Building the Behavioral Health Workforce

Workforce Education & Training (WET) helps Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) develop programs to build and expand the public behavioral health workforce. WET also addresses the need to increase cultural diversity and linguistic capacity in the county’s system to better reflect the population of the communities served. Projects are funded by the Mental Health Services Act.

Sanjida Mazid, WET Manager with BHCS, tells us more:

Question: Why is it important to introduce high school students to mental health careers?

Ms. Mazid: Career building is a process and starts at an early age. So, we need to reach students while they are figuring out their career and education goals. We are planting the seeds to inspire students to stay in school, pursue a career in mental health, and ultimately serve people in their own communities.

Question: How are you reaching out to students in public high schools?

Ms. Mazid: “High School Career Pathways” is an initiative that has really blossomed. We partner with community organizations to reach African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian and Pacific Islander students about careers in Building the Behavioral Health Workforce mental health and substance use. We also support their education and career goals through work-based learning.

Question: What are examples of some programs?

Ms. Mazid: La Clínica de La Raza has a FACES Behavioral Health Pathways Academy at Life Academy High School. Internships at mental health organizations are included.

BHCS recently hosted a series of “Bright Young Minds Conferences” to introduce youth to behavioral health careers. Over 350 students from diverse populations were able to meet and be mentored by mental health professionals. The students also broke down stigma surrounding mental health and learned about their own physical and mental wellness.

For information contact:
Sanjida Mazid,
Workforce Education and Training Manager
(510) 567-8071


Sanjida Mazid, left; Tomás Magaña, right.
Photo by Paul Takayanagi.

Tomás Magaña, MD, MA
Founder & Director, FACES
for the Future Coalition

“We encourage youth to enter mental health and health careers. Low income and minority teens understand the experience of what it means to be ‘other.’ This enables them to empathize with the people they serve.”

It is important to expose linguistically and ethnically diverse high school students to mental health careers. Students learn about a wide range of options from certificate programs to college doctorate degrees.


Photo by Paul Takayanagi.

Photo by Tue Nam Ton.
Jordan Clark
High School Senior, Bright Young Minds participant

“At Bright Young Minds, I learned the difference between brain intelligence and heart intelligence. You have to bring caring to what you do. I want to be a psychology major and possibly be a therapist or psychologist.”
   Fernanda Maya
Teen in La Clínica/FACES Behavioral Health Pathways Academy

“It was good doing internships. Staff treat people with a mental illness with dignity and respect. We should never judge people for what they do. They may struggle with things we don’t know about.”



From the Director's Desk

Building the Behavioral Health Workforce

Wellness and Work Go Hand in Hand

Peers: Transforming Hurt to Help

Employer Spotlight
Employment and Education Resources

Family Partners

Ashley King

Mental Health Information & Resources

CRISIS & URGENT CARE and Support Services

What is the Mental Health Services Act?
Employment Supports Wellness

2014 MHSA Articles
2015 Summer MHSA Articles
2015 Fall/Winter MHSA Articles