Behavioral Health Connection 
Mission and Vision 
The mission of Contra Costa Behavioral Health, partnership with consumers, families, staff, and community-based agencies, is to provide welcoming, integrated services for mental health, substance abuse, homelessness and other needs that promotes wellness, recovery, and resiliency while respecting the complexity and diversity of the people we serve. 
Contra Costa Behavioral Health envisions a system of care that supports independence, hope, and healthy lives by making accessible behavioral health services that are responsive, integrated, compassionate, and respectful. 
Integration Generation
Richmond Rainbow Mural Welcomes LGBTQ Youth
Contra Costa Mental Health Hosts a Series of Therpy Trainings and More
Mother & Child Program - Ujima Central
SPIRIT 2013! Now Accepting Applications
Homeless Program Awarded Funding For New Permanent Supportive Housing Program
Marijuana & Nonmedical Use of Phychotherapeutics
The "What is Recovery?" Project
Learn What We Are Celebrating in September & October
Contra Costa County LGBTQQI2 (and Youth) Programs & Centers



Community Access Site 






Essential Learning


National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month



Mental Health Awareness Week   (10/7-10/13) 


Check out a few new  


County Staff


Network Providers





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Contra Costa 
Behavioral Health Services  

1340 Arnold Drive,  
Suite 200
Martinez, CA 94553
P: (925) 957 - 5150 
F: (925) 957 - 5156 


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There is no one giant step that does it. It's a lot of little steps.

              -Peter A. Cohen 

CB Image
Cynthia Belon, LCSW Director of Behavioral Health Services




As we complete our first year of integration efforts, I'd like to pause for a moment to reflect on our progress towards achieving our collective vision for individuals that is focused on the treatment and support of the whole person including their families.  Although this system transformation is still in its infancy we have made measurable progress towards our intended goal of integration.

Phase 1 of the system transformation has focused on education, planning, and development. We created our Behavioral Health system-wide transformation roadmap and workplan and engaged in a continuous improvement process with many shareholders, who have been organized into various teams and/or committees, to begin to learn about each other and our respective systems, orient ourselves to this integration process, and begin to identify opportunities for improvement throughout our system of care. The Behavioral Health Integration Steering Committee, Change Agent teams, Administrative Design Teams, Services and Program Integration Design Teams, County Program Managers Integrated Work Teams, and County Line Staff Teams have worked over the past twelve months to create the necessary tools and solidify the structure that will support and further our work in the next year.

Service maps have been drafted to assist internal staff in learning more about their new Behavioral Health continuum of services and a Behavioral Health administrative infrastructure for daily operations of the Division is beginning to take shape. A Charter document that reflects the collective commitment of consumers, providers, and staff towards integration and outlines strategies that will help us reach this goal is in its final stages of approval. Through the use of the COMPASS-EZ tool, the County and community-based providers have started to assess our organizational capacity to meet the needs of individuals with complex needs. Perhaps our biggest accomplishment to date is the new mission and vision statement (see column left) for the Behavioral Health Division, which is being unveiled for the first time in its entirety in this issue of the Behavioral Health Connection.

I am immensely proud of all of the "little steps" we have taken together to reach this point. I look forward to working with consumers and families, county staff, community service providers and other shareholders in the next year as we move towards systems design and implementation.


CB Signiture 2 
Cynthia Belon, LCSW
Behavioral Health Director
Contra Costa County Behavioral Health 




What's a SPID?#! SPID Group 
The Services and Programs Integration Design (SPID) team process has begun as the next step towards the development of a service delivery system that is compassionate, culturally competent and complexity capable. SPID Teams are organized by population and will meet bi-weekly to help design the integration of Behavioral Health Division's services and programs.


There are four SPID Teams addressing the needs of children, transition-age youth, adults, and older adults and their families. SPID Teams will address design opportunities related to the following functions:


* Outreach, Engagement, Assessment & Triage

* Prevention and Early Intervention

* Treatment

* Housing and Supports

* Wellness, Resiliency and Recovery


Each SPID Team is critical to ensuring a successful integration process. The SPID teams play a vital role in developing design ideas and incorporating input from County staff, County contractors and service providers, and the community-at-large, as well as from special listening forums with target populations.  Ideas will be shared with the Steering Committee, Change Agents, and Program Managers, and ultimately will be presented to the Behavioral Health Executive Committee to turn into action.

