Crisis Support

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Crisis Text Line

Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

NAMI HelpLine

Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) M–F, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. PT for free mental health info, referrals and support.

Find a Local NAMI

General Sessions, Keynote Speakers

Day 1 Opening and General Session

Opening and Welcome

Speakers: Ella Cruz; Jessica Cruz, NAMI California CEO; Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State; Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento Mayor; Dan Gillison, NAMI CEO

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Tom Insel, special counsel to California Governor Gavin Newsom

Day 2 Opening and General Session

State of the State Address

Dr. Patrick Courneya, NAMI California Board President

Keynote Speaker

Sandra R. Hernández, MD, President & Chief Executive Officer, California Health Care Foundation

Disaster Response as a State and as a Community

Speakers: Jim Kooler, Dr.P.H.

Supporting Communities Through Disasters

Speakers: Chris Roup, Cerrene Cervantes


Legislative Achievements in Mental Health, Looking Ahead to 2021

Speakers: Senator Scott Wiener

In this panel discussion, we heard from State Senator Scott Wiener, who has been a fierce housing advocate around the need to create more housing for all residents in California.

Housing at the Local Level

Speaker: Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D.

Legislating Hope-Moving the Needle towards Better Care and Recovery

Speakers: Bruce Lewitt, Randall Hagar, Sheree Lowe

This workshop offered hope to families and loved ones who are struggling with issues related to lack of appropriate mental health treatment. Randall Hagar presented a survey of mental health legislation and public initiatives, and examine how they affect consumers, providers and families.

Psychiatric Emergency: Changing the Culture in our EDs

Speakers: Paul Rains, RN, MSN, Seth Thomas

Speakers reviewed a recent pilot project that took place in 9 Dignity Health emergency departments. The project was a collaborative effort between the medical staffing group Vituity, and members of the Dignity Health Behavioral Health Steering Committee and set out to prove that by providing interventions focused on improving the clinical care of behavioral health patients in the ED, we could also improve patient and staff experience and work collaboratively to better identify and provide for patient needs.

Housing Solutions For our Loved Ones: Housing Options for People with Mental Illness

Speakers: Scott Wiener, Senator, California State Senate; Ian Adamson, Executive Director, Mateo Lodge; Melinda Henning, Working Group, SOLUTIONS for Supportive Homes; Kelly Powers, Director, Hotel Council of San Francisco

Student Mental Health

NAMI on Campus

Speaker: Angela Brand

Wellness Together

Speaker: Jeremiah Aja

Family/Consumer Engagement

Enhancing Family Engagement in AOT Programs

Speakers: Betsy Johnson, Policy Advisor. Treatment Advocacy Center, Randall Hagar

This session gave state and local advocates and family members a better understanding of Laura’s Law (also referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT) and how they can help ensure that individuals and families are engaged at every level of the AOT process.

Helping Family Members, Consumers and Providers to Become Successful Mental Health Insurance Advocates

Speakers: Karen Fessel PHd, Executive Director. Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project

This session introduced families, consumers and providers to the world of health insurance advocacy, focusing on obtaining maximal coverage for mental health treatments.

Latino Implementation Pilot Program (IPP) Team

Speakers: Cassie Chandler, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Guadalupe Navarro, Cynthia Foltz, Genevieve Flores-Haro

This session provided examples of community-defined evidence solutions that are meeting the cultural and language needs of the hardest-to-reach Latino communities. Specifically, the importance of building on community-informed knowledge and strategies to guide and drive change to access and utilization of culturally and linguistically appropriate services for underserved communities.

CalABLE as a Tool for Greater Financial Independence

Speakers: Stephen W. Dale Esq. LL.M, Dante Allen, Fiona Ma, CPA

Dante Allen of CalABLE & Stephen Dale, Trustee of the Golden State Pooled Trust and principal attorney of the Dale Law Firm compared and contrasted the best uses for CalABLE Accounts & Special Needs Trusts.

Spiritual Formation for Residents at Mental Health Facilities

Speakers: Paul Lu, FaithNet Coordinator, NAMI Orange County

For many who are residents at mental health treatment centers, opportunities for spiritual formation is limited. NAMI Orange County’s FaithNet developed a path to provide spiritual formation opportunities at mental health facilities and ways to create similar opportunities at other affiliates.

Developing Healthy Boundaries: Preventing Burnout & Improving Self-Care

Speakers: Jessie Slafter

Developing healthy boundaries can help us to lovingly take care of ourselves more clearly to those we help. This presentation is a basic training on boundaries – examining our personal and workplace boundaries to improve our communication, self-care, and client outcomes.

Paranoid Schizophrenia: Neither Tragedy Nor Hardship – A Case Study

Speakers: Ralph Ray Decker

In this workshop, the speaker used audio tape, videos, photographs to share a unique and effective philosophical approach based in respect and honor for the patient, one whose intention is to heal rather than poison the brain or band-aid the symptoms.

Meaning Matters! Creating Meaning-Centered Leadership in your Organization

Speakers: Barbara Bartels. Ed.D.

