Past Workshops

2019 NAMI California Conference Workshops

NAMI Smarts

Presenters: Brenda Scott, Executive Director, NAMI Mt. San Jacinto; Bettie Reinhardt, NAMI Smarts trainer

Description: NAMI Smarts will enhance your advocacy skills and help you shape a powerful and personal story that will move policy makers. This workshop will cover a NAMI Smarts module and share tools to help grow local grassroots efforts by utilizing formats to influence policy! We encourage all individuals who would like to be more involved with advocacy to participate in this workshop.

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)

Presenter: Lawrence Reyes, Senior Community Worker, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Description: The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a system for monitoring, reducing and eliminating uncomfortable or dangerous physical and emotional difficulties. The modules are designed to equip anyone who wants to create positive change in the way they feel or increase their enjoyment of life; with relapse prevention tools as they become more actively involved in their own emotional and personal recovery. The purpose of this training is to educate DMH or Community Peers and Families about the modules of the WRAP including action planning in the areas of: a wellness toolbox, a daily maintenance list, relapse, triggers a plan for these triggers, and identifying and responding to early warning signs. Also included are: modules on crisis planning, identifying supporters and supporter tasks, identifying health care providers, and recognizing recovery. Upon completion of this training, attendees will be able to provide guidance to Peers on the elements of WRAP development.

A Queer Peer Perspective: How to Advocate for Culturally Responsive Mental Health Services

Presenters: Robyn Gantsweg, Peer Self-Advocacy Program Manager, Disability Rights California; Barbara Acosta, Peer Self-Advocacy Coordinator, Disability Rights California

Description: For the queer community, finding support for mental health issues presents unique challenges. This workshop will address these barriers to services and provide self-advocacy strategies so queer mental health clients can overcome obstacles like societal and self-stigma, advocate for their needs, and improve their treatment.


Compassion Fatigue and Self-Care: Time to Take Care of You

Presenters: Laura Stillmunkes, Executive Director, Parents and Caregivers for Wellness/Capital Adoptive Families Alliance

Description: Compassion fatigue is very common in parents, caregivers, and professionals that care for those with special needs. In this training, we will define compassion fatigue and discuss its effects. The last half of the training will be devoted to self-care and avoiding compassion fatigue.

Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS)

Presenters: Dr. Lester Love, Medical Director of Mental Health, Tulare County HHSA Mental Health; Warner Ribuca, Lead RN, Tulare County HHSA Mental Health; Alfonso Rodriguez, LVN, Tulare County HHSA Mental Health

Description: The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) is a rating scale that was designed in the 1970s to measure involuntary movements known as tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD is a disorder that sometimes develops as a side effect of long-term treatment with neuroleptic (antipsychotic) medications.

Services for Older Adults: Are They Meeting the Needs of Our Aging Population?

Presenters: Susan Morris Wilson, Member, California Behavioral Health Planning Council; Linda Dickerson, Research Scientist, California Behavioral Health Planning Council

Description: The California Behavioral Health Planning Council Notebook 2017 recently compiled a review of services provided for older adults by state counties. We will discuss the information we received and recommendations we are making regarding service delivery systems for older adults.


Working Towards a Better Crisis Response: Building a Co-Responder Model for a Medium-Sized City

Presenters: Paul T. McCormick, Police Sergeant, Fremont Police Department; Grant Goepp, Police Officer, Fremont Police Department; Sophia Singh, Crisis Counselor, Washington Hospital Healthcare System; Michele Wms-Smith, Family Advocate, Family Education Resource Center (FERC)

Description: This presentation is a first-hand account of a medium-sized police department’s challenges and successes in partnering a mental health professional with a uniformed police officer during mental health crisis calls. The presentation will include experiences from the officers and mental health clinicians assigned to the unit, and comments from a family advocate who routinely works with the team.

Mental Health and Justice System Behavioral Health Court Model Puts Team on the Same Page

Presenters: Sarah Nudel, Administration, Telecare Corporation; Robin Weintraub, Administrator, Telecare Corporation

Description: Telecare offers behavioral health court programs in Orange County and San Diego that are unique treatment modalities for individuals who are currently on formal probation with severe mental illness. This presentation explains how these programs successfully serve this unique population across distinct county systems.

