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National Alliance on Mental Illness, California State Organization
Welcome Members and Affiliates
We welcome your ideas for topics to cover, your feedback on issues that face consumers, families, and providers across the state. Contact us at
Actress Mariette Hartley Keynote Speaker
at NAMI California 2010 Annual Conference

advocacy barbie
Emmy Award-winning actress Mariette Hartley will be the keynote speaker at NAMI California's Annual Conference on August 27th  at 9:15am. Her talk is entitled: "Breaking the Silence: Removing the Stigma and the Journey to Recovery."

Renowned as an actress, Ms. Hartley is committed and dedicated to her involvement with organizations combating mental illness--especially bipolar disorder and dual diagnosis--and in suicide prevention.

She was presented with the PSYCHE Award from the L.A. County Psychological Association and was the first recipient of the California Family Studies Center's "Life Achievement Award" for her strength to overcome family difficulties. Ms. Hartley is co-founder and national spokesperson for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mariette was the recipient of the organization's Humanitarian Award and their first Survivors' Award. She also received the Didi Hirsch Erasing the Stigma Award.

She is the granddaughter of famous psychologist John B. Watson and is the author of the bestselling memoir, Breaking The Silence, overcoming a family history of alcoholism and suicide, which was just re-issued in paperback.

Ms. Hartley hosted CBS's The Morning Program and starred in the popular Polaroid commercials with James Garner.  Her film credits include Ride the High Country and Marnie. Numerous television appearances include Peyton Place,  MASH, Gunsmoke, Nash Bridges, and The Bob Newhart Show. Most recently, she's appeared in The Cleaner, Law and Order: SVU , Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, and Saving Grace.

The NAMI California 2010 Annual Conference will be held Aug. 27 and 28 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, 1800 Old Bayshore Highway Burlingame, CA, 94010. For more information, go to
when medicineMother's Day and the Myth of the Schizophrenogenic Mother

This week, many PBS stations are airing When Medicine Got It Wrong, a documentary about the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to coincide with Mother's Day. Check your local stations for times of the broadcast in California Sunday.

In the 1960s and '70s, many psychiatrists and medical school textbooks perpetuated the myth of the "schizophrenogenic mother," in which a mother's personality was viewed as the source of "bad parenting" and the cause of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.

Never mind that one son or daughter in the same family might develop the illness, while brothers and sisters would grow up to be fine.

"When Medicine Got It Wrong shows how ordinary people were able to challenge the medical establishment. In doing so, they helped revolutionize treatment and hopes for recovery," said NAMI Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick.

"Myths and stereotypes have always surrounded mental illness. On Mother's Day, it's important to remember that not only have individuals living with mental illness been unfairly and cruelly stigmatized, but also their mothers and other family members."
For information about the film, visit When Medicine Got It Wrong.
Webcasts for Mental Health Month

NAMIWalks Los Angeles County invites you to participate in a series of free mental health awareness webcasts to mark "May is Mental Health Month."

The webcasts are designed to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses, learn what you can do to connect people with mental illness to supports in the community, and identify peer and professional resources for help. Topics are:
  • May 5   Understanding Depression
  • May 12  Understanding Anxiety Disorders
  • May 19  Understanding Psychosis
  • May 26  Understanding Substance Use Disorders
Time for all Webcasts: 2 - 3 pm Pacific. Participants need a computer with Internet access and must register in advance.

Contact:, or call 202.684.3740.
President's Message

Dear NAMI California members and supporters,

The past few months at NAMI California have been very productive. We have provided testimony at the Senate and Assembly committee meetings regarding many of the cuts the State is proposing to mental health funding.  We continue to provide support for Family- to- Family classes, Peer- to- Peer trainings, and we are looking for funding sources for our other signature programs. NAMI California provides ongoing information to Affiliate leaders.  We respond to any questions regarding the development of Affiliates.  When local issues arise that impact Affiliates and members throughout the state, we engage in a way that provides support and information that must come from the state level.  We provide on-going mental health information in five languages on our web site.  We stay on top of criminal justice issues and the mental health services within the state prison system.  We advocate for and maintain grassroots stakeholder involvement in MHSA program design and the implementation of MHSA funds.
As everyone in our State knows the budget crisis is immediate and overarching. We depend on both private funding and the state for our good work.  At this time county mental health departments are all being cut, positions are not being filled, and staff is being encouraged to retire. This impacts all of us in the State whether a NAMI member or not.  At NAMI California, we help Affiliates interface with their county mental health directors and we provide NAMI grassroots consumer and family member information to the California Mental Health Directors Association.