Telling New Stories: Reducing Stigma through the Arts

Speakers: Abby Rotstein

Individuals with mental illness sometimes feel alone due to stigma, shame, and lack of understanding from the world at large. The speaker discussed the Secret Illness, which has created a space where people can share their lived experiences with mental illness through the arts. The goal is to help foster community, reduce stigma, and help the wider public understand OCD. While the focus is on OCD and related disorders, this workshop concentrated on ways consumers can use the arts to build support and understanding for anyone living with mental illness.

Criminal Justice

Re-entry For Those With Mental Illness

Speakers: Pastor Troy F. Vaughn, Adolfo Gonzales, Mark Gale

Reentry professionals discussed some of the programming that relates to individuals living with mental illness reentering society from jail/prison. The panel included the San Diego County Probation Chief, Executive Director of LA Regional Reentry Program Collaborative, and NAMI San Fernando Valley Affiliate Family Member and Judicial Council Criminal Justice, Mental Health Task Force member.

Supporting a Loved One Transitioning from the Criminal Justice System

Speakers: Anita Fisher, Hal May, Valerie Hebert

Family members whose loved ones living with mental illness have encountered the criminal justice system discussed how they advocated for their treatment from the outside, helped their loved ones while in custody, and supported them upon their release.

Implementing CIT training and Crisis Co-Response Teams in a Mid-size County

Speakers: George Kaufmann, Lynne Gibbs, Cherylnn Lee, John Winckler, MS

This workshop described how an affiliate in a mid-size county formed a coalition of 5 community stakeholder organizations to advocate for more effective jail diversion. Coalition advocacy directed at the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Behavioral Wellness, the County’s “Stepping Up” implementation committee, and the Board of Supervisors resulted in robust countywide CIT training programs and mental health crisis co-response teams in a geographically large urban/rural county.

Early Intervention/Prevention

Anything But That: How to Help Your Child Struggling With a Mental Health Condition

Speakers: Stefanie Hoffman, Carolyn Griesi

This mother-daughter presentation calls on personal experience to examine ways of identifying signs of mental illness, establishing effective communication and taking action early on.
Drawing on personal experiences, we will emphasize four main steps to early intervention:
1) Knowing the warning signs;
2) Communicating concerns;
3) Developing strategies to promote wellness; and
4) Accessing resources.

Los Angeles Unified School District Mental Health Evaluation Team

Speakers: Antonio Serrato, Nicole M.Ed.;  Jose Fonseca, Police Officer. Los Angeles School Police Department

The purpose of this workshop is to further enhance the understanding of California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 5585 consumer rights. With a focus on WIC 5585, participants learned how MHET continues to spearhead the challenges many communities face regarding mental health and early prevention/intervention within its schools.

Reimagining Our Mental Health System to Achieve Equity and Healing for Children and Families

Speakers: Alex Briscoe, Jevon Wilkes

This workshop provided compelling and startling statistics about the children’s mental health crisis and the disproportionate impact on children and youth of color, followed by an analysis of the key challenges and opportunities to reinvent how California defines, finances, administers and delivers children’s mental health supports and services centered on equity and justice.

Boldly Me – A Prevention & Early Intervention Partner

Speakers: Alanna Powell, Joe Rose, Isaac N. Silberman, MD

Boldly Me educates, mentors, and supports people who feel different when they are silently struggling. Founder Alanna Powell struggled with Alopecia Universalis silently. NAMI Alameda County South “Ending the Silence” program refers people to Boldly Me to learn behavioral skills training that will address healthy coping & communication skills.


Towards Informed Treatment of African American Women

Speaker: Tamika Carter

This presentation was created to teach participants about the unique factors that influence Black women’s development of self-image; as well as how this image impacts socio-emotional functioning.

Engaging Diverse Communities

I Am a Winner! 

Speaker: Gigi Crowder, Executive Director, NAMI Contra Costa

I Am a Winner! is an innovative community-defined strategy designed to support African American children in school settings to avoid the school-to-prison pipeline by building strength-based relationships with natural resources such as multi-generational volunteers/healers found in local churches. This workshop aimed to broaden the competency of mental health care professionals in the area of spirituality and mental health care by demonstrating a caring layperson’s ability to support young people by using tools and values commonly found in faith communities.

Advocating for Mental Health Literacy (MHL) among the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

Speakers: Kimberly Saelee, Kia Yang, Ya-Shu Liang

This workshop aimed to provide a framework for advocating for mental health literacy (MHL) in API communities. Specifically, the culturally responsive framework takes into consideration Asian values (e.g., face loss, forbearance, respect for elders), collectivistic coping strategies, migration-related trauma, and internalization of the model minority myth. The concept of (MHL) has its roots in health literacy, and its definition has evolved beyond simply knowing about mental health disorders and their treatment (Jorm et al., 1997). This workshop will provide MHL interventions through infographics and videos targeting diverse populations. Examples of these MHL interventions, based on the four MHL components above, will also be presented.

Ask the Doctors


Speaker: Dr. Luis Sandoval, Psychiatrist, Kaiser Permanente

Bipolar Disorder

Speaker: John Luo, MD (Speaker) Director of Emergency & Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, UC Irvine SOM


Speaker: Dr. Robert McCarron, UCI

Children/Young Adult

Speaker: Dr. Nisha Warikoo, Psychiatrist, Community Hospital of San Bernadino