For more information 

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 A Vibrant New Mural Greets the Richmond Community

Mural staff 1
Left to Right: Susan Guest, Public Health Nurse Program Manager, Raymond Neuman, Program Manager, and Cynthia Belon, Behavioral Health Services Director


Created by a team of youth at West County Child & Adolescent Services, the mural, located at the corner of MacDonald and 41st street in Richmond, honors the diversity, strength andRichmond Mural Rainbow vitality of the County's youngest residents. The project brought together a diverse team, including straight youth and youth who identify as or are allied with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. A special event was hosted to celebrate the mural on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 303 41st Street, Richmond, California.


The title of the mural, "Imagination is the Pathway to Change," was authored by a project participant and eloquently captures the spirit of the entire collaboration. The vibrant rainbow that weaves through the entire mural underscores the fundamental principles of inclusion, recognition and acknowledgment of our diverse community in West Contra Costa County. A primary goal of the project was to facilitate understanding and acceptance, creating an environment where young people can thrive, working individually and collectively on images and themes from their own lives and community.


Highlighting the importance of this project to the community, Raymond Neuman, Regional Program Manager at West County Child & Adolescent Services stated, "In my 35-year career in mental health services, this project has inspired me like no other before in terms of the magnificent ways the youth, the staff and community members came together to proclaim that Richmond is a community that truly embraces diversity."


To read more about this article and view more images, click here


For more information contact:


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Structured Interview of Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS), the PIER Model, and Multi-Family Group Therapy 

September Training Series    

On September 10, 2012 Barbara Walsh, Ph.D. conducted training using the Structured Interview on Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS). This was an all-day training from 8:30 to 5:00. This training was intense and vigorous as participants became certified in using this instrument. The County trained a small and limited group of staff who will be using SIPS in their work.


Trainers Background: Dr. Barbara Walsh has been part of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine since 1998. She is the Clinical Coordinator for the PRIME Clinic which specializes in the early identification of individuals who are at risk for developing serious mental illness. She conducts training and certification in the use of the SIPS/SOPS instrument. She is the co-author of a handbook for diagnosing early psychosis which goes to print in August 2012.


On September 11, 2012 Dr. William McFarlane provided a more in-depth training then previously presented in Contra Costa of The Portland Identification and Early Referral (PIER) Model. Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Services encouraged community partners to attend this training to gain an understanding of the work the County will be doing in the early intervention for psychosis project


Dr. McFarlane
Dr. McFarlane, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Center of Psychiatric Research, Maine Medical Center

Trainer's Background: Dr. McFarlane is a Professor of  Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry and Director of The Center of Psychiatric Research, Maine Medical Center. He has been awarded the Alexander Gralnick Award for Schizophrenia Research by the American Psychiatric Association in 2007. The model which he and his team have developed, (PIER) Model, has produced dramatic results in intervening in those who are prodromal to the development of psychosis. Dr. McFarlane and his team  provided training in Multi Family Group Therapy and other aspects of the model as well on September 12 -14, 2012.


Follow Up: Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services will also be providing training in community outreach. Training dates will follow soon. Participants who wish to be certified in the model will participate in a 2 year on-going training process. All the training's will be conducted at the Crowne Plaza in Concord, California.


For more information contact: 

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 Mother & Child  

In a previous issue we featured our SAMHWorks: Wellness to Independence program, which is an example of mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment providers working together to serve a targeted group of clients. County EHSD, which administers CalWORKs in collaboration with Contra Costa's Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD), have over the years developed a program that includes community-based organizations offering a range of treatment services to CalWORKs parents.

Women entering treatment can have varying levels of substance use disorder and be in different stages of recovery. Individual treatment plans can be coordinated with other activities, such as CalWORKs Welfare To Work.  Under a contract with Contra Costa's AOD, Ujima Family Services has a new mother-child program in Central County, called Ujima Central.  Its convenient brand-new facility is on Treat Boulevard in Concord. The services include professional group and individual alcohol and drug counseling, peer support, parenting education, on-site cooperative child care for pre-schoolers and toddlers, and help accessing transportation, safety planning, vocational assistance, trauma therapy, children's developmental services, and medical and psychiatric care. Ujima Central joins the "family" of Ujima programs consisting of the 3 outpatient programs, 2 residential mother-child programs, The Rectory and La Casa Ujima, and The Children's Program for children and teens from families coping with substance use.  

For more information contact: Patty Shirley at 925-691-5083




SPIRIT is a nine unit college accredited course offered through Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services in partnership with Mental Health Consumer Concerns (MHCC) at Contra Costa College in San Pablo that teaches consumers how to be Peer Support Providers. Although you must have received or currently be receiving mental health services, many of our students who participate also experience homelessness and/or alcohol and other drug addictions/recovery.  

