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").