the FY2014-2015 Cultural Equity Initiatives, Arts & Communities: Innovative Partnerships, and Individual Artist Commissions grants.
And also: FY15 Arts & Communities: Innovative Partnerships Project Summaries

 Photo credit:  Daniel Dionne on Flickr

Monday, January 12, 2015

Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate -- Now Accepting Applications for Spring 2015 Class

RAMS, in collaboration with SFSU, is excited to announce that the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2015 Class!

Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the Peer Specialist Mental Health Certificate Program provides a 12-week long training for consumers of behavioral health services or family members who are interested in becoming peer counselors/peer specialists in the field of community behavioral health.  Already in its 5th year of operation, this program has had around 120 graduates, the majority of whom are actively engaging in work, volunteer, and educational opportunities as a direct result of taking the course.  This program is free of cost for the attendee, with books and materials included.

We are looking for individuals who:
  • are at least 18 years old residents of San Francisco 
  • have completed at least a high school level education or GED
  • are current or past consumers of behavioral health services and/or family members 
  • are interested in helping others in the community behavioral health setting

  • Application and course timeline is as follows:
  • Wednesday, January 7th - Application Release 
  • Tuesday, January 20th & Thursday, January 22nd - Optional Program Open Houses (see Flyer HERE for details) 
  • Friday, February 13th @ 5:00pm - Application Deadline 
  • Week of March 9th - Notification of Application Status 
  • Friday, March 27th - Registration Forms Due for Accepted Applicants 
  • Tuesday, April 7th - 1st Day of Class 
  • Tuesday, June 30th - Graduation Ceremony 

  • Click HERE for the program brochure

    Click HERE for the application form

    Please feel free to contact us at (415) 668-5955 x386 or certificate@ramsinc.org should you have any questions. Materials are also available for download at: http://www.ramsinc.org/peer.php

    We look forward to receiving applications for the Spring 2015 class, and beginning another great cohort!

    Photo credit: The Sanguine Bee on Flickr