Douglas Halpern

Douglas Halpern, Mental Health Community Support Worker, SPIRIT 2012 Valedictorian

Image Courtesy of Arsenio Escudero, CCC Administrators Office


SPIRIT begins annually in January and ends in late July, and

includes a six-week internship at participating behavioral health agencies in Contra Costa County. Upon completion, students are awarded a certificate of achievement that is recognized and valued by many mental health service providers in the county.


SPIRIT classes begin annually in January and end in late July. The program includes a six week internship at participating behavioral health agencies in Contra Costa County. Upon completion, students are awarded a certificate of achievement that is recognized and valued by many mental health service providers in the county.  


The curriculum includes:  



  Expert speakers on mental health & community resources       Comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery training
  Support programs for consumers who want to work as  peer providers in the mental health field
  Classroom instruction with on the job experience through an internship at a local behavioral health organization
  Wellness tools for addiction & mental health recovery


Below are promotional materials and an application that we encourage you to share with those you serve to inform them about our exciting program. We encourage you to print out these materials and distribute them widely. 


Applications deadline for the SPIRIT program is:

Friday, October 12, 2012 

Completed Applications should be sent to:

Contra Costa Health Services,

Office of Consumer Empowerment

1340 Arnold Drive, Suite 200, Martinez, CA 94553. 

Fax 925-957-5156 


For a SPIRIT brochure, click here.

For a SPIRIT flyer, click here

For a SPIRIT application, click here


For more information contact:



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Destination HomeHouse


Destination Home is a project spearheaded by the Contra Costa Behavioral Health Homeless Program to provide 12 scattered-site, permanent supportive housing units for chronically homeless individuals with mental, physical, and/or developmental disabilities. Participants of the project will receive a housing subsidy as well as wrap-around services to help stabilize their lives. Case management, benefits assistance services, and access to peer support groups are all part of a larger continuum of services that will allow participants to address many of the issues that led to their homelessness and move towards their vision of recovery. Other benefits of the program will include health and life skills education, as well as, crisis intervention and counseling. Destination Home is anticipated to open Spring 2013.


For additional information, please contact:  

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Marijuana and Nonmedical Use of Psychotherapeutics Have
Highest Rates of Past Year Abuse or Dependence Among U.S. Residents
NIDA Image 2
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse


An estimated 7.1 million persons aged 12 or older met the criteria for past year illicit drug abuse or dependence in 2010, according to data from the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Of these, 63.0%-more than 4.4 million-were classified with marijuana or hashish abuse or dependence, 33.5% met the criteria for abuse or dependence on psychotherapeutics used nonmedically (primarily pain relievers), and 14.1% abused or were dependent on cocaine. These findings parallel those of national treatment admissions, which show that the majority of illicit drug admissions are for marijuana and that admissions for marijuana and opiates other than heroin (i.e., prescription pain relievers) have been increasing in recent years.

CESAR FAX, Volume 21, Issue 30. Detailed Tables, 2011. Click here for detailied tables.  

For more information contact: 



Contra Costa's Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board has partnered with the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) which conducts and disseminates high-quality research in epidemiology of alcohol consumption and problems, alcohol health services research, and alcohol policies to implement the "What Is Recovery?" project.


The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is directed by Dr. Lee Ann Kaskutas, a Senior Scientist at the Alcohol Research Group, which is part of the Public Health Institute (PHI). The project has been approved by the PHI committee for the protection of human research subjects.


What Is Recovery? includes participants completing a web-based survey about your definition of recovery. You do not have to provide any personal identifying information to participate in this web survey. It is anonymous, which means that we will not be able to identify you as having participated in the study, and we will not be able to link your answers to you. Answers to the web survey are also confidential. We hear the term recovery often, yet it is difficult to define. Many former problem drinkers and other substance users who are now trying to pursue an improved way of living, say that they are "in recovery." Yet with its frequent use, there is no agreed-upon definition of the term recovery. For instance:

  • Does recovery require abstinence?
  • Can someone be "in recovery" if they are still drinking or using?
  • Is recovery more than just being clean and sober? If so, how is that defined?

To be eligible to participate in the project, you must be at least 18 years of age and consider yourself as being in recovery from an alcohol or drug problem. If you are in recovery or know someone who is, take the 20-minute survey at:


For more information

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Behavioral Health Connection



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National Alcohol and
Drug Addiction Recovery Month   
BOS Photo

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Proclamation on

Tuesday September 11, 2012

This year's theme, "It's Simple: RECOVERY is Worth it" emphasizes that while the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of overcoming mental and/or substance use disorders are significant and valuable to individuals, families, and communities. People in recovery achieve healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, and contribute in positive ways to their communities. By increasing awareness and information about the treatment resources available, we can provide healing, hope and support to those who bravely embark in a lifelong journey towards recovery.


