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Left Photo: Deputy Consul General Jaime Ascalon and Director Stephen Kaplan shake hands to a stronger partnership.  Right Photo: From L to R,  Daly City Commissioner Bradley Roxas, DCG Ascalon, Mayor Ray Buenaventura, Council member Michael Guingona and Director Kaplan

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) of San Mateo County was signed yesterday, August 13, 2013 at the North County Clinic in Daly City, California.  Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon represented the Consulate General while Director Stephen Kaplan signed on behalf of the BHRS.

Through the MOU, both offices agreed to work together towards the larger goal of providing support to Filipino nationals who require services for mental health and/or substance abuse issues.

According to the 2010 US Census, Filipinos have a significant presence in San Mateo County, making up approximately 10% of the total County population.

DCG Ascalon highlighted the importance of mental health both for the service providers and the community.  “With the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, we foresee working closely with BHRS towards increasing the level of awareness of our community on mental health issues and more importantly, helping them thrive as healthy and productive individuals” DCG Ascalon remarked.

Director Kaplan thanked Dr. Jei Africa for this initiative with the Consulate General, stating that this is the first agreement signed between a Behavioral Health agency and a Consulate General.

About the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco is one of six (6) Philippine Consulates General in the US.  Its jurisdiction covers Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming.

Just four (4) years into the introduction of the Mental Health First Aid in the US, the Consulate General was fortunate that majority of its personnel were trained and certified as Mental First Aiders in 2011.  This was accomplished largely with the assistance and support of the San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS).

The Consulate General’s high personnel-client ratio of 1:27,396 makes its staff vulnerable to stress. The Mental Health First Aid course instilled among the Consulate General personnel the importance of taking care of one’s over-all health and well-being.  Moreover, the course equipped the employees with the necessary skills to better deal with persons suffering from mental health issues.

About the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services of San Mateo County

San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) provides a continuum of services for children, youth, families, adults and older adults for the prevention, early intervention and treatment of serious mental illness and/or substance use conditions. BHRS is committed to supporting treatment of the whole person to achieve wellness and recovery, and promoting the physical and behavioral health of individuals, families and communities it serves.

Culturally competent, integrated services are provided by mental health clinicians, alcohol and drug counselors, peers, family partners and others, through a network of County and private agency providers and partners throughout the community.