Before you dive into this Holiday Edition, the City of Irvine Youth Action Team has prepared a special message to share with you. Click on the arrow to play the video!
This Holiday Edition is like a well-stuffed stocking…it includes no-cost webinars to keep the holiday cheer going, some big, exciting news happening here in Orange County, new student mental health and wellness programs that are available now, and so much more. First up – holiday wellness webinars for you!
Holiday Wellness Webinars Hosted by The Priority Center
According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which creates increased risk for physical illness, depression, anxiety, and even substance misuse. Register for the upcoming, no-cost December webinars hosted by The Priority Center’s Outreach and Engagement Team to discover new ways to stay mindful and manage stress this season. 
Mindfulness During the Holidays on December 15, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
What you’ll learn during the webinar: 

  • The meaning of mindfulness and what mindfulness practices are
  • Ways you can practice self-care during the Holidays 
  • Stressors around the Holidays and ideas for how to cope 

Register for the webinar. 

Get Out of Your Stress Mess: Dealing with Holiday Blues on December 20, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. 
What you’ll learn during the webinar: 

  • Symptoms of stress and negative impacts on the body and mind
  • Stress management and self-care techniques 
  • How to deal with the “Holiday Blues” 

Register for the webinar. 
Supporting Orange County’s Caregivers
“Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” You have probably heard this during every airplane safety briefing -- it is a simple concept that makes a lot of sense. It is hard to care for others without also taking care of yourself, which is why caregivers need assistance to maintain their own mental health and well-being. If you are a caregiver, or know someone who is, join CalOptima on December 14, 2021 from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. to learn about: 

  • The challenges and barriers caregivers experience 
  • CalOptima’s programs and services to support older adults and people with chronic conditions 
  • Community resources available to support OC caregivers 

Register for the virtual event. 
Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) Receives a $1.25 Million Grant
Did you hear the big news? OCAPICA has been selected to receive a $1.25 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Family Fund – the largest private donation in OCAPICA’s history! This one-time grant will allow OCAPICA to aid homeless children and their families with housing and supportive services. 

“The grant from the Day 1 Families Fund will impact hundreds of families who feel invisible to others —families who have been living in their cars, motels, garages, or on the streets. We now have resources to make a long-term impact for the families we
serve, and we’re so honored to be recognized by the Day 1 Families Fund.” -  Mary Anne Foo, Executive Director of OCAPICA

The Bezos Day 1 Family Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.
“Life is Greater than Drugs” Campaign
The OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has launched a new opioid misuse prevention campaign – “Life is Greater Than Drugs.” The campaign educates youth and teens on the dangers of opioid misuse while also encouraging them to stay busy through activities they love - sports, reading, cooking, meditation, art classes, listening to music, and more. The isolation of the pandemic and the resulting mental health challenges mean it is more important than ever to empower youth and teens to get involved in activities and connect with their peers. Learn more about the campaign here

We’re calling on all individuals and organizations who work with youth to share the ready-to-go graphics and videos on social media!
The campaign also features no-cost OC resources that are available 24/7 for all students:

  • OC Links: Students can contact OC Links whenever they need to – the (855) 625-4657 phone line will connect callers with an understanding and supportive “Navigator,” who has been specifically trained to guide people to the correct resources. 
  • OC WarmLine: The OC WarmLine is a free and confidential telephone service providing emotional support and resources to Orange County residents. Students can call or text (714) 991-6412.
National State of Emergency for Children’s Mental Health 
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on children's mental health as young people continue to face physical isolation and ongoing uncertainty and fear. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Children’s Hospital Associate (CHA), representing more than 77,000 physicians and 200 children’s hospitals, declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health. 

Read more here for their policy recommendations. 
K-12 Mental Health Ambassador Program 
The K-12 Mental Health Ambassadors Program, led by Latino Health Access and OC LGBTQ Center, is a series of in-person or virtual training sessions to build the capacity of students, parents, and school staff to promote better awareness of mental health issues, risk factors, and stressors. The lead organizations plan to work closely with interested Orange County schools and districts to coordinate implementing the workshops and activities for students, parents, and staff.

