Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 16, 2019

Mental health breakdown

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So I actually missed the epic City Council meeting from earlier this month because I was gone and without any meaningful internet coverage.  So it looks like a fair amount of work was done around rent stabilization and the cannabis ordinances which hopefully I’ll get around to when I have some time to listen to the full meeting.

But tonight the City Council has one really interesting item on its agenda and it actually piggybacks on some of the discussion that occurred during this last election: mental health issues.  While this presentation by the Alameda Unified School District is specifically youth centered, we should have a larger discussion since usually people are more eager to assist kids than they are homeless senior citizens.

From the staff report:

Following the presentations, the ACCYF discussed the need to destigmatize mental illness and find ways to promote the mental health and wellness of students and their families through a public awareness campaign that has a consistent message.  Supervisor Chan coordinated a meeting on April 4, 2019 with an ACCYF workgroup and a consultant to discuss messaging strategies around raising mental health awareness and destigmatizing mental illness for youth and families in the City.

AUSD made a presentation on its needs assessment to the Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB) at its January 24, 2019 meeting.  SSHRB members stated that a larger conversation needs to take place with the entire community.  The SSHRB recommended that AUSD present its report to the City Council, so that Councilmembers can determine the City’s role, if any, in addressing the issue.

Given the really awful discussions around mental health issues and the homeless that were being used as reasons to vote for Measure B and thereby attempting to tank the Wellness and Respite Center, we really need to have a citywide discussion about mental health issues and  attempt to erase the stigma around people with mental health issues.

We need to get to a place in our society where people seeking help do it without shame and do not feel as though they need to suffer in silence because there is something unnatural about having mental health issues.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness  1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a year.  1 in 5 youth aged 13 – 18 experience a mental disorder sometime in their life.  This is not some rare disease that effects a limited amount of people, it’s wide spread and pervasive and we should bring attention to the fact that it’s okay to seek help because there are many other with similar experiences.



  1. Ok, so long as we think an Alameda-led public awareness campaign would have a real effect and not drain resources from existing special ed or mental health focused programs. As far as attempting to reach people not already touched by significant and continuing changes in the national culture, and if I had to choose, my hunch would be to opt for maintaining or increasing support for our professionals rather than new local messaging.

    (Feel free to discount that as the after effect of two recent elections and a preconception of “public awareness” as consisting of glossy mailers destined directly for the recycling bin)

    Comment by MP — April 16, 2019 @ 7:37 am

  2. I welcome any and all efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness and increase public awareness and competence around mental health — for all people of every age.

    My experience has been that programs and efforts like this tend to build on each other, not subtract from each other.

    As someone who has faced depression in my own life and in the lives of several people close to me, and as someone who has lived with other “invisible” issues most of my life (epilepsy, tinnitus, and arthritis), I can attest that our society has a long, long way to go to be more compassionate and understanding — especially when the burdens people are carrying are not visually or physically apparent.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — April 16, 2019 @ 9:43 am

  3. In one of his first moves as chair of a new state commission on supportive housing, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg met last week with leaders in mental health and homelessness to discuss California’s lack of board and care facilities for adults with severe mental illness.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — April 18, 2019 @ 7:45 am

  4. I want to thank the wonderful people at Alameda Family Services who do such great work in our community and have helped two people close to me.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — April 22, 2019 @ 9:19 pm

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