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Mental Health Awareness Month Observed In City
green ribon
Residents and visitors alike in Riverbank are noticing green ribbons displayed on trees, bushes, light and sign poles, hung all over, especially in downtown, like these around City Hall North and Plaza del Rio Park. They’re also in view on school yards and campuses and other sites around the city, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. Ric McGinnis/The News

The City Council of the City of Riverbank proclaimed May 2021 as Mental Health Awareness month at the regular city council meeting held on Tuesday, May 11. There are several green ribbons placed around the City of Action to promote mental health awareness in the community.

This past Monday was National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and California Avenue Elementary, Mesa Verde Elementary and Riverbank Language Academy will provide outreach materials to students this week and create a dialogue about mental health.

In the proclamation, Mayor Richard O’Brien stated that it is their mission to improve the wellbeing of families and the community by providing increased access to resources and services that support mental health, wellness, Prevention and Early Intervention as well as health education classes, parent support groups and school readiness programs in English and Spanish.

Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), Prevention & Early Intervention Services (PEI) Manager, Janet Nunez-Pineda addressed the council last week at the meeting with gratitude on the proclamation and their partnership.

“The very important thing right now for people to know is that our local county behavioral health department is working extremely hard to outreach to all of our underserved community to create awareness on how to access behavioral health services should they need it,” stated Nunez-Pineda. “It is important that we are talking about mental health and we are honoring the diverse communities that we serve throughout the county.”

BHRS has contracted with Oak Valley Family Support Network to have two full time Promotores/Community Behavioral Health Outreach Workers (CBHOW) to assist both the Riverbank and Oakdale underserved Spanish speaking communities to bring them access to information and awareness of services.

RAIZ is the Stanislaus County program that represents the CBHOW. The County defines RAIZ (“roots”) as Realizando Alianzas e Inspirando Sabiduría, which translates to “Creating Alliances and Inspiring Wisdom.”

“CBHOW plays a critical role in promoting prevention-focused and community-based behavioral health education and activities, particularly in communities historically underserved targeting the Latino/Spanish-speaking community,” explained PEI, Staff Services Coordinator, Tracey McKnight. “A Promotor/CBHOW shall engage residents including children, youth, adults and older adults to promote behavioral health and well-being, build protective factors to reduce the risk for developing a potentially serious mental health condition and/or serious emotional disturbance, and link those who are experiencing early onset of serious mental illness to appropriate services.”

The green ribbons are an international symbol for mental health awareness and they can be seen throughout the Riverbank community.

“We as a County department, as a partner, we are just excited that these two communities are really jumping on being receptive to behavioral health services in a really crucial time for the community,” remarked Nunez-Pineda.

For crisis and mental health support, the phone number is 209-558-4600 and for mental health and alcohol and drug services information, community members in Stanislaus County can call 1-888-376-6246.