May Shared Plate Recipient – Ohana Monterey

“Ohana” is a Hawaiian word meaning “family” in its broadest sense – not just immediate and extended family but the community of love and support surrounding every individual. In the spirit of Ohana, everyone is family, and caring for the whole family is the heart of the Ohana model.

There is an urgent need for mental health care for the youth in our area with a recent student survey in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District revealing that one in three students suffered depression-related feelings and one in six students considered suicide. Ohana aims to help the children, youth and parents of our community by offering multiple services. These include free classes, workshops and support groups for children, teens, parents, teachers and community members and a large number of resources aimed at building the mental fitness of parents and their growing children and youth.

In addition, they offer outpatient care delivered by a multidisciplinary team including child psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, occupational therapists, art and music therapists and others. They also have after school treatment, full day treatment and residential programs if more intensive treatment is needed. Their executive director, Dr. Susan Swick states that, “In addition to effectively treating illness, if we can partner with caring adults to build mental fitness, we will be contributing to the greater health in children and well-being in families.” Ohana strives to help create a community in which every child can flourish because they and their families have the knowledge, skills and support they need to grow into healthy and resilient adults.

On a personal note, as a pediatrician in our community I have seen many of my children and youth affected by mental health concerns and crisis and the top-notch resources and services provided by Ohana have been invaluable to their care and recovery. Please consider donating to this worthy organization.

Their emergency stabilization programs are in a youth-friendly setting with services that focus on supporting the full family through a crisis.

Thank you.
Andrea Rivas