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
Student Advocates for Mental Health Program 
Do you have a group of students who are interested in conducting a mental health awareness activity on your school campus? If you would like free training, supplies, resources, and support to create or promote an activity, look no further! The Student Advocates for Mental Health (SAMH) program can support you with all your mental health awareness activity needs. The in-person or virtual activity may align with National Campaigns such as Suicide Prevention Week, World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, or an original idea of your own. 

All Orange County public, private, and charter schools are eligible to apply. For more information, or to complete a participation interest form, visit the SAMH website.
Children’s Mental Health Access Collaborative of Orange County
The Children’s Mental Health Access Collaborative seeks to enhance access to and increase coordination of children’s mental health services. They will make available no-cost mental health screenings with follow-up services for students, parents, and schools. A mental health screening can help identify issues and concerns early, and suggest interventions, before they may become more serious. Access the online screening here
Emotional Wellness Toolkit for Educators
In response to the growing need to support emotional well-being in schools, Sharpen Minds announced a new emotional wellness toolkit for educators at no cost. 

What's in the toolkit? 
The twelve emailed topics range from strategies for improving one's own social, emotional, and mental well-being to providing support and strength-based content for students in the classroom.

What topics are covered?
  • Social and emotional well-being
  • Mental health literacy
  • Holiday stress management
  • Quick mindfulness activities that can be shared with other educators in the district
  • Age-appropriate content that can be played in classroom

How can I access the toolkit?
The toolkit will be shared by email once a week. Simply sign up to receive it here!
Outreach and Engagement Collaborative 
We have more no-cost services to share for the K-12 school community! The Outreach and Engagement (O&E) Collaborative is offering individual and group counseling, case management for students and parents/guardians/caregivers, support groups, student activities and workshops, parent workshops, and more to members in Orange County.

Who to contact for more information:
The O&E Collaborative is led by OCAPICAWestern Youth Services (WYS), and The Priority Center (TPC).

  • OCAPICA: (844) 530-0240 
  • WYS: (844) 243-0048 
  • TPC: (888) 955-6570

Who does the O&E Collaborative serve?
The O&E Collaborative serves residents of all ages and populations who are at risk of developing a mental illness or who are displaying early signs of emotional, behavioral, or mental instability or co-occurring substance abuse disorders.

This month, we had the opportunity to talk to Hope Wellikson and Mackenzie Cullinan, students from the City of Irvine High School Youth Action Team, about how they plan to improve their well-being this holiday season. 
Hope Wellikson, Junior at Irvine High School
Mackenzie Cullinan, Senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School

HUB: How are you planning on taking care of your well-being during the Holidays?
Mackenzie: “Gift giving is my favorite thing to do, so I like to make it fun during the holiday season, but I also make sure to check in on myself and see what I need (which is usually a nap)!”
Hope: “I want to catch up on my sleep and just watch lots of TV. I would like to do some yoga or go hiking during the break as well.”

HUB: How do your parents/caregivers and family relieve stress and relax during the Holidays?
Hope: “My family spends quality time together, and we try not to open our computers or do anything related to work. My mom’s goal is to ‘stay in pajamas and watch lots of TV!’”

HUB: What is your favorite Holiday tradition?
Mackenzie: “My favorite holiday tradition is getting the family together to decorate the house because since I was little, I have been in charge of decorating the inside of the house. It is a time that I am finally able to step out of my youngest child role and take charge!”
The Community Networking Project wishes you a wonderful holiday season filled with comfort and joy. We hope the New Year brings you and your loved ones a time of peace, health, and happiness. Remember, it is okay (and a good idea) to step away from work and your usual routine to take time to enjoy the moments around you.
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: Colleen Reilly, Gabriela Rodriguez, and Angela Castellanos. 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 Orange County (OC) and beyond. 
 Contact the Community Networking Project at
Funded by OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA), Behavioral Health Services, Prevention & Intervention, Mental Health Services Act/Prop. 63