Hello from The HUB!
Welcome to The HUB: April Issue! This issue is filled with no-cost trainings, events, and programs to support student, staff, and community mental health and well-being. Make sure to check out the “Upcoming” section and mark your April calendars!
TOP STORIES
President Joe Biden Announces Plan to Address Our National Mental Health Crisis
President Biden announced a national mental health strategy designed to strengthen system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support. In his State of the Union Address, he highlighted the challenges our youth face today.

“Our youth have been particularly impacted as losses from COVID and disruptions in routines and relationships have led to increased social isolation, anxiety, and learning loss. More than half of parents express concern over their children’s mental well-being.”
– President Joe Biden

The Strategy includes the following plans for youth and school-based mental health:

  • Increase access to mental health support in schools, colleges, and universities
  • Double the number of school-based mental health professionals
  • Expand early childhood and school-based intervention services and supports
  • Set students up for success by creating supportive learning environments
WEBINARS, CONFERENCES, AND TRAININGS
ICYMI: Upcoming Youth-Led Conference: Making Wellness a Part of Every Student’s School Day
The Community Networking Project is hosting a county-wide youth-led conference next week - Making Wellness a Part of Every Student's School Day - on March 31, 2022 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. During this interactive conference, OC students will share easy, tangible ways for educators to incorporate wellness and social and emotional practices, as well as activities that support student well-being inside and outside of the classroom.
 
All students, families, educators, teachers, counselors, mental health leaders, and school staff are welcome to attend. There is still time to register for the no-cost youth-led conference here.
CalFresh & Healthy Living Presentations for Orange County Families
CalOptima is collaborating with the County of Orange Social Services Agency to host CalFresh & Healthy Living Presentations in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. CalFresh provides eligible California residents with a boost to their food budgets, making it possible to buy more healthy food. Participants will learn how their families may be eligible to receive more than $800 every month to buy food and how to live a healthy, active, and nutritious lifestyle.
 
Presentation Dates:

  • April 12, 2022 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (English)
  • April 13, 2022 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Spanish)
  • April 14, 2022 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Vietnamese)
 
Each presentation can be accessed using the same Zoom link:

  • Zoom Link
  • Webinar Meeting ID: 983 5406 6514
  • Passcode: 571309
Cultivating Student Well-Being Webinar Series
This webinar series hosted by the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) is designed to enhance educators’ knowledge about trauma and its impact on students. Join OCDE to learn how educators can create inclusive and supportive learning environments that promote the social emotional development, continuous growth, and overall student success.
 
Webinars and Dates:

 
To register for a specific webinar or all of them, click on the webinar title.
OC Links: The Go-To Resource from Prevention to Crisis Webinar
The Community Networking Project is hosting a webinar on April 21, 2022 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – OC Links: The Go-To Resource from Prevention to Crisis. OC Links is a great resource for learning about the mental health and recovery resources available in Orange County. OC Links is available 24/7 to provide linkages to programs from prevention through acute crisis identification and response.
 
Are you interested in learning more? Register for the webinar today.
A Collection of No-Cost Trainings to Build Student Resilience
The RESET Toolbox includes no-cost trainings to address anxiety and build resilience in children and teens. The trainings are intended for families, educators, school/district administrators, K-12 students, community members, youth-serving organizations, and collaborative agencies. Some of the trainings include:

  • 40 Developmental Assets
  • Emotion Regulation and Mindfulness
  • Healthy Coping Skills for Stress and Anxiety
  • Ready Set Resilience Series
  • Youth Stress and Time Management
  • Bullying Prevention and Intervention for Elementary and Middle School Students
  • Recognizing Grief During Times of Uncertainty for Middle and High School Students
  • Suicide Prevention for Teachers and School Staff
 
Access the trainings here.
COMMUNITY EVENTS
Family Fest: A Day of Fun for the Whole Family
Come join the Wellness and Prevention Center as they host Family Fest on April 23, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Jim Johnson Memorial Sports Park in San Clemente! Family Fest is a day filled with unique activities designed for all ages. South Orange County families can enjoy various youth performances, learn e-bike safety from OC Sheriffs, and visit the many hands-on activity booths. Families will also learn about the rich resources available in the community to help youth thrive. Learn more here.
PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT STUDENT WELL-BEING
K-12 Mental Health Ambassador Program 
Looking for new ways to promote better awareness of mental health issues, risk factors, and stressors? The K-12 Mental Health Ambassadors Program, led by Latino Health Access and OC LGBTQ Center, provides a series of in-person or virtual training sessions to build the capacity of students, parents, and school staff to address these mental health needs. The lead organizations want to work closely with interested Orange County schools and districts to coordinate workshops and activities. 
 
This program can be accessed now. If you are interested in bringing this program to your school and/or school district, contact Lisette Martinez-Acebo at lmartinez@latinohealthaccess.org
Teens Next Door
Teens Next Door (TND) is a fun and interactive virtual program led by Latino Health Access that connects OC youth to safe and healthy spaces where they can share thoughts and feelings that they may have experienced during the pandemic, or any other personal circumstances. Activities and events are facilitated by trained Community Health Workers, who understand how to navigate challenging conversations and can help youth and families to access additional support and resources.
 
Any OC youth ages 10-18 are welcome to join TND on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. via Zoom.