The Alcohol and Other Drugs Services of Behavioral Health Division in partnership with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board, Support4Recovery and a number of other community-based organizations is now in its 8th year of participation. Events this year included the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Proclamation on Tuesday September 11 and on Saturday, September 15th, people in recovery and their families participated in the 8th Countywide Recovery Walk at the Martinez Waterfront. This year was especially different in that Homeless and Mental Health program staff such as: Office of Consumer Empowerment, Forensic Team, and West County Children Mental Health participated in the Walk embracing behavioral health integration efforts.


Free T-shirts, lunch and fun activities for the children were distributed to participants. CCTV joined the effort by airing multiple television programming. The Recovery Month observance is just one way we reach out to the public with a clear and loud message that treatment is EFFECTIVE and RECOVERY is possible.


To read the signed proclamation, click here.  


For more information  

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Mental Health
Awareness Week (10/7-10/13)


Green BrainMental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual observance established by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1990 to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the observance affords an excellent opportunity for networks of consumers/survivors and other advocates to bring home important messages about dignity, recovery, social inclusion, and opportunity as a right for all people with behavioral health conditions.


During the week of celebration, there are specific days acknowledged such as World Mental Health Day on October 10th which raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named this year's day "Depression: A Global Crisis".


According to the WHO, depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.


Held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October is National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) on October 11th which raises awareness and screens people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders.


For additional resources on Mental Health Awareness Week visit:

SAMHSA Mental Health Awareness Week Guide


For more information contact:  

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Happy Halloween



Happy Halloween Pumpkin Latern

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Available Resources for You or Your Clients


 Center for Human Development

"The Empowerment Project" supporting LGBTQ Youth in East County

Location: Antioch, California, Wednesdays, 4:30-6:30 pm

Contact: Dominique 925-753-1004 x105



Mental Health Community Concerns Community & Wellness Center

"The Poetry Slam for 18-29 yrs. LGBTQI2-S with MH Issues in a Coffee House Atmosphere."

Location: Concord, California, Tuesdays 2-3:30.

Contact: Chelsey at 925-521-1230 or



Rainbow Community Center

Location: Concord, California

Contact: 925-692-0090


Resources: General Information | Counseling | Youth Program | Senior Outreach | Kind Hearts


RYSE Center LGBTQ Youth (Alphabet) Drop-in Support Group

Location: Richmond, California, Tuesdays: 4:30 - 600 pm


Click here for facebook link


The BrownBoi Project

A community of masculine of center women, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and our allies committed to transforming our privilege of masculinity, gender, and race into tools for achieving Racial and Gender Justice.  

Location: Oakland, California



For more information please visit the Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services LGBTQI2-S Inclusion Initiative:  

HealingCuisineHealing Cuisine

 Jalapeno Cornbread   

 Jalapeno Cornbread

Yields: 8-10 servings 

 1 c. of cornmeal               

1 egg (beaten)

1 c. of flour                        

 1 c. buttermilk

1/2 tbsp. baking powder 

1/3 c. oil

1/2 c. sugar                            

1/2 c. chopped jalapeno rings                  

1 tsp. salt                               

1/2 c. Frozen corn (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, add all your dry ingredients. Add oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Mix with a spoon until mixture is smooth. Add jalapenos and corn to the mixture. Pour batter into a well-oiled 9x9 baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Cut and serve. Great with chili, or soups! Enjoy!


Questions? Contact: 

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HealingCuisineHealing Cuisine

 Tortilla Soup  


Tortilla Soup

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1c. black beans *(dry or canned)

1c. stewed tomatoes

1c. frozen whole kernel corn

1 clove of minced garlic

1 diced onion

2 bay leaves

1tsp. ground cumin

2tsp. chili powder

2Tbsp. chicken bullion



In a large saucepan, bring to a boil the chicken breasts, bullion, bay leaf, onion, and garlic. Remove chicken from pot and cool. Dice the chicken and add back into the pot. Add tomatoes, onions, and black beans. Boil on medium heat for 1 hour. Add corn to the soup mixture for the last ten minutes. Serve in bowls topped with shredded Monterey jack cheese and tortilla chips. Great for a cool fall day. Warms the heart and the tummy!


*If the beans are dry, you may need to soak them for four hours first.


Questions? Contact: 

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Behavioral Health Connection Newsletter

Courtesy of the Communications Design Team and

the Research & Evaluation Unit