Mana is a Pacific Islander concept that represents a connection to and spirit of a higher power (e.g., gods, ancestors, the universe). This concept is used to promote a holistic view of wellness (body, mind, and soul) among the Pacific Islander populations. The Essence of MANA Program aims to increase awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and create access to care and services among the Pacific Islander population, with a particular focus on Samoans and Tongans, in North San Mateo County (SMC). We believe it takes a village to raise a child and to create change in our community. Our goal is to reach caregivers and youth (ages 3-17) and begin conversations on taboo topics that impact our community wellness including: domestic violence, rape/molestation, substance abuse, and mental and physical health. Through conversation, education and resource building, all parts of the family can begin a healing process to wellness.
The program is funded by the California Department of Public Health, California Reducing Disparities Project for 5 years starting March 2017