NAMI CA is reaching out to hear the perspectives of family members and/or caregivers supporting their loved ones with lived experience in mental illness. Our goal is to understand the barriers experienced, the innovative and effective programs and services utilized, and the support that family members need while navigating the mental health care system for themselves and their loved ones. If you are a family member and/or caregiver of someone living with a mental health condition/s, please share your experiences by attending a focus group.
Anonymous responses will be incorporated into the NAMI CA Annual State of the Community Report on Families, created to reach and improve the experiences of all family members, caregivers, or loved ones within the mental health care system in California.
We will be offering three different dates: May 19, 21, 24, at 1 pm PT each day; please choose only one date and time slot; multiple session attendances will not be allowed. There are limited seatings for each session and the first 20 to register will be manually approved by NAMI CA staff. If you do not receive confirmation of approval within 24-48 hours, please try registering for another date since some will reach max capacity.
Join NAMI California for an info session to learn about the programs we have to support families and youth. These programs can be utilized as a means of education or support for you and your loved ones. NAMI California will be offering our info session on two different dates:
NAMI California’s Town Hall on CalAIM, with Shaina Zurlin from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on March 30, 2021.
More info on CalAIM can be found here. The presentation provided an overview of CalAIM with an emphasis on behavioral health elements. This included the values driving the project, short and long term outcomes and perspective on how CalAIM will shape the experience of beneficiaries statewide.
Our Town Hall Presenter
Shaina Zurlin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Doctor of Clinical Psychology with 20 years of experience in behavioral health. Serving as a clinician, administrator, director and leader in varying roles in non-profit organizations and government entities at state and local levels, her expertise lies in motivational interviewing, gender responsive trauma informed care and cultural transformations. Emphasizing a holistic strengths-based approach, Dr. Zurlin connects with clients, participants and multidisciplinary staff to generate successful and sustainable change which best meets individualized needs in dynamic, supportive settings.
In addition to serving as a research partner and contributing author with the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Zurlin has brought vibrant and engaging presentations to a variety of audiences throughout her career. She has been a featured speaker at the California Department of Health Care Services Substance Use Disorders Statewide Conference, the California Quality Improvement Coordinators Annual Conference, the University of California San Francisco, the Calciano Youth Symposium and San Diego State University. Adding to her breadth of experience, Dr. Zurlin was named an Honorary Clinical Instructor by Smith College School of Social Work and was the recipient of first and second place awards from the Society of Professional Journalism. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization aimed at helping youth around the globe find their voice through journalism.
Each year, NAMI California hosts advocacy days to provide a platform for passionate advocates to engage with lawmakers on important policies aimed at improving the quality of life for people with mental illness.
Our Town Hall speaker: Lara Gregorio, LCSW. With 20+ years in the behavioral health space, in settings ranging from in-patient to community mental health and private practice, Lara has a commitment to empowering consumers, scaling compassion, and providing care when, how, and where it is needed. Innovating and designing programs in the digital mental health space since 2013, she has built telehealth programs and designed online therapy and mental health community platforms. In 2020, she co-founded humanest to provide an online space to combat loneliness and provide a path to emotional growth and health.
NAMI California Town Hall Meeting on the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, featuring guest speaker Randall Hagar. The goal was to provide education and background on LPS, with a basic overview on the California law governing the involuntary civil commitment of individuals who — due to mental illness — pose a danger to themselves or others, or who are gravely disabled and require inpatient psychiatric care.
Randall Hagar is currently the Policy Consultant and Legislative Advocate for the Psychiatric Physicians Alliance of California. Formerly 1st Vice President and Chair of the California Alliance for Mental Illness’ Legislative Committee, he helped to write both the California Mental Health Insurance Parity and Assisted Outpatient Treatment (Laura’s Law) statutes and was the program director for family education.
Shannon Suo graduated from UC Davis Family Medicine and Psychiatry residency program and holds dual-board certification in both specialties. She served as Medical Director of Northgate Point Regional Support Team (a Sacramento County-contracted community mental health clinic providing services to people with significant chronic mental illness/”target population” diagnoses) for seven years before moving to UC Davis, where she worked at the Sacramento County Health Center providing medical and psychiatric care. In 2017, she started Sacramento County’s Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic, providing urgent mental health services with an interdisciplinary team of peer support specialists, clinicians, nurses, and psychiatric staff to avert the need for hospitalization and emergency room visits. Suo is also a faculty member at UCD, teaching medical students and residents in psychiatry, family medicine, internal medicine (as well as the combined programs for IM Psych and FM Psych), primary care providers, and is currently treasurer of the Psychiatric Physicians Alliance of California.
“There are many barriers to finding the right care at the right time appropriate for persons in crisis because of a mental illness. One of them is the 50-year-old set of treatment laws called the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act [LPS Act], which badly needs updating,” said Hagar, who helped write the Laura’s Law statute, and other changes to the LPS.
NAMI California Town Hall Meeting with California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards & Commissions (CalBHB/C) on October 29 at 2 pm PT. CalBHB/C works at the state level to support local mental and behavioral health efforts. Join us to learn more from President Harriette Stevens, Ed.D., Vice President Benny Benavidez, and Executive Director Theresa Comstock about their local engagement efforts, the role of the local boards and commissions, and how you can make a difference.
Harriette S. Stevens, Ed.D. CALBHB/C President
San Francisco’s Mental Health Board Member (Past Co-Chair), Mental Health Educational Funds Chair, member of the San Francisco National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), and published author of educational articles and books.