To join, students can email Nallely Enriquez at nenriquez@latinohealthaccess.org or call/text (714) 696-1126.
Children and Youth Engagement Core Parent Group
The Children and Youth Engagement (CYE) team at Latino Health Access is launching a Core Parent Group designed to connect parents and caregivers in capacity building opportunities at LHA and the surrounding community. These opportunities include: 
 
  • Health and Wellness Education
  • Leadership Development
  • Academic Support
  • Advisory Council involvement
  • Basic Needs/Resource Information
 
If you know any parents or caregivers interested in leadership roles and being involved in the community, this is the group for them!

For more information and to get involved, please contact Gina Torres at gtorres@latinohealthaccess.org or call at (714) 696-1126.
FUNDING AND POLICY UPDATES
$35 Million To Strengthen Mental Health Support for Children and Young Adults
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new, targeted effort to reach children and young adults with mental health supports. HHS, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Office of Minority Health (OMH), has announced nearly $35 million in funding opportunities for community mental health services and suicide prevention programs designed to help America’s children and young adults. HHS Secretary Becerra kicked off a National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health to engage with local leaders in our communities and also to hear directly from Americans across the country about the mental health challenges they are facing. Read more here.
THE HUB INTERVIEW
Each month, The HUB talks to leaders in OC. This month, we had the opportunity to catch up with Christina Weckerly Ramirez at the Orange County Health Care Agency to learn more about OC Links. OC Links is a great resource for learning about the mental health and recovery resources available in Orange County. Check out what she told us!
Christina Weckerly Ramirez
Administrative Manager II, Mental Health and Recovery Services, Orange County Health Care Agency

HUB: Tell us three things schools and districts should know about OC Links.
Christina: Since Jan. 1, 2021, OC Links has grown beyond being an information and referral line - (855) OC-LINKS. We expanded our hours to 24/7 to provide linkage to programs across the behavioral health continuum of care from prevention through crisis identification and response.

You don’t need to know what you are looking for when calling OC Links. Our Navigators are there to listen to your concerns and needs and start where you are at. Whether that is providing information, education, resources, or immediate support for those experiencing a mental health emergency. We are there for you.

Our services are available at no cost to any OC resident.
 
HUB: How will this help them in their day-to-day work with students and connecting students to direct services?
Christina: OC Links is a great resource for learning about what mental health and recovery resources are out there. For example, I think a lot of folks don’t know about the breadth of prevention services that are available, so OC Links may introduce them to a completely new service.

A Navigator will listen to the caller’s needs and suggest appropriate programs that match what they are looking for. The Navigator will make a “warm link” by connecting them to the service provider directly for calls that are received during program business hours and will also offer to follow up in the next day or two to see if they successfully linked or to offer new resources that better match what they need.
 
HUB: How can schools leverage this fantastic resource?
Christina: OC Links is a partner to our schools in addressing the mental health and substance use recovery needs of our Orange County families. Teachers, administrations, parents, and students can call or chat with us to get support and learn about services that are available that they did not know existed. Together, we can wrap services around our students and families to compliment what the schools are already doing and to fill in any gaps.
 
HUB: What are some of the exciting developments underway with OC Links?
Christina: We are working on a new media campaign called, “Where Wellness Begins,” to get the word out there about what OC Links has to offer. The multimedia campaign is anticipated to launch this Spring and will include advertising in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Additionally, we are continuing to grow and on-board the OC Links staff to better meet the community’s need.   
 
HUB: Where can schools and districts access OC Links?
Christina: Please call (855) OC-LINKS to be connected to a Behavioral Health Navigator or click on the OC Links Chat icon on the website.
 
ICYMI: The Community Networking Project is hosting a webinar all about OC Links on April 21, 2022 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Register here!
IN THE NEWS
4 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health
From new COVID-19 variants to the war in Ukraine, it is safe to say that 2022 has presented us with challenges. April is National Stress Awareness Month, and although it is important to stay informed on current events, it is also equally important to care for ourselves. So, how can you effectively manage your mental health with all that is going on around the world? Check out this article by CNBC offering tips from top experts.
Alcohol Use Among Girls and Young Women: A Worrying Trend
April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and we are shedding light on concerning information from SAMHSA. For the past two decades, data showed that underage boys and young men were more likely to drink than girls and young women. However, new data shows that teen and teenage girls and young women, ages 12 to 20, are drinking more alcohol than their male counterparts. Evidence suggests that problems with anxiety and depression are increasing, particularly among young women. In turn, more young women are turning to drinking as a way to cope. Read more here.
UPCOMING: MARK YOUR APRIL CALENDARS
We Want to Hear From You! Want to share an event that advances student mental health? Let The Hub help. Whether an event, training, webinar, grant, or a “Zoom” gathering, we can help spread the word! We encourage you to submit items for future issues.

Share The HUB! Please forward it on to educators, staff, administrators, parents, families and students in the school community, and community organizations serving youth and families. 
The HUB is brought to you by The Reilly Group as part of the OC Health Care Agency Community Networking Project, and humble editors: Gabriela Rodriguez, Colleen Reilly, and Lyric Winik. The HUB is specially designed to serve our community and connect you to the rich array of K-12 school-based mental health events, activities, services, resources, webinars, trainings, policy and funding opportunities, and more, happening here in OC and beyond. 
 Contact the Community Networking Project at gabriela@reillygroupinc.com.
Funded by OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA), Mental Health and Recovery Services, Prevention & Intervention, Mental Health Services Act/Prop. 63