Breaking Down Barriers is an outreach and education program that works with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQIA+ community to talk about mental wellness. Through educational workshops and events, we discuss the stigma of mental health and connect participants to helpful resources. We also provide cultural humility/cultural competency training to community members and providers who work with these populations. We want to normalize conversations about mental wellness so everyone can thrive.
This is strictly an educational program, and we do not provide diagnoses or serve as licensed therapists.
Every community has a different perspective on mental wellness. We’re here to amplify your voice and add our expertise to the conversations already happening in our communities. Our educational workshops use a strengths-based approach to help you develop a positive relationship with your own mental health and support the wellness of your loved ones. Presentations are available in English, Spanish, and interpretation is available in other languages as needed. The workshop content can be adapted for youth, adults, and older adults/elders.
Here’s a few topics we can talk about:
Our Outreach Team collaborates with community organizations to develop and present workshops. We facilitate stigma reducing and interactive conversations to normalize mental health in a supportive environment, through a culturally relevant lens. No matter your current knowledge of mental health topics, our program is accessible for everyone and is tailored to reflect the values of our communities.
1 in 5
adults in the U.S. experience mental health issues in any given year*
*National Alliance on Mental Illness
Dalia Alabid (she/her/hers) is the Mental Health Educator for the Middle Eastern Community. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology along with two associate degrees in social behavioral sciences. She helped U.S. Army in their mission in Iraq &she also worked as a Refugee Case Manager. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family& friends, being in nature, and reading.
Isabella Amansec (they/them/she/her) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Islander Community. Isabella is a first-generation Filipino and is the child of immigrants from the Philippines. They have a background in youth counseling and social justice advocacy. Outside of work, Isabella enjoys attending local BIPOC-hosted events, cooking, and painting.
Marcia Hunter (she/her) is the Data Specialist for Breaking Down Barriers. She is a proud member of the Three Affiliated Tribes from North Dakota. She is Arikara, Mandan, and Northern Cheyenne. She has a background in Suicide Awareness and Community Engagement. Outside of work, Marcia enjoys exploring National Park with her family and learning traditional ways of beading.
Briana Leyva (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Latinx Community. She is the daughter of immigrants from Guerrero, Mexico. Her background lies in mental health and health advocacy. She is passionate about holistic wellness, health equity, and community involvement. Outside of work, Briana enjoys spending time with loved ones and being outdoors.
Lily Mojdehi (she/her/hers) is the On Call Specialist. She is the daughter of two immigrants from Iran and was born and raised in San Diego. She has a background in crisis counseling and youth engagement. Outside of work, she enjoys dancing, being in nature, and volunteering throughout San Diego County.
John Mollet (He/Him/His) is the Outreach Coordinator for the Native American Community. He is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Tribes of Montana. His background lies in Native American student advocacy. Outside of work, he enjoys zine-making and hanging out with his family.
Vanessa Pineda (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Manager and the Outreach Coordinator for the LGBTQ+ Community. She is a multi-generational Latinx Queer with a background in mental health and vocational rehabilitation. When not at work, she enjoys arranging flowers, tending to her house plants, and baking.
Spshelle Rutledge (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the African American/Black Community. She is a Marine Corps veteran who specializes in mental health and public health. Outside of work, Spshelle enjoys time with loved ones and volunteering.
Bethlehem Wolkeba (she/her/hers) is the Outreach Coordinator for the African/Refugee Community. She is the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants and she was born and raised in San Diego/Kumeyaay land. Her background is in student counseling, mental health, and social justice with an emphasis in health equity. Outside of work, she enjoys painting, spending time with loved ones, and being outdoors.
Moving Forward Together
Contact us online or call JFS Access at (858) 637-3210 to find out how we can help you move forward.
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