In the Limelight: Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health

Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement is supported by the outstanding work performed by counties across the state. A recent RAND report shows that through local and statewide efforts California counties are at the forefront in breaking down barriers so all Californians can live mentally well. Each day, our county partners work in communities to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness as well as raise awareness about the services available to their residents.

We begin our snapshot series of these outstanding efforts in our counties with a look at Fresno County.

Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health raised awareness about mental health stigma in the farming community by collaborating with California Ag Today news reporter Heidi Vernon to produce the award-winning audio series, “Fresno County Mental Health.” The series took an in-depth look at California farmers who have built their lives around their farming operations and stressors that may cause despair to their mental

Division Manager for the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health, Karen Markland, spoke about the mental health challenges experienced by the farming community who is severely impacted by the California drought and water restrictions.

The Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) held the 22nd Annual Journalism Awards at the organization’s Celebrating Friends of Agriculture social where it awarded Vernon and the mental health series the Audio Award. Listen to the CA Ag Today interview and get the transcript.

classroomIn the spring of 2016 Fresno County hosted Walk In Our Shoes, a 30-minute school-based performance using real stories from teens and young adults to teach 9-13 year olds about mental health challenges and mental health wellness. The tour stopped at three schools in Fresno County reaching more than 700 educators and youth. Check out their recap video and visit for online resources.


Fresno County youth also played an important role in raising awareness on mental health. Local student filmmakers participated in the statewide Directing Change Program and Film Contest. Young people from local schools and programs submitted more than 20 entries into the statewide competition. These films were also honored in a local ceremony on May 31 at the Tower Theater in Fresno. View local films here.


Fresno County also spread messages of wellness and recovery through the Art in My Recovery – Art Hop, an annual event held at the Fresno Arts Council in downtown Fresno. Art from this year’s event as well as submission information can be found on their website.


For more information on Fresno County and to stay in-the-know on events, click here.

For related content: Each Mind Matters: Out and About