Mental Health Initiative Community Programming

Thank you to all of the library teams that participated in the Mental Health Initiative Compassion in Action in 2020. Libraries received a set of mental health awareness books to add their collection (See the 2020 Mental Health Initiative Booklist), four months of online, interactive training and the opportunity to work with a community partner to produce public programming. Community programs were originally designed as in-person events to be held during the month of May as part of Mental Health Awareness month. However, in March 2020, plans were modified due to the coronavirus. In spite of these challenges, most participating libraries were able to adapt and produce virtual community programs. Below are a few models for exemplary community programming. Contact information, community partners, program descriptions, and media are included. To learn more and explore the training, please visit the Building Compassionate Communities modules on the Infopeople Niche Academy.

Alameda County Library

Contact: Rachel Sher
Community Partner: Claremont EAP Behavioral Services
Program name: Virtual Support Group Series
Short description (for the public): Is the stress of this difficult time weighing on you? Come connect with others and speak to an experienced counselor, who is available to listen, provide support, and offer suggestions for coping skills in a confidential small group setting. Register for one or all of the following sessions: 

  1. Session 1: (Friday, June 26, 12-1:30pm): Are you struggling to find work/ life balance while working from home? Share your struggles (on this, or any other topic) with others who might be going through the same thing. 
  2. Session 2: (Monday, June 29, 7-8:30pm): Are you struggling to cope with the isolation that sheltering in place has caused? Share your struggles (on this, or any other topic) with others who might be going through the same thing.
  3. Session 3: (Tuesday, June 30, 4-5:30pm): Are you struggling to manage stress while navigating the issues of police brutality and racial inequity? Share your struggles (on this, or any other topic) with others who might be going through the same thing.

Intended audience: Adults
Ideal audience size: 10-15 (registration limited to 25)
Length of sessions: 1.5 hours
When: 3 weekday sessions between June 22 – June 30. Mix of afternoon and evening (Noon, 4pm, 7pm)
Online Platform: GoTo Meetings 

Glendale Library, Arts & Culture

Contact: Tiffany Barrios
Community Partner: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Glendale
Program Name: In Our Own Voice Series
Program Timeline & Links: 


Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library

Contact: Deborah Niblick
Community Partner: Chinatown Service Center (CSCLA) Behavioral Health Department
Program Name: Online Mental Health Information Sessions
Description: See comprehensive flyer below. Updated July 21, 2020 with recorded sessions.
Recorded Sessions (also embedded below): Signs of Depression & Anxiety Recorded Session | Assisting Youth During a Crisis Recorded Session

Monterey Park Online Mental Health Information Sessions

Pasadena Public Library

Contact: Jane Gov
Community Partners: Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena Mental Health Advisory Committee, NAMI San Gabriel Valley, Day One, Doug Frankel, and Heritage Clinics
Program Name: Summer Recovery: Mental Health Awareness & Wellness series
Description: See comprehensive flyer below.

San Diego Public Library 

Contact: Joseph Miesner
Community Partner: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) San Diego
Program Name: The Literacy of Lived Experience: A Mental Health Speakers Video Project
In partnership with San Diego Public Library, NAMI San Diego will create a virtual speaker series of four (4) five to ten-minute video shorts on the themes of lived experience of mental health, mental wellness and self-care. These video shorts will provide an overview of experiencing mental illness from first-person, personal, family, parental and professional perspectives and will cover the following topics:

  • Mental Health Myths, Facts and the Shape of Recovery
  • Positive & Personal, Family Education and Peer Support
  • Parenting Through Mental Health Challenges
  • Caregiving & Compassion: Effective Tools for Self-care

Read more about the Literacy of Lived Experience: a Mental Health Speakers Video Project.

See the final project here. The first video in the series can also be found embedded below.

About the Mental Health Initiative

The Mental Health Initiative project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.