County of Marin - News Releases - Rare Insight into Those Living with Mental Illness

For Immediate Release
May 03, 2018

Rare Insight into Those Living with Mental Illness

Challenge Day on May 18 is part of Mental Health Awareness Month

San Rafael, CA– In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Marin County Department of Health and Human Services’ Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division (BHRS) is hosting a series of May events – including a unique shadowing experience – in conjunction with its partners.

On Friday, May 18, BHRS is hosting its first Challenge Day. Modeled after similar events, the occasion asks for participants to spend a full day in the life of someone with a mental illness. Recruited and selected participants such as Health and Human Services Director Dr. Grant Colfax, BHRS Director Dr. Jei Africa, San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop and local elected officials will take part in the shadowing experience. A guide will take participants on a visit to a clinic, a school dropoff or pickup, or anywhere else the community member typically has on his or her schedule.

Challenge Day will be a great opportunity for participating elected and organizational leaders in Marin County to get a first-hand experience and insight into the typical daily life of one of our vulnerable community residents who are involved in our County’s behavioral health service system,” said HHS Program Manager Cesar Lagleva.

All those experiences and insights will be collected and shared at a debriefing session on May 23 at the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, at 1510 Fifth Avenue, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The session will include a moderated discussion and an opportunity to ask questions. This will open to all, even those who didn’t have a chance to participate in Challenge Day, but an electronic RSVP is requested.

To kick off Mental Health Awareness Month, a special event is set for Monday, May 7, that will feature many activities from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the County’s Health and Wellness Campus at 3240 Kerner Boulevard in San Rafael. The day’s festivities include an opening art reception, a play focused on bullying and a healing circle. Health and Human Services (HHS) is co-hosting the event with Community Action Marin.

Lastly, throughout the month, people can listen to a special series on TAY Radio Marin every Friday morning at 7.a.m. The Transition-Age Youth (TAY) program is provided by the nonprofit Sunny Hills Services and delivers services to young people aged 16-25 who are living with mental health challenges. Program topics will address the benefits of music on self-healing and how to expose at-risk youths to educational and cultural experiences within their communities and abroad.

For more information about Challenge Day or other Mental Health Awareness Month events, contact BHRS Program Manager Cesar Lagleva at CLagleva at or 415-473-2662.

All year long, BHRS offers prevention and early intervention for those with mental illnesses plus suicide prevention and crisis services to all residents of Marin. BHRS provides outpatient, residential and hospital care addressing specialty mental health and substance use service needs of Marin Medi-Cal beneficiaries and uninsured residents. The BHRS Access Line is available to answer questions about services, arrange appointments and make referrals. It can be reached at 888-818-1115 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Cesar Lagleva
Program Manager

Dr. Jei Africa
Program Director

Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Department of Health and Human Services

20 North San Pedro Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 846-3789
(415) 473-3166 F
(415) 473-3232 TTY
Email: Cesar Lagleva
Marin HHS webpage