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

Jessica Cruz, NAMI California CEO

Keynote Speakers

Mark Ghaly, Secretary of Health and Human Services Agency

Karena Dawn, Co-Founder of Tone It Up


Day 2 Opening and General Session

Welcome Message

Dr. Patrick Courneya, HealthPartners’ Chief Health Plan Medical Officer and NAMI California Board President

Keynote Speakers

David and Marla Thomas, co-hosts of the “Mental Health Mondays” Podcast



NAMI National Policy Update

Speaker: Angela Kimball, National Director, Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy, NAMI, Inc.

Psychiatric Advance Directives, Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) Multi-County Innovations

Speakers: Kiran Sahota, Concepts Forward Consulting; Laura Glenn, Mariposa County Health and Human Services Agency; Kerri Schuette  Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency; Erinn Reinbolt, MHSA Coordinator for Fresno County; Thi Velasquez, Monterey County Behavioral Health; Flor Yousefian, Orange County Health Care Agency

The presentation addresses; what is a Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD), the history of PADs and the future of PADs in California. Information is provided on understanding how PADs are driven by the individual, how families/supporters can support their loved ones and Peer involvement. Discussion is centered on the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63), Multi-County PADs Innovation Project. The project will address a statewide template, individual self-determination, standardized training, Peer involvement, exploring the legal structure, necessary partnerships and use of technology. The participants will walk away with a clear understanding of what is a PAD, self-determination, and the Multi-County Innovation Project goal of making PADs easy to create and access.

Youth Advocates Leading a Reimagined Mental Health System Centered on Equity and Justice

Speakers: Alex Briscoe, California Children’s Trust; Jevon Wilkes, California Coalition for Youth; Alejandra Gomez, California coalition for youth

In this workshop, California Children’s Trust and California Coalition for Youth partnered with youth leaders to reimagine a mental health system centered on equity and justice. This workshop shares the results of a qualitative survey, data demonstrating needs and disparities, and summarizes recently passed state policies highlighting progress on strategies. The presenters outline the significant new policies and resources intended to address these inequities and improve the overall mental health of our children and youth.

NAMI California Legislative Updates

Speaker: Danny Offer, Legislative Advocate Platinum Advisors


Criminal Justice

Department of State Hospitals: Meeting the Needs of the Incompetent to Stand Trial

Speaker: Stephanie Clendenin, Department of State Hospitals

In this presentation, the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) Director provides an overview of the state hospital system, the increasing numbers of individuals found incompetent to stand trial on felony charges committed to DSH, and DSH’s actions to increase access to treatment for those who are most in need of state hospital services.

Advance Health Care Directives: Do Not Put it Off

Speaker: Ken Torkelson, Bowman & Associates

In this workshop, we discuss how it is absolutely essential for anyone who is 18 years old or older to have a health care directive. An advance directive helps loved ones and medical personnel to make decisions in the event of a health crisis. The advance directive greatly increases the probability that a person’s wishes regarding health care and end-of-life decisions are carried out. If a patient cannot make decisions and has created no advance directive, health care providers will turn to family members for treatment decisions. Unfortunately, family members may make decisions based upon ignorance, a desire to end family distress, or even make decisions in bad faith and for ill motive. Registering the advance with the primary health care provider now will ensure that the patient’s desires are heard and not just the voices of family members. Medical personnel may be compelled to needlessly prolong treatment and suffering despite there being no reasonable hope for any quality of life.

Reducing Homelessness for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving Prisons and Jails

Speakers: Brenda Grealish, Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health & California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Katie Herman, The Council of State Governments Justice Center; Hallie Fader-Towe, The Council of State Governments Justice Center

The subject of this session is the CSG Justice Center’s final report, Reducing Homelessness for People with Behavioral Health Needs Leaving Prison and Jails, which was released in March 2021. The recommendations in this report were developed after interviewing over 20 stakeholders throughout California, including people with lived experiences in the homelessness and criminal justice systems. The report identifies 5 key challenges that lead to unmet housing and behavioral health needs and 10 specific recommendations to address these challenges, particularly with the goal of providing permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing since research has shown that these are the most effective evidence-based models that have been established to date.

Partnering with Criminal Justice to Support those with a Mental Illness

Speakers: Joe Rose, NAMI Alameda County South; Lisa Heintz, Alameda County Probation; Chaunta Wells, Cherry Hill Detoxification Center

In this workshop, we describe the development, challenges, and results of providing NAMI Education and Peer Support programs for persons on probation who have a mental illness. Other NAMI affiliates have expressed interest in adopting the model and procedures NAMI ACS has developed and incorporated successfully. All participants see the program’s value and are leading more productive lives after the training and linkages to community services. NAMI programs are positively received by justice professionals on all levels and program participation has a direct link in reducing re-hospitalizations, returns to jail, and police encounters.

Crisis Intervention and Communication Elements

Speakers: Robert Bonnett, California Highway Patrol; Stephanie Benton, California Highway Patrol; Levi Pence, California Highway Patrol

In this workshop, The Mental Illness Response Program officers discuss Crisis Intervention Training provided to officers with the goal of receiving community feedback and understanding. This process will allow community members and officers to gain each other’s perspectives on mental illness response, allowing both sides to effectively and compassionately respond to people suffering from a mental illness or those in crisis. This training experience will allow students to better prepare for real-world encounters with people suffering from a mental illness or those who may be in crisis.

How am I going to do all this?: Conveying lived experience of parents in child welfare cases.

Speakers: Kelly Ranasinghe, Office of County Counsel, Imperial County; Jocelyn Mejia Imperial County Department of Social Services

In this session, we learn how to convey lived experiences of mental illness to the juvenile court in an effective manner and advocate for reasonable efforts in reunification services.


