August 2019 SafeSpace Spotlight

It is a tremendous time for SafeSpace and we wanted to spotlight some of our current achievements.

San Mateo Grand Opening

On August 15th, we are excited to host the Grand Opening of our newest SafeSpace Center in San Mateo. Our Youth Action Board has expanded to include many young people from San Mateo, including middle school youth. They are already hard at work on many different outreach initiatives and are led by our new Associate Director Patrick Northover.

1440 Foundation Grant

SafeSpace is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a two-year grant from the 1440 Foundation to support the launch of SafeSpace’s new Social Impact Initiative. This new SafeSpace initiative will reach out to and empower underserved youth in San Mateo County to create communities of support. By engaging and educating underserved youth in the settings they live, SafeSpace will promote emotional well-being and mental health awareness. Safespace will also provide a sense of belonging and peer support to youth suffering from isolation, challenging cultural experiences, trauma, and other mental health-related challenges. Thank you 1440 for your generous support!

Safespace Support Line

In partnership with 7 Cups, SafeSpace recently launched a free, 24/7, non-emergency text support app where teens can promptly engage with a trained, compassionate, non-judgmental listener on a number of mental-health related topics. The platform is also accessible in multiple languages. This smartphone app is basically a supportive friend in one’s pocket. When the listener says they know how one feels, they actually do. Many listeners specialize in a specific area of depression or anxiety such as body-image and relationship issues. These listeners have faced similar problems themselves, and know how to deal with these issues from experience. One youth board member commented, “Anyone can access the app, and it’s a great way to take the first steps toward seeking help.” 

To access 7 Cups, go to https://www.7cups.com/p/safespace/

Introducing Our New SafeSpace Associate Director, Patrick Northover

We are pleased to announce Patrick Northover as our new Associate Director at SafeSpace. Patrick earned a B.A. in English at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, an M.A. in English at Boston College, and a Single Subject Teaching Credential at San Jose State University. He is a Krause Center for Innovation MERIT Fellow, and has completed extensive educator training with MindfulSchools.org.

“While working as a teacher in San Mateo County public schools, I became aware of the severe consequences of mental health issues in the community. This inspired me to partner with school administrators to pilot numerous mental health initiatives–including a wellness elective and a mindfulness curriculum–that have benefited hundreds of students. As soon as I began these initiatives, I saw a positive impact. I saw students, if only for a moment here and there, relax, breathe, and find some calm during our stressful days. Students also reported to me that mindfulness helped them cope with difficult emotions. I was hooked on mental health education. I have seen firsthand how challenging life can be for young people struggling to maintain their mental health. I have also seen how information, resources, and community can significantly help people with these challenges. This is why I am now so excited and so grateful to be part of this organization. I believe SafeSpace can and will help thousands of people who are affected by mental health issues.” 

SafeSpace Youth Action Board Update

As SafeSpace embarks on our third year, we are experiencing a significant expansion of our teen mental health initiatives throughout our community and on social media. Many SafeSpace teens who spearheaded new programs have now taken on additional leadership roles within SafeSpace, in their communities, and in their schools. This summer we introduced several SafeSpace workshops. All teen board members are now required to attend the new “Empathetic Listening” and “Helping A Friend” workshops which train them to listen intently to peers and to respond appropriately to those in a crisis. These presentations have been so well received that we have been asked to present at the Menlo-Atherton HIgh School freshman orientation in addition to the 2019 Teen Wellness Conference.


Over the past year, SafeSpace Youth Action members created a “SafeSpace Digital Cookbook.” This digital publication was written for teens by teens on how to start mental health advocacy and awareness programs in their own communities. 

Several SafeSpace teens were featured in mental health first aid videos produced for the National Council for Behavioral Health. These videos are being shared around the country through the Born This Way Foundation. One of our teens also shared a compelling story on loneliness which was broadcast on National Public Radio in May during Mental Health Awareness month. Here is the link to the eight-minute segment produced by SafeSpace (unaffiliated) radio. 

SafeSpace New Conversations Videos: Season 2

This summer we are once again working with the Riekes Center to produce short mental health films focused on help-seeking. These short videos feature peer-to-peer, teen-to-mentor and cross-generation family conversations which aim to break down barriers and stigma regarding mental health challenges, and to provide models of support that others can follow. We anticipate these films will be released to our community and on social media in September 2019. Thank you to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Community Fund for their generous support of this project.

Sobrato, Brisson Grant

Many thanks to Sheri Sobrato Brisson and her husband Eric Brisson for awarding a two-year grant to SafeSpace to continue to support youth in our community and to support the expansion to Northern San Mateo County. This grant will enable our Youth Action Board members to develop youth mental health and wellness initiatives in our surrounding communities.

SafeSpace Adult Alliance

Our SafeSpace Youth Board assembled a special advisory group of community and business leaders called the SafeSpace Adult Alliance. This group was formed to gain support for student-led initiatives and created a dialogue between students, school administrators and community leaders. Alliance leaders were nominated by SafeSpace youth who value these leaders in their communities. These individuals provide connections to other leaders, and bring their own professional experience to SafeSpace projects while also helping our youth become stronger leaders themselves. Some examples of these collaborative efforts include SafeSpace teens working with the Menlo Park Police Chief on a youth advisory focus group, the development of a community information board on teen mental health services, and the creation of a parent informational sheet on teen mental health issues to be distributed to schools, community centers, and libraries. We plan to spearhead a new San Mateo Adult Alliance in the coming months. 


Recent Press Coverage

From all of us at Safespace Center,
thank you for your continued support.

For more information, please contact Managing Director,
Lesley Martin: lmartin@safespace.org
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