Crisis Communication: Gaining Voluntary Compliance, Cooperation and Rapport

Presenter: John Wilson, Sergeant, California Highway Patrol

Description: Crisis communication provides an easy-to-remember, systemic approach to effectively establishing rapport while gaining cooperation. It also includes a universal behavioral standard for self-de-escalation and impulse control. The system has been used in a wide spectrum of situations where communication was essential for a positive outcome, such as crisis moments (with or without mental health consumers), victim interviews, criminal interrogations, gaining consent, or simply allowing a person to vent and be heard.


Planning for Disaster Evacuation for Community Dwelling Persons with Mental Health Needs

Presenters: Anita Catlin, Manager of Research, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rose; Mary-Frances Walsh, Executive Director, NAMI Sonoma County

Description: Persons with mental health needs needed to be evacuated during the 2017 Sonoma County fires. Danger to our clients showed a need for improved safety and education. Kaiser Permanente, NAMI Sonoma County, NAMI Peer Members and the Halter Project met to create evidence-based evacuation and educational materials for distribution.

NAMI Connects – How to Implement and Secure Funding for the Next Level of Care in an Inpatient Hospital Setting

Presenters: Amy Durham, Director of Development, NAMI Orange County; Rocio Valencia-Vega, LCSW, Program Manager, Hoag Mental Health Center; Dr. Nefta Pereda, Founder and President, Season 5 Community Consulting; Aisha Khan, Family Mentor, NAMI Orange County

Description: This presentation will outline the work done by the NAMI Connects staff, the various benefits of implementing this program at local hospitals, how to work with your local hospital to secure funding, and the process of starting a NAMI Connects program. The NAMI Connects program provides an additional dimension of personalized care in a hospital setting by offering emotional support, care navigation and resources to patients and their adult family members. The program is conducted by trained NAMI Connects staff that is stationed inside the Emergency Department and available to meet with mental health patients and their families to empathize and facilitate engagement in the patient’s healing process. Altogether, this presentation will provide an all-encompassing directive to a newly funded program that will benefit hospitals, NAMI Affiliates, patients, family members, and the surrounding community.

Beyond the Ramp: Why Accessibility Matters in Mental Health

Presenters: Joelle Marie C. Nourse, Certified Peer Specialist, DBSA National/Facey Medical; Rudy Caseres, Mental Health Advocate

Description: Accessibility is an important issue in mental health, but many providers are unsure how barriers to optimal care may present. This workshop will involve discussion of not only physical space but various aspects of communication and connection. Specific needs such as interpreters, low literacy information, sensory processing, sensory sensitivity accommodation, personal culture, and difficulties in expression and neurodiversity will all be discussed.


Cultural Competence

Presenters: Jonathan DuFresne, Community Engagement Manager, NAMI California; Brianna Vargas, Program Coordinator, NAMI California

Description: This is Part Three of NAMI California’s three-part Cultural and Linguistic Competence Training Curriculum, created to enhance NAMI affiliate and community partners’ capacity to better serve diverse racial/ethnic communities. Through this interactive workshop, participants will cover key principles and the spectrum of community engagement, discuss key features that define community, and use case scenarios to engage in a deeper dialogue about real-world strategies and pitfalls for engaging diverse communities.

Mental Health for Boys and Men of Color

Presenter: Kristene Smith, Founder & CEO, Mental Health California

Description: This workshop will focus on mental health solutions for boys and men of color with an emphasis on trauma-informed care, community partnerships, education and training, family engagement, communications, innovation, and creative therapeutic interventions. The audience will preview a forthcoming targeted campaign spanning 5,000 direct interventions.


Mental Health in Education: Prevention and Intervention from Early Childhood to Young Adults. How Can We Support Students?

Presenters: Michael Doria, Licensed Educational Psychologist, Chapman University; Sherilyn Kile, School Psychologist, Chapman University; Anne Steketee, PhD Candidate, Chapman University; Hayley Ratzan-Wank, Student, Chapman University

Description: This workshop seeks to offer an overview of students’ mental health to educators, mental health professionals and community stakeholders, with an explicit focus on supporting direct practices that are both preventative and reactive supports in the school guided by educators.