In all, we do things at the state level for our members that only can be done at the state level.  Our board of directors is diligent and aware of both the "big picture" issues and the internal workings of our organization and staff performance.  We take our Duty of Care to the state organization very seriously. Our governance of policy and fiscal responsibility is the focus of our energy.   You can rely on us to do what you have elected us to do.

This is the time when we encourage you to get involved in your local affiliate.  We also would like to encourage our members to get involved in their local mental health boards as informed and influential participants. Join other mental health partners and keep yourself apprised of the current status of our mental health system. This is the time when we need to work together with all our community partners for the good of our mental health system.

At the State level we are working with other statewide mental health organization partners, as it is crucial that we ban together to save the funding that our relatives and friends presently have.  Remember that your voice can make a difference and that your elected officials will listen to you. We send out information regularly regarding budget and advocacy issues that we want you to be aware of so that you can take action. If you respond to these issues we are a much larger voice in the State. We encourage you to become that voice that continues to advocate for the ongoing threat to mental health funding that has occurred since the 1960`s. Our family members continue to be arrested and have criminal records that should not have occurred if we had a mental health system that we could depend on to provide the services that are needed.

NAMI California held its board meeting last weekend in Irvine. Our next scheduled meeting is Sunday August 29th from 9-3pm after the conference in Burlingame, and it is open to members. We encourage your Affiliate to sign up for the Affiliate Leadership Institute that takes place the day before the conference.  Members, please come to the annual conference to learn about the Standards from NAMI National, listen to our keynote speaker, Mariette Hartley, and plenary speakers who are experts in the field of mental health. Learn "the latest" at the workshops. Enjoy the entertainment on Friday night and the awards banquet on Saturday. Please remember to nominate someone in your community who is working hard for the NAMI CA awards which are presented annually.

We also have 4 board positions that we encourage you to apply for if you are interested in working at the State level. We encourage more participation from the Northern Counties and need more consumer participation on the board. We also lack in the cultural diversity that we would like to have on our board. Board members work thorough the year and the expectations are high that they participate and contribute financially to the organization. 

Remember what we say at our Family to Family graduation, "May the circle remain unbroken; may the light that has always been ours go out into the world and change everything."

Thank you for your commitment to families and consumers in our State and for all that you do to benefit our common cause.

Have a blessed summer and we look forward to seeing you at our State Conference in August.
Brenda Scott 
NAMI California President
Board of Directors
NAMI California Submits Comment to Federal Mental Health Parity Law Regulators

parityThe Interim Final Rules (IFR) of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 were distributed for public comment this spring. In conjunction with our statewide mental health organization partners, NAMI California carefully reviewed the lengthy mental health parity regulations document.  NAMI California's written comments were submitted on May 3, 2010 to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to the Department of Labor and Department of the Treasury.

The comment letter, in its entirety, has been sent to all NAMI California Affiliate presidents and executive directors. A special thanks goes to Michael Shepard, a member of the legislative workgroup of the Government Affairs Committee of the NAMI California board of directors.  His knowledge of the regulatory process has been invaluable in helping us. Sections of the Interim Final Rules need to be clarified or modified in order to garner NAMI California's complete satisfaction with the IFR, but in general we are in support of the regulations draft and are concerned about opposition to the IFR that has been waged by the medical insurance industry.
Young NAMI California Members Head to Washington D.C.

OSYMSix of the team members of Kern County's OutSpoken Young Minds Project (OSYM) team members will attend NAMI's national convention on July 3 to present their experiences and the success of their pilot project to reach young people and their families.

OSYM is a three-tiered, comprehensive Early Intervention & Prevention Outreach, Education and Support Project of NAMI Kern County for Youth (13-25) and their families with mental health issues. It facilitates the only community wide (Bakersfield currently) mental health collaborative of schools (high schools and jr. highs), public and private mental health agencies and resources, the faith community, probation and law enforcement.

For more information, click here, or contact Russ Sempell.
Under the Dome

Sincere thanks from NAMI California to Assemblyman Jim Beall for his advocacy on behalf of mental health issues.

This session Mr. Beall introduced AB 1600 to increase parity for mental health care coverage offered by insurance policies.  He has introduced similar and related bills over his time in office to achieve fairness for individuals and families affected by mental illnesses.

NAMI California supported this legislation which is now in suspension.  Last year AB 244 (Beall) passed the legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.  As the federal Parity Bill and Health Care Bill are increasingly implemented, more equity bills will pass.

