Behavioral Health and Recovery Services SWITCH TOOLKIT - Issue 1

In this issue

  • Welcome
  • Our New Name
  • Our New Logo
  • About Branding / Rebranding
  • "Signs" of the times
  • Coming Up

It's all about people...

PEOPLE who care. Giving PEOPLE hope. Helping PEOPLE RECOVER.

Because RECOVERY is what we do.

Welcome to the first installment of the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services logo switch toolkit!

Inside this bi-weekly newsletter, we will discuss tips and tricks for making the switch from the "Kern County Mental Health Department" to Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. It's your guide to making the switch easy and positive for staff members, community partners and clients.

There's an awful lot to be done leading up to the switch. Logos need to be changed. Flyers, brochures and stationary need to be redesigned. Signage at all of our facilities will need to be changed.

But the most important task ahead of us will be communicating our name change and what it means to staff, partners, schools, and the community. We will need to make it perfectly clear, not only THAT we've made this change, but WHY we've changed and how it will be a good thing for these groups.

This newsletter is designed to help you through this transition. To provide information, updates, and tricks to make this a successful transition. Our hope is that over the next 8 weeks or so, We will be able to prepare you to talk to partners, clients and the public about exactly who we are and what we do.

How did we get here?

It all started with a name change. At the end of 2015 and through 2016, there was much discussion about a new name and what it should be. Stakeholders were included and the needs of the department were weighed against making a change.

After some time, it was determined that we did, in fact, need a new name, logo and public identity.

It was also important to find a name that included the S.U.D. and Mental Health "sides of the house" with one title. A name that included not only the healing of mental health issues, but of substance use issues, and that provides people with a more "comprehensive" understanding of what we do. Helping individuals recover from their issues, no matter what they be, certainly since mental health and substance use issues often go hand in hand in one way or another.

We believe we found that name with Behavioral Health and Recovery. By using a term like Behavioral Health, we are not labeling ourselves as "Mental Health" or "Substance Use" alone. We are including any of these things that can effect the "Human Condition" for the worse.

We treat people, not conditions. By including recovery in the title, we illustrate that we are here to help others recover. To overcome what "ails" them together. Some of the other logic behind our new name is below:

  • The term "Behavioral Health" is a way of being inclusive. Behavioral health includes not only ways of promoting well-being by preventing or intervening in mental illness such as depression or anxiety, but also has as an aim preventing or intervening in substance abuse or other addictions.
  • Perhaps the term "behavioral health" is less stigmatized than "mental health," so a kinder, gentler name opens doors that might otherwise remain closed for whatever reason.
  • Behavior is an aspect of identity that can be changed, so "behavioral health" might be a more hopeful concept for those who experience mental illness or addiction and who may have felt that these diseases were permanent parts of their lives.
  • Including Recovery in our name is also a very deliberate choice. Recovery is what we are all about. It is our mission to help clients on their journey towards recovery. By making recovery our goal, we are making sure to treat the person and not the illness. With enough work and support, anyone can achieve recovery. It's something our family can do together.

Why a new logo?

Well, simply put, the old logo needed an update. As we change the name of the department, we want to have a logo that better represents what that name means. We also wanted a logo that was more practical for use in the many applications of today. A logo that would work as well in TV and social media as it does in print, etc.

The new logo was designed with healing and recovery in mind.

It is meant to represent whole person care. The leaves effectively surround the person (our clients) with hope, life, and the prospect of recovery (as is stated in our mission, vision and values). These things are essential to all we do. There is an element of practicality in the new design as well. The leaves help to change a round shape into something more rectangular or triangular. By doing this, we increase the amount of applications where this can be used. It also helps the logo stand out among others.

Each color represents and emotional state or feeling. We chose our new color palette of greens and blues to reflect the ideas above.

In the future, we hope this logo will:

  • Be able to build a caring brand.
  • Remain professional in it’s application.
  • Become so recognizable that one day we will only need to use the icon portion of the logo.

What does this mean to you?

