County-wide collaboration works to reduce mental health stigma

NEWS // August 21, 2017

Countywide Collaboration Works to Reduce Mental Health Stigma

San Diego Youth Services’ (SDYS) HERE Now Program, which stands for Helping, Engaging, Reconnecting and Education, in collaboration with North County Lifeline (NCLL) and South Bay Community Services (SBCS), is designed to prevent youth suicide, suicidal ideation, help foster safe schools and create a safer place to learn in San Diego through suicide and bullying prevention education.  Specifically, the program focuses on preventing suicide by educating 7th -12th grade youth and their families on the risk factors of suicide. In addition, the HERE Now program seeks to shift social norms about the stigma attached to individuals who seek mental health services by being proactive in reaching out to the community.

HERE Now was implemented in 60 schools countywide, and presentations were given to 23,665 middle and high school students. After seeing the HERE Now school presentations, approximately 2,840 students acknowledged that they needed to talk to someone about themselves or a friend. The HERE Now program staff conducted follow-up interviews with these students, and 267 were eventually referred to outpatient mental health services either with their school’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment provider or their private health care insurance.

The HERE Now program is also reaching parents, a key cornerstone of an effective teen suicide prevention program. For example, at Southwest Senior High School, 300 parents attended a presentation held by NCLL and SBCS to educate the parents on the HERE NOW program.

For more information about the HERE Now program contact San Diego Youth Services at 619-258-6877.