Other members of the legislature whose efforts affect NAMI California's constituency will be acknowledged in future issues. NAMI California continues to oppose budget cuts that affect our constituency and to follow pertinent legislation.
NAMI California is concerned with improving communication with our members in order to better represent you with regard to how the MHSA is being planned and implemented across the state. As we represent key stakeholders, we must be fully engaged in this process in order to bring the MHSA closer to its stated goal of being client and family driven.

MHSOAC Involvement. At the state level, NAMI California attends and contributes to various committees of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission ("MHSOAC").  Learn about the newly-hired Executive Director of the MHSOAC, Sherri Gauger.

Stakeholder Engagement. We continue to urge the MHSOAC to focus on facilitating stakeholder engagement on both local and statewide levels. In order for the Commission to begin to make steps toward oversight and accountability, listening to the voices of community members is essential to recognizing what should be placed on the agenda for future work of the commission. As mentioned in past reports, the Chair of the OAC has made initial steps with a Stakeholder Workshop in January. Partial notes of the meeting were taken by the MHSOAC As the notes taken at the meeting were incomplete, NAMI California wrote a letter to the MHSOAC about our recommendations for stakeholder improvement and urged the importance of continual outreach. In addition, we hope that NAMI California members will communicate with us as much as possible so that we may benefit from your expertise and relay your experiences and concerns to the MHSOAC. To sign up for our MHSA Advisory Pool, please click here.

Commission Vacancies.  Vital consumer and family member voices are still absent at the commission level. Right now two of those seats have been vacant for over four months. We have been told that referrals for these appointments have been sent to the governor. Public support urging these appointments would be helpful. Please contact GovernorSchwarzenegger, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814, with cc's to Stephen W. Mayberg, PhD, Director, Department of Mental Health, 1600 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Sherri Gauger, MHSOAC Executive Director, & Andrew Poat, MHSOAC Chair. 

Committee Updates. In April, the Client & Family Leadership Committee ("CFLC") traveled to Los Angeles in an attempt to hear from local stakeholders. NAMI California suggested that the MHSOAC publicize these events more widely to consumers and family members in the host county. The next local outreach meeting of this committee is scheduled to be held in Eureka on June 17, 2010.

The Cultural & Linguistic Competency Committee ("CLCC") intends to reach out this year to diverse ethnic and cultural groups across the state to keep them apprised of how these communities are experiencing mental health care. The Services Committee has rolled out the final guidelines for the statewide projects of Suicide Prevention, Student Mental Health, and Stigma and Discrimination. The Funding & Policy Committee has spent much of its time developing documents that will begin to serve as a performance dashboard for the MHSA. The Evaluation Committee has begun the first phase of the MHSA Evaluation - which is defining the scope of work. NAMI California continues to advocate for an evaluation that incorporates the experiences of clients and family members in quantitative and qualitative data.

For a more complete report along with links to MHSA reports, click here.
NAMI Battles Burger Retailer's Stigma

b kingA Burger King commercial running last month declared the "King's gone crazy," and showed the burger chain's royal mascot running through a building, knocking someone over and crashing through a plate glass window before being tackled to the ground by men in white coats.

But some mental health advocates immediately charged that the commercial inadvertently promoted something else: the stigma associated with being mentally ill.

Michael Fitzpatrick, the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness, said advertisers should treat mental illness in the way they do other illnesses. "You don't make fun of people in wheelchairs, you don't take fun of people with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer," he said. "Mental illness is an illness like any other."

In Sacramento, NAMI California Executive Director, Dr. Trula LaCalle, was interviewed for the evening news and she spoke out against the commercial for perpetuating stigma to new generations of Americans.

People can call or write Burger King to voice their opinions:

Clyde Rucker
Senior Vice-President, Communications & External Affairs
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami FL 33126
(305) 378-3000
mapNAMI California Holds Regional Meetings

NAMI California is conducting face-to-face regional meetings that will be carried on regularly, as feasible, throughout the NAMI regions in California. The first meeting was held on April 29 with the Southern Region, which includes the counties of Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Imperial, and Santa Barbara.

The following Affiliates were in attendance: NAMI Chino Valley, NAMI Orange County, NAMI North Coastal San Diego County, NAMI Western Riverside, NAMI Coachella Valley, NAMI San Bernardino, NAMI Temecula Valley, and NAMI Hemet.  To address additional regions, Affiliates from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are invited to attend the Los Angeles Regional Meeting scheduled for July 28.   
These meetings enable NAMI California to build first-hand knowledge of the unique needs of each region and to answer questions from Affiliate leaders.  Affiliates learn to network with nearby Affiliates to better take advantage of mutual support. 

