Public safety and mental health go hand in hand — that was the message Wednesday at the public safety multifaceted event at the Star Theater in Oceanside.
Oscarin Ortega, Founder of Lived Experiences, said, “Today’s event is a collaborative effort to discuss problem solving and partnerships on how to improve society for everyone through the language of mental health. It’s about getting people together.
The event was hosted by a North County organization that provides assistance to underserved communities. Speakers at the event spoke about mental health and the barriers that keep people from seeking help.
“In many cultures, including my own, if I say to someone, ‘Hey, I need to talk to someone,’ it’s like I said a bad word or profanity to them. It kind of pissed off ,” Beto Vasquez said.
He does community outreach for the University of California, San Diego, encouraging people to talk about mental health.
“The more public these conversations are, the more normalized that mental health is just as important as physical health,” Vasquez said.
Talking about mental health is one step, but having a professional in the field is another hurdle.
“We are in great need right now. It is very difficult to find someone who is not only Spanish-speaking, but who is also culturally sensitive and understands where you are coming from.” someone who really understands where it comes from.”
Speakers shared experiences and information with the audience, including Oceanside Police Chief Fred Armijo.
“In a way, I wanted something like this[event]to be something my whole department could experience.” I think I want to do.”
Armijo says mental health is an important topic to discuss because most of the calls his department receives have a mental health component.