Consumer and Families

HELD: Congregations Showing Up for Each Other’s Mental Health

Speaker: Rev. Barbara Meyers, Life Reaching Across to Life/Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients

In this workshop, Rev. Meyers, a mental health consumer herself discusses stories from her mental health ministry – both ‘how-to stories’ and ‘how-not-to stories’ giving guidance for congregants in the pews who want to help make a difference. This workshop outlines the following: introduction and motivation, elements of a mental health ministry, mental health and faith-based social justice, and encouragement to do a congregation book-read.

Tools of Empowerment for family caregivers: Education, Resources, Support and Self Care

Speaker: Saundra Boyd, Caregiver Nurse Consultant, Caregivers Haven LLC

In this workshop,  Saundra Boyd shares her lived experience, professional insight as a registered nurse and her passion for helping other caregivers. Her goal is to educate and empower family caregivers with the tools needed to not only take care of their loved one but to also take care of themselves, and love themselves and smile and have fun while doing it. The goal of this session is for participants to learn how to be caregivers without losing themselves in the process.

Introduction to CBT – For Peers and Family Members
Speaker: Jolissa Hebard, NAMI Long Beach, Certified Peer Specialist, Suicide Prevention Educator, CBT Coach/Practitioner, Crisis Counselor
This workshop gives an introduction to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), the methodology and shares a sample of a practical exercise. A certified CBT Coach/Practitioner, Jolissa Hebard provides a brief history of CBT, explains its evidence-based methodology, and shares ways we can use CBT. Participants will gain insights as to how to find an effective CBT therapist in their community.

Engaging Diverse Communities

Ending the Silence and Stigma Surrounding Suicide in Multicultural Communities
Speakers: Hufsa Ahmad, Multi-Ethics Collaborative of Community Agencies;  Iliana Welty, Multi-Ethnic Collaboration of Community Agencies; Miguel Gallardo Multi-Ethnic Collaboration of Community Agencies
This workshop discusses that members of ethnic populations have largely been underrepresented and unaddressed in efforts to prevent suicide. Suicide prevention efforts are largely centered on the White majority’s experience, which leads to gaps in the system of care for communities of color. Recognizing the lack of targeted efforts towards people of color, we took a radical approach: we utilized the Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) model to find and highlight the voices of 8 multicultural communities, including the LGBTQ+ population, to develop a suicide prevention trainings, events and campaigns that are culturally responsive and can build on a body of knowledge for California’s diverse population.

Exploring Bias & Inclusion Through a Mental Health Lens
Speakers: Yazmin Prado, Tulare County Office of Education; Amanda Southard, Tulare County Office of Education
This workshop discusses that mental illness is something that affects all communities and individuals from diverse backgrounds. In order to help those who suffer from mental illness, one must understand how to navigate working with various cultural groups. This requires openness and a desire to learn from others with not only tolerance but acceptance. Understanding the possibilities of one or all these issues, helps mental health professionals gain trust and effectively engage clients in new capacities. Engaging clients by being inclusive of family members and striving to provide psychoeducation to all involved helps to create an open environment which ultimately helps to break down the stigma and barriers to effective mental health services.

Allcove ACCESS Project: Anti-Racist, Culturally-Minded Community Education, Support, and Services: Increasing Access to Culturally Responsive Mental Health

Speakers: Ana Lilia Soto, Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health And Wellbeing; Samskruthi Madireddy, Allcove Youth Advisory Group Alumni;  Shravanti Shankar, Allcove Youth Advisory Group Alumni

In this workshop, Allcove aims to deliver services that are culturally responsive/inclusive of diverse communities. In support, Stanford’s CYMHWB engaged youth researchers designed a survey to administer to youth and families to better understand ways in which race, culture, and other forms of identity impact one’s understanding and approach to mental health. Attendees of this session will be introduced to preliminary findings and the research process of the Allcove ACCESS project, form empowerment and a lens to be able to identify supportive strategies youth-to-youth mental health practitioners can use to develop individualized best practices around engaging from an anti-racist and culturally responsive perspective.

Vietnamese Mental Health Cultural Competency Workshop

Speaker: Lily Nguyen, BPSOS Center for Community Advancement

This workshop covers Vietnamese history and culture, and why there is a deeply rooted mental health stigma. We will emphasize the importance of being culturally competent when approaching the community as we aim to bridge the gap between the stigma and the journey to better mental health. These stigmas intertwined with intergenerational trauma manifest cultural impact in language and communication style. We also discuss API traditional approaches to wellness and eastern traditions. We express the importance of knowing what method of healing the population uses.



Early Intervention/Prevention

Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) Screening for Prevention and Early Intervention
Speakers: Diane Dooley, American Academy of Pediatrics; Renee Wachtel. California American Academy of Pediatrics
In this workshop, we discuss how in many families, toxicity and stress correlate with future mental health issues for children and adults. This workshop outlines a comprehensive ACEs Aware communications strategy developed by members of the American Academy of Pediatrics to educate and engage pediatric medical providers in adopting trauma-informed care and ACEs screening.

Building LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Into Your Practice

Speakers: Katie Pettersen, Rethinking Inqlusion Co-Founder; Amanda Cruz, Rethinking Inqlusion, Co-founder

In this workshop, we will discuss supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth is critical to improving student outcomes. Together we will explore biases, navigate resources, and build your toolbox to fill in the gaps and ensure your schools, services and organizations are welcoming, supportive, and inclusive for some of our most vulnerable youth.


Ask the Doctors

Bipolar Disorder

Speakers: Robert McCarron, DO Director of Education, UCI; Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute; Kamilah R. McGuire Program Coordinator, UCI


Speaker: Dr. Nisha Warikoo

Depression and Anxiety

Speaker: Reza Farokhpay, MD


Speaker: Dr. Luis Sandoval