The next meeting is scheduled for the Superior Region on May 18 in Redding, hosted by NAMI Shasta County. The Superior Region includes the counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen, Trinity, Shasta, Humboldt, Tehama, Plumas, Butte, Glenn, Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Sierra, and Nevada.
Family to Family2010 Family-to-Family News

Our program now has three new state trainers!  Welcome to John Fruttero, our new state trainer for the F2F education program; Nancy Smith and Amanda Wilbur, our new state trainers for the NAMI Support Group program.

Thank you for taking the time to attend this national training.  We look forward to having you on board as state trainers.

--Lynn Cathy, F2F Program Director
Family Connections and Ride-Alongs

car_poolAt Nueva Vista, friendships are often the basis for getting things done. Barbara Pitcock and Darlene Prettyman became friends through their sons, roommates at Nueva Vista in Morgan Hill.

Prettyman is now the connections coordinator for the facility. She is a registered psychiatric nurse, and was a long-time Board Member with NAMI California and NAMI National. While Darlene's son is still a resident, Barbara's son Derek was able to go home some time ago. Yet the two women remain close friends.  When Darlene began work on the Family Connections idea, Barbara joined in to organize a way to reduce travel costs for families living in a state whose gas prices are among the highest in the nation: carpooling.

"We feel that the opportunity to share fuel costs and just have someone for company on the drive is going to greatly increase the number of visits that Nueva Vista residents receive," says Pitcock. Other parents and family who live in the Visalia, Exeter, and Fresno areas are welcome to join in.

"Right now we have two families that share the drive up and back and it is working very well," Pitcock said. "Anytime we can promote more visits, that's a good thing."

Painting by Pat Lucero
Volunteer members of NAMI-Yolo and the Yolo County Local Mental Health Board have created a new NAMI-Yolo program, YOLO CANVAS (Connecting All Neighbors to Volunteers and Services).

The pilot program gathers for lunch twice monthly at the Homestead Co-op group residence in Davis. The affiliate plans to recruit, train and supervise volunteers to facilitate consumer-run self-help centers in the community, and to link neighbors who have mental illnesses to the existing opportunities for work, recreation, and socializing.

NAMI Yolo also is hosting its 8th annual Sunflower Art Show and Competition for community members. The exhibit runs from May 31 to June 23 at the Davis Art Center, where a reception will be held Friday, June 11, 6:30pm-8:30pm as part of the Davis Second Friday ArtAbout. 

Los Angeles South Central

The Los Angeles South Central Affiliate had a Mother's Day essay contest on topic, "What Mother Means To You." The NAMI Share & Care support group fund two winning essays. The winning writers were treated to lunch on May 4, 2010.

The affiliate also started its first Peer-To-Peer Education Course on April 20, 2010. Graduation ceremonies will follow the complettion of the course on June 15, 2010.

Yoga meditation classes will be offer this summer for members that are stressed.

NAMI Sonoma County

On April 8th, Bill Simon PhD, NAMI Sonoma County Program Coordinator, provided a training on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to all Sonoma County Adult Detention Facility Correctional Officers that work on one of the two Mental Health Jail Units.

Approximately 40 Correctional Officers attended. Topics included diagnostic criteria, identification of someone with PTSD, why some people get PTSD while others do not from the same traumatic event, implications for the family, treatment methods, how to work with someone that is suffering from PTSD in the jail setting, and other related topics.

NAMI  San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley affiliate has conducted two Ask the Psychiatrist Nights in Spanish and is committed to providing Spanish language Family-to-Family class. The first annual Glenn Cotham award for excellence in volunteer service was presented to Glenn to mark his achievement as the affiliate's founder in the early 1970¹s before NAMI existed.

The affiliate will add Spanish language web pages and brochures to its outreach materials in 2010. In addition to a robust schedule of Expert Speaker Meetings, Support Groups, and Family-to-Family classes, the affiliate has trained new teachers and have added NAMI BASICS to our NAMI programs line up. We have also trained new consumer speakers to serve increasing requests for In Our Own Voice.