Benny Benavidez, CALBHB/C Vice President
Imperial County Mental Health Board (Chair); Imperial County Community Correctional Partnership (Past Chair), Juvenile Justice Committee, Juvenile Justice Joint Community Partnership, I.C. Chief of Police Association, California Chief Probation Officer Association, Regional Director for American Probation and Parole Association, San Diego Gang Commission, San Diego Prisoner Reentry Roundtable, and more. Past-District Administrator for California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation; Past-Chief Probation Officer for Imperial County; Current Adjunct Instructor in Administration of Justice and Correctional Science.
Theresa Comstock, Executive Director
In addition to serving as CALBHB/C Executive Director, Ms. Comstock is a Governor-Appointed Member of the State Rehabilitation Council (Current SRC Chair) and a member of the Napa County Mental Health Board
Our Community Engagement Director, Brianna Vargas, is co-facilitating a Latinx bilingual listening session with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) October 21. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Each year, the NAMI California hosts a state conference to examine important trends, best practices, new treatments, activities in mental health, and ways we can work together to improve care and services for individuals, families and communities.
To continue nurturing our extraordinary communities until we can gather in-person again for large events — hopefully soon! — our second virtual conference presents the opportunity for meaningful discussion, and the ability to reflect and connect with peers statewide.
We encourage reflection, exploration, and celebration, as we virtually come together again this year. Last year, our first-ever virtual event reached new members within our community and created opportunities for engaging discussions within the virtual platform. We hope that the virtual space will again create a platform for a continued exchange of ideas and resources.
The California Alliance of Child and Family Services (Alliance) is a public policy, advocacy and training organization with nearly 150 nonprofit community-based organizations that provide a broad array of services to children, youth and families throughout California.
The focus of their presentation, with Executive Director Chris Stoner-Mertz, and Senior Policy Director Adrienne Shilton, was about work they are doing to support children, youth, and families, including school-based mental health, suicide prevention, and foster youth with mental health needs; their Catalyst Center and ACES aware grants; and their partnership with the State Department of Social Services for a provider helpline to help with COVID-19-related issues.
Each year, NAMI California hosts advocacy days — our Spring State Capitol Day and Bebe Moore Campbell Advocacy Day — to provide a platform for passionate advocates to engage with lawmakers on important policies aimed at improving the quality of life for people with mental illness. The 2020 event combined both days to honor the voices of diverse communities and family members.
California law enforcement representatives joined us for conversations about officer wellness led by law enforcement.
NAMI California is teaming up with the State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) for a training program to support officer wellness and address trauma. NAMI COPE is a resilience-building peer support program designed specifically for law enforcement, modeled on the NAMI Connection support group, a peer-led, 90-minute, weekly confidential support group for those experiencing mental health challenges.
Listening sessions were facilitated by law enforcement and for law enforcement to share their insights and experiences on officer wellness.
NAMI California virtual Town Hall Meeting with the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). The DMHC works to protect consumers’ health care rights and ensures a stable health care delivery system. Join us to hear the latest and for the opportunity to ask questions about accessing care or challenges with providers and insurers.
NAMI California virtual Town Hall meeting with the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), which represents county government before the California Legislature, administrative agencies and the federal government. CSAC places a strong emphasis on educating the public about the value and need for county programs and services.
The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) was created through Prop 63, the Mental Health Services Act, is tasked with oversight of the implementation of the MHSA. The Commission evaluates MHSA-funded programs throughout the State, provides approval of county Innovation plans, and receives all county 3-year plans, annual updates, and annual Revenue and Expenditure Reports. Additionally, the Commission leads a number of statewide efforts to support suicide prevention, criminal justice, student mental health, county triage crisis funding, and stakeholder advocacy.
DSH manages the California state hospital system, which provides mental health services to patients admitted into DSH facilities. DSH oversees five state hospitals in California – Atascadero, Coalinga, Metropolitan (in Los Angeles County), Napa and Patton. All facilities are fully licensed by the California Department of Public Health. DSH was created by Governor Jerry Brown’s 2012-13 Budget, which eliminated the Department of Mental Health by transferring its various functions to other departments. In fiscal year 2018-2019, the department employed nearly 13,000 staff and served 11,752 patients in a 24/7 hospital system.
Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health (CCJBH) is tasked with several statutory goals, which include investigating, identifying, and promoting cost-effective strategies that prevent adults and juveniles with behavioral health needs from becoming incarcerated; identifying incentives for state and local justice and health programs to adopt such approaches; reporting activities to the legislature; and providing recommendations for improving the cost-effectiveness of existing behavioral health and criminal justice programs.
The County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA) is a nonprofit advocacy association representing the behavioral health directors from each of California’s 58 counties, as well as two cities (Berkeley and Tri-City). They believe everyone should have access to quality behavioral health care. Through advocacy, lobbying and education efforts, they promote the reduction of individual and community problems related to unaddressed behavioral health issues. They regularly bring together behavioral health professionals to discuss ways to inform public policy and improve the delivery of behavioral health services. They also support efforts to help the most vulnerable among us – children with serious emotional challenges, adults with serious mental disorders, and people living with substance use disorders.
All members of local mental/behavioral health boards and commissions are welcome to attend regional meetings and trainings. Additionally, the staff liaisons who support the local boards/commissions are welcome and encouraged to attend!