Brain XP
Presenters: Christine Marie Frey, Founder, Brain XP; Deborah Dennison, Advocate, Brain XP

Description: “Brain XP” is a community created by 16-year-old Christine Marie Frey – a teenager with mental illness dedicated to ending the stigma toward other teenagers with mental illness. Brain XP education is the use of contemporary social media, videos, music, and public speaking that reaches out to teenagers. Brain XP changes the language of mental health by emphasizing the expanded creative, insightful and intuitive functions of the brain for those with mental health challenges.

Do Not Suffer in Silence: Suicide Prevention for Adults and Adolescents 
Presenter: Jessica Oakes, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Credentialed School Psychologist, Hemet Unified School District

Description: Do Not Suffer in Silence: Suicide Prevention for Adults and Adolescents engages participants in an in-depth discussion about the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. The program offers strategies for individuals experiencing suicidal ideations and provides local and national resources by utilizing anecdotal stories about youth who have had suicidal ideations.

2018 Workshops

Advocating for Better Crisis Care – As a result of several serious incidents (including two fatal incidents) at the local 16 bed acute-care locked crisis facility, NAMI Santa Cruz members created an Investigative Task Force on Crisis Care. The resulting Task Force Report and subsequent collaboration and improvements will be presented.

Supporting Parents and Caregivers of Children and Youth with Mental Health Challenges – Parents and caregivers are the best resource to identify strengths and needs of California’s families impacted by mental illness. This workshop will provide some analyses of the perceptions of parents and caregivers that have been gathered through surveys and focus groups. The presenters will provide areas of focus for outreach, training, and advocacy based on the information gathered at both the state and local level.

Mindful Advocacy: How Parents and Caregivers Can Find Answers, Get Services, and Help Set a Collaborative Mental Health Agenda – Our “Mindful Advocacy” workshop will help parents and caregivers, educators, clinicians, advocates, and other “trusted adults” in a child’s life to: 1) find answers; 2) get services and supports; and 3) team up around a collaborative mental health agenda in the state of California.

Using Laughter Therapy to Reclaim One’s Self – Teena Miller developed her program titled A.S.T.E.P. A session of A.S.T.E.P uses laughter yoga exercises coupled with laughter wellness deep-breathing to tone the cardiovascular system by exercising the lungs and releasing muscle tension. It also helps consumers to find stressful events less disturbing and easier to manage. Teena brings A.S.T.E.P. to a minimum of 15 different clients throughout the Bay area in 5 different counties.

Special Needs Planning: From Estate Plans and Special Needs Trusts to Personal Support Services – Learn how a Special Needs Estate Plan can protect a disabled loved one’s “means tested” public benefits, such as Social Security Insurance (SSI) or Medi-Cal, and also provide personal support. Advance planning can ensure support both now and after you are gone.

Law Enforcement Building Relationships with Communities, Consumers, and Families – The Los Angeles Police Department, Mental Evaluation Unit/ System wide Mental Assessment Response Team recognized a need for additional support and assistance for the various community stakeholders and implemented the Senior Lead Officer (SLO) unit acting as a liaison between officers, consumers, and countywide resources to managing mental health related issues or concerns.

* Tactical De-Escalation – The goal of this training is to provide a framework for the Police response to high-risk incidents involving people in mental health crisis and/or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The focus is on suspects armed with edged weapons, impact weapons, or those who are unarmed but non-compliant. (CEU Approved – 1 hour)

Strategies for Improving Health and Behavioral Health Care for Prison and Jail Inmates Returning to the Community – New strategies are needed to address the health and behavioral needs of prison and jail inmates who are re-entering the community after being incarcerated. The Affordable Care Act has extended Medi-Cal to many in the justice-involved population who were previously uninsured. This panel will explore best practices and policies that can improve coordination, health care outcomes, and reduce recidivism.