Visit them online at

NAMI Glendale Graduates 25 Family Members
On April 5th, Carmen Fonseca and Jonée Shady graduated 25 students from their Family to Family 12-week educational course on Mental Illness for caregivers. This unique course offered free to the community focuses on understanding mental illness and the toll it takes on the entire family. Each week, a topic is introduced such as brain biology, diagnostic symptoms, coping skills, communication skills, and much more. 

Hear what participants have to say about NAMI's Family to Family Program:
"I have learned many skills that I use on a day to day basis.  I love the atmosphere and the relationships I gained from this class. I'm more open to talk to my family about my sick family member.  They are as well.  It's nice to come to NAMI classes and know that others have similar experiences with you." (sister is diagnosed with Bi-polar, 26 years old)
"I did not realize how much being with others that are experiencing the same heartache would help me to get outside of my "poor me" and realize that empathizing with those folks lifts some of my burden. Plus the educational piece was invaluable to me. I understand and can articulate so much better on my son's behalf."
The next 12-week free series of classes will be offered starting June 28, 2010 at Verdugo Mental Health Care in Glendale.

For more information or to register, please contact Jonée Shady (323) 610-1009 or visit the website
In This Issue
Actress Mariette Hartley Keynote Speaker
Mother's Day
Webcasts for Mental Health Month
President's Message
Under the Dome
MHSA Updates
NAMI Battles Burger Retailer
NAMI California Holds Regional Meetings
2010 Family-to-Family
Affiliate News
conference theme
Register Online Now!

NAMI California 2010 Annual Conference
"Lighting The Way To Recovery Together"
August 27 & 28, 2010
San Francisco Airport Marriott
1800 Old Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone:  650-692-9100

Attention Exhibitors:
Tables are available.
For details and applications call (916) 567-0163.

Visit our Conference Page at the NAMI California website. There you'll find details on sponsorship, exhibitor information, and more details as time grows closer to August.
NAMI California
2010 Annual Conference Corporate Sponsors



NAMI California's Tree of Tribute
tree of tribute
Each year many donors elect to give a gift in celebration of an event, in honor of a special individual or in memory of a loved one.

The Tree of Tribute formalizes this tradition by providing a lasting acknowledgement
for individuals who are remembered, individuals who are honored or have an enduring record of a significant celebration. 
Gifts in Celebration, in Honor or in Memory

Gifts of $500 or more will be eligible for an engraved leaf on the Tree of Tribute or an engraved stone at the base of the tree.

$500 - Bronze leaf
$1,000 - Silver leaf
$2,000 - Gold leaf
$3,000 -- Small stone
$5,000 - Large stone

Major Donors

I California thanks the following for their very generous contributions of $500 or more.

Humanitarian: $5,000 - $15,000
The Commu
nity Foundation, Riverside, CA

Patron:  $
2,500 - $4,999

Benefactor:  $1,000 - $2,499
Rita Jean Boppana, Playa Del Rey, CA
Attias Family Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Mountain View, CA
Frances Tibbits, Pacific Palisades, CA

Shareholder: $750-$999

Sponsor:  $500-$749
Teresa A Walker, San Mateo, CA
Stephen Dwelle, President, Dwelle Family Foundation, Visalia, CA
Edward Gaston, MD & Lori Zager,San Rafael, CA
Margaret C. Winrich, Kelseyville, CA
Elaine Zelnik, Berkeley, CA
Doris Crowell, Walnut Creek, CA
Jeannette Lowe, Washoe Valley, NV
Pamela Zelnik & Mark Suhr, Berkeley, CA
Elizabeth L Friedman, Los Angeles, CA
Elizabeth Chamberlain, Woodside, CA
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Aldrich, Glendale, CA
John & Beverly White, Brentwood, TN
John J Krolewski & Nadia Ghent, Irvine, CA

Mark & Theresa Gale, West Hills, CA
Frances Tibbits, Pacific Palisades, CA
Christopher & Mary Folck Family, Truckee, CA
Glen & Linda Meyer, Danville, CA
Nancy Doyle, Santa Rosa, CA
Stephen & Jacqueline Astle, San Rafael, CA
Elizabeth S. Holden, Eugene. OR
Loeb Family Foundation
Linda K. Pontious, Grass Valley, CA
Elizabeth Chamberlain, Woodside, CA
Gunnar Christiansen, MD, Santa Ana, CA
Venona & John Levine, Walnut Creek, CA

All donations,
large and small,
are greatly appreciated by
NAMI California and help
us achieve our mission
at the state level.
state advocacy link
Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163

This educational newsletter is supported, in part, by an educational grant from Lilly USA, LLC.  For further information concerning Lilly grant funding visit