Communities in South Stockton have been plagued with poverty, violence, and disinvestment for decades, leading to extraordinary levels of trauma. Building on our existing, resident-led cross-sector collaborative and networks, we are making Stockton a trauma-responsive community, with more sufficient mental and behavioral health supports for residents, through three primary strategies: 1) implementing the Trauma Transformed program at scale to shift our major resident-serving systems into healing environments; 2) increasing access to and programming in parks as mental health supports; and 3) empowering residents and community leaders to advocate for more mental and behavioral health resources.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


Our project brings the institutional power of public and private health systems to bear to increase the power of community voice, supporting residents to develop and implement community-led policy change strategies. The overarching policy goal is to shift toward increased public investment in mental and behavioral health care and community parks as healthy spaces.


Our proposal focuses on access to vibrant, community-filled parks and green spaces, advocacy to increase behavioral and mental health care resources, and making our community-serving systems more trauma-informed and trauma-responsive. Our vision for resident-driven policy change is that South Stockton reaches equity in parks and open space with the rest of San Joaquin County, and that systems are responsive to their clients’ existing trauma rather than exacerbating it.


Institutions, agencies, and community leaders in South Stockton and San Joaquin County have spent years building relationships, trust, collaborative capacity, and shared goals to improve the health of our communities. Our unified countywide community health needs assessment and community health improvement plan lay out a set of shared goals and strategies to increase mental health care services and activate local parks. This project carries the work forward to address larger challenges.


South Stockton residents are engaged at every stage of this project, including selection of the policy goals and strategies that will be pursued around parks and mental health services. In addition to the design teams and working groups that will participate in the direct policy evaluation and advocacy work, the project team plans community data learning and interpretation workshops and also workshops on funding and decision-making that engage larger numbers of community members.


Data is an essential part of our model for community engagement and advocacy. We are holding multiple community data learning and interpretation workshops, where South Stockton residents are invited to assess comparative data on parks and mental health services. Resident advocacy teams review data as they decide on their strategies and develop persuasive communications for increased funding and policy change.