Public safety and mental health go hand in hand — that was the message at the Many Faces of Public Safety event held Wednesday at the Star Theater in Oceanside.
“Today’s event is to bring people together in collaborative efforts to have a dialogue on problem solving and partnerships on how to improve society for all, through the language of mental health,” said Lived Experiences founder Oscarin Ortega.
The event was organized by the Northern District organization, which provides support to underserved communities. Speakers at the event discussed mental health and the barriers that prevent people from seeking help.
“In a lot of cultures, including my own, if I said to somebody, ‘Hey, you need to go talk to somebody,’ that’s pretty much what I said to them. It’s like saying bad words or cursing,” he said. Beto Vasquez. .
He does community outreach for UC San Diego and encourages talking about mental health.
“The more we have these conversations in public, the more we normalize that mental health is just as important as your physical health,” Vasquez said.
Talking about mental health is one step, but having professionals in the field is another hurdle, said Mano a Mano Foundation director Beatriz Villarreal.
“We have a huge need right now … it’s very difficult to find someone who is culturally sensitive, who understands where you’re coming from, not just someone who speaks Spanish,” she said. “It’s someone who really understands where you’re coming from.”
Speakers shared experiences and information with an audience that included Oceanside Police Chief Fred Armijo.
“In a sense, it made me wish that something like this (event) could be something that more of my entire department could experience. Not because I think my department needs it, but everyone could benefit from it.” her,” he said. “But I would like to see the interactions between people here and the connection that could happen.”
Armijo said mental health is an important topic to discuss because the calls his department receives almost always have a mental health component.