Beyond Safe Spaces: Addressing LGBTQ Trauma and Providing Solutions – The presentation will provide understanding of societal and cultural factors that allow trauma to persist in the LGBTQ community and provide recommendations for addressing those factors. We will elaborate on culturally specific definitions regarding LGBTQ identities and gender-identity, and attempt to breakdown the roles that stigma and prejudice play in preventing individuals from receiving or seeking services.

Combat to Community: Veterans and Mental Health – Participants will learn about commonly shared attitudes and values that characterize military service; how all aspects of military experience, service related injuries, and mental health issues effect veterans’ lives; how veteran status can inform interactions and services; and potential resources.

* Outcomes Based Care in Mental Health Treatment: Keeping the Patient Voice at the Center of Care – Research shows that providing clinicians with feedback from clients throughout treatment improves outcomes. A simple model that includes implementation of trans diagnostic tools and development of clinical workflows that use the tool in creating and adjusting treatment can lead to improved patient outcomes and a more efficient allocation of resources. (CEU Approved – 1 hour)

* California Pediatricians’ Perspectives on Behavioral and Mental Health Access for Children and Teens – This workshop will build skills for patients, providers, and advocates to partner with CA pediatricians on improving behavioral and mental health access. Recent legislation regarding pediatric mental health referrals will be highlighted, along with evidence and pediatrician surveys regarding gaps in care. Participants will comment on a proposed improvement action plan. (CEU Approved – 1 hour)

* Treating Depression Using Collaborative Care Models in Primary Care – Collaborative care models in primary care are vital tools for serving minority and indigent populations where rates of mental health disorders are highly prevalent, which place these individuals at higher risk for adverse health outcomes. Using this model, Kaiser Permanente is focused on improving accessibility and addressing mental health stigma within primary care modules. (CEU Approved – 1 hour)

* Pláticas and Atención Plena in Central California Schools: Understanding the Use of Alternative Methods to Help At-Risk Latino Students – Latino values embedded in the family system are at odds with the mainstream culture. Latino youth experience depression, anxiety, and trauma. They are concerned about their families which impacts their mental health and undermines their performance in school. This workshop will present culturally competent interventions such as pláticas and atención plena, and hip-hop therapy. (CEU Approved – 1 hour)

Campus Mental Health and Disability Rights Laws – Students with mental health conditions are protected from discrimination and have the right to reasonable accommodations, just like students with physical and learning disabilities. This workshop will include an overview of disability rights laws and how they apply to students and universities, to inform educators and empower students and families.

Sibling Support and Advocacy – Highlights the experiences of siblings coping with the mental illness of a brother or sister. We can often feel forgotten or invisible inside a family as our sibling’s needs become the priority. We will share our stories, provide resources and coping mechanisms such as self-care for our own mental wellness.

On Campus, We Rise: How Youth Advocates Can Lift Up College Mental Health – Join No Stigma No Barriers (NSNB) for a discussion on: college student mental health; barriers to care, including stigma and a lack of culturally responsive care; advocacy strategies from Youth based on their experiences; and ways to get involved in NSNB activities such as trainings, events, and writing/blogging for change.

Career Summer Institute in Mental Health – Through Partnerships with Mission College, the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department, and Andrew Hill High School’s Medical Magnet Program, this program connects students to mental health organizations and careers. Students engage in experiential learning opportunities such as mental health first aid certification and networking with various mental healthcare professionals.


NAMI’s Federal Policy Agenda to Improve the Lives of People Living with Mental Illness and their Families

Siblings – The Forgotten Survivors

Together We Can: Reducing Criminal Justice Involvement for People with Mental Illness

Training and Technical Assistance in Evidence Based Practice Builds Community Capacity to Treat the Unique Needs of Justice-Involved Individuals with Mental Illness

Findings in Collaborative Care

Kaiser Permanente Mental Health and Wellness Strategy: Using Patient Reported Outcomes to Promote Shared Decision Making, Privilege the Patient Voice, and Deliver Exceptional Care

Best Practices: Career Summer Institute in Mental Health

The CBHDA Public Policy Priorities and Opportunities for Partnership

2017 Workshops

Advocacy Track

Consumer & Family Engagement

Criminal Justice

Engaging Diverse Communities

Strengthening NAMI

Young Adults

Click here to view a full list of Workshop Descriptions.