In the near future, we will be making some BIG changes. New name, new logo, new letterhead, new business cards just to name a few. This newsletter will help you to become an "agent of change" for the department. Through everyone's help and outreach, we can make this transition clear to our partners and the community.

As we move further down the road to the switch date (timeline update is below). We will share specific information that will help you share this change with others in the most effective way possible.

What's in a logo? Well, a lot of thought was put into this one.
Conceptual Design: Employee entrance at Commonwealth

Timeline Update

We are all but complete with the process to change our name. We've presented the idea to the Board of Supervisors and they have approved the change pending an update to the ordinance that named our department.

This is where the tricky part comes in.

We are currently awaiting approval of a new ordinance to officially change to our new name. Once that ordinance has been drafted and approved by the Board of Supervisors an advertisement will be placed in the paper announcing that we intend to make this change and giving the community an opportunity to review the new ordinance. A 30 day "review period" is required for this. If there is no opposition to the change after this review period, we will be approved to use the new name at that time.

We may still wait a small amount after that to make sure we have had ample time to prepare on our end for a "re-branding" (to give us time to properly advertise the switch, inform partners, make logistical changes, etc.) but it looks like the switch will happen sometime in late February or early March. We hope that by the next installment of this newsletter, we will have an exact switch date to share.

Our name change and switch should happen sometime IN late february or early march. (exact date expected to come next issue)

You should start to see a large amount of promotional material hit local media and social media beginning sometime in January. We will go into more detail on that in the next newsletter as well.


To understand what we are trying to achieve when we say we are "re-branding" ourselves, we must first understand what branding is.

BRANDING: Owning a word or phrase in the mind of the customer or public.

Branding is the overall umbrella with which we sell ourselves, our services, our ideas, etc. Included under that umbrella are things like Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Media Relations, Customer Service, etc. Everything you do that touches the customer and creates an opinion of our organization or services is a part of branding.

By creating, maintaining and reinforcing our new brand through the methods described in our marketing plan, we’re able to be proactive with our messaging, and ultimately reduce or eliminate the stigma surrounding the mental health and substance use treatment communities. This allows us to better serve our constituents and create positive awareness and increased access to our offerings, services and programs.

The job becomes slightly more difficult when we consider a REBRANDING, however. When branding a new company, we are basically starting from scratch. There are no preconceived notions in the mind of the consumer to deal with.

With a REBRANDING, we have the added challenge of breaking through or eliminating the former perceptions of our organization in the public mind. We need to offer alternative perceptions that will hopefully take the place of those initial perceptions. Stigmas become a particularly tough obstacle in this regard.

That is why we have developed a detailed plan to "rebrand" our department with a combination of internal communication, advertising, marketing and public relations. By sticking closely to this plan and keeping on track, we can hopefully change the perceptions formed in our community mind to one that is more favorable to our forward direction.

“Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (formerly Kern County Mental Health) is in the business of providing “whole person” care for those afflicted with behavioral and substance use issues.”
Conceptual design of new signage - Stockdale Office

Signage: Changing our face to suit our new name.

One of the biggest tasks to be completed is the switch-over of signage from our old logo to our new. With sites and partner sites numbering in the 50s throughout the county it is a daunting task to design, order and install signs around the department.

We plan to keep this task manageable by starting with the changes slowly. We will start with the main signs outside each of our department owned buildings. We will also replace or update some of the smaller, easier to change, signs inside of each building. Below is a look at just some of the design concepts for our new building signs.

A look at some of the concepts for new signage at all of our sites.

Coming up in future newsletters

Thank you for reading this "king size" first edition of the SWITCH TOOLKIT. Look for future issues of this newsletter to inform you of more specific things related to the switch. For example:

  • How should you answer the phones once we switch?
  • How do we get new business cards?
  • What do we plan to do to get the word out about the switch?
  • What are the new rules for using the logo?
  • A look at advertising for the switch.
  • Our communication plan and how each of us can help.
  • And Much More!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by e-mail at

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