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community health fund


La Clínica Mental Health Stigma Reduction Initiative

mental health stigma reduction

The toll and prevalence of mental illness has become increasingly clear. Studies have shown mental illness can negatively impact employment, education, caregiving, finances, and physical health.

Young people are of particular concern. A 2018 study showed that high school students with significant symptoms of depression were more than twice as likely to drop out compared to peers without significant symptoms of depression, but in 2021, 35% of 11th grade students, 28% of 9th grade students, and 23% of 7th graders in Contra Costa County reported experiencing chronic sadness/hopelessness. Nevertheless, barriers remain to these young people accessing mental health care, including the stigma associated with mental illness and lack of health insurance coverage.

The La Clínica Mental Health Stigma Reduction Initiative will decrease barriers to care for high school youth and their parents in Central, East, and Far East Contra Costa County, while educating those communities about mental health and positive coping mechanisms. La Clínica’s Contra Costa County service area has a population of over 670,000 residents, with 35% identifying as Hispanic or Latino and 26% between the ages of 0-19. One in four service area residents are Spanish speakers who speak English “less than very well.” Seventeen percent earn below 138% of the federal poverty level and nearly seven percent are uninsured. This initiative focuses on two populations in particular: Latinx parents, particularly monolingual speakers, and high school youth, particularly "newcomer" youth who recently arrived in the United States from Latin America and are English learners. The community health education (CHE) staff and promotores who work on the initiative are from the community they serve.

To support this effort, in July 2022, the Community Health Fund awarded La Clínica a twelve-month $157,183 grant to implement Phase I of the business plan that enabled La Clínica to update curriculum that their CHE staff developed in 2018 by incorporating the mental health concerns associated with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. In year one of the three-year plan, La Clínica’s CHE team:

  • Established six formal partnerships:
    • Pittsburg Unified School District for the parent and youth workshops
    • Brentwood Unified School District for the parent workshops
    • Oakley Unified School District for the parent workshops
    • Antioch First 5 for the parent workshops
    • Pittsburg First 5 for the parent workshops
    • One Day at a Time for the youth workshops
  • Conducted Mindful Life trainings with 11 promotores and four staff members
  • Hosted two workshop series for 32 attendees at Rancho Medanos Middle School in Pittsburg
  • Conducted outreach:
    • Facilitated a presentation for 31 attendees at the Vision Y Compromiso Annual Bay Area Promotores Conference
    • Led a Back-to-School event for 250 attendees at Stoneman Elementary School (Pittsburg)

For La Clínica’s Phase II implementation (July 1,2023 – June 30, 2024), the CHF awarded La Clínica $126,000 to:

  • Develop multiyear MOUs with Pittsburg USD, Oakley USD, Brentwood USD and community partners for Phase II workshops
  • Conduct annual trainings to for three CHE Staff and as many as eight promotores
  • Review and update its curricula 
  • Conduct six community events at two schools where they expect to reach 450 individuals, both parents and youth
  • Conduct recruitment presentations for school districts and community partners including:
    • Nine presentations to 90 adults
    • Two presentations to 20 youth
  • Conduct a nine-class workshop series for parents/adults
  • Launch a group for men
  • Expand the program in partnership with Diablo Valley College
  • Screen parents for social determinants of health needs and provide referrals to appropriate outside service providers
  • Conduct three 5-part workshops for youth and survey to measure outcomes
  • Collect demographic data for all clients participating in the workshop series

La Clínica believes its outcomes will ultimately lead to ongoing funding from its long-standing network of public and private funders. It will also explore funding opportunities with partner school districts, Diablo Valley College and the state’s “California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal” program.