final masthead
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
DON'T BE LATE!  The 2010 NAMI-CA Annual Conference Promises to be Memorable!
HartleyBe sure you have registered by mail or on-line and have reserved your room at the San Francisco Marriott. For those who already have a reservation at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, it's smart to register for the conference in advance. With on-site registration your meals cannot be guaranteed.

The cut-off date for special conference rates at the hotel is August 18, 2010. If you have trouble obtaining a room at the conference hotel or are looking for a lower room rate, check our website for information on "spill-over" hotels.

Be Excited and Renewed!
NAMI Affiliate leaders across the state are remarking that NAMI California has been re-energized. Come to the conference and find out for yourself.  We think you will return home after the conference with new motivation and enthusiasm for doing the work in your communities. Take home ideas and plans that you captured in the workshops. Find hope in the future by listening to our expert plenary speakers who will tell us about scientific advances and recovery models. Be inspired by the personal story of our keynote speaker, award-winning actress, Mariette Hartley.

Just Added!
On Friday evening, we will screen Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia, the documentary of the journey made by Delaney Ruston, MD, to reconnect with her schizophrenic father after hiding from him for 10 years. Dr. Ruston will be at the conference.

Contribute Your Ideas!
Come to the annual conference prepared to share as well as learn.  Network with your fellow NAMI members and - if you can - bring with you materials and ideas to help other NAMI members.  Talk with the NAMI California board members and staff and learn about how the state organization can and does support the work you do.  Let NAMI California leaders know what more we can do for you.

Check our website for a listing of the full program schedule and decide ahead of time what workshops are right for you. You'll find a full page of conference information, including links to the on-line  and mail-in registration, and links to to on-line voting (see story below).

We want to see you there!  Help make NAMI a stronger force in the state of California. Let's show our strength in numbers!

vote nowAll NAMI members in California are strongly encouraged to vote for new NAMI California board members. If you haven't voted or if you know someone who hasn't voted, please help make this election a good one. We need full participation to truly represent our membership, so your vote makes a difference. You will need your membership number in order to vote. Recently, members received in the regular mail an announcement of the conference. Your membership number is on the mailing label.

If you can't find the number on the Annual Conference Announcement or in your files, please call Jose Perez in our office (916-567-0163) to obtain your membership number.

To vote on line, click here.
This link will take you to a page where you can quickly and easily vote-and save a postage stamp.

You may vote for up to four candidates. Vote for more and your ballot may be disallowed. View all candidates' statements here.

Candidate Photos

Randy Beckx, NAMI Orange
David House, NAMI Sonoma
Stephanie M. Glenn, NAMI Sonoma
Rosina Guzman-Ehrlich, NAMI Westside Los Angeles
Oscar Guzman, NAMI Sonoma
Dorothy Hendrickson, NAMI Orange

Marilyn Sanacore, NAMI Coachella Valley
Frances Tibbits, NAMI Westside Los Angeles

NAMI California Pioneer Eve Oliphant and Her Empowering Legacy

in tributeEve Oliphant, one of one of NAMI's leading founders and a founding member of the organization that became NAMI California, passed away on June 26 in California at the age of 89. Her enduring legacy reflects the monumental shift in the American landscape regarding the medical perception and treatment of mental illness, as well as in the de-stigmatizing transformation of the way Americans, consumers, family members, and physicians look at schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, bipolar, and many other disorders.

Making History

Oliphant led marches, organized letter-writing campaigns, and attacked those who continued to foster the myth of the "schizophrenogenic mother."  Strong willed mothers and weak-willed fathers were blamed by physicians for their mentally ill children in this Dark Age of American medicine only 30 years ago. Not only was Oliphant and other mothers' sons shipped to the Napa State hospital, but physicians denied parental visits, claiming mothers would only deepen their sons' mental illness.

When Medicine Got it Wrong, a documentary narrated by actress Rita Moreno, documents the struggle of Oliphant and Tony and Fran Hoffman to battle family stigmas and begin the long movement that continues to fight for many people who today can finally speak up for themselves.

Oliphant  ended up employing her tireless resolve to creating a continental shift in medicine and American culture. Oliphant would certainly agree that there's still much work to be done.

We shall be forever grateful to her for lighting a torch in the wilderness.

Read more about her here.

An Interview with Keris Myrick
Vice-President, NAMI National Board of Directors

myrickKeris Jšn Myrick, Ph.D.c, has been a member of the NAMI California board since 2007 (with her term expiring this month) and a member of the NAMI National Board of Directors since 2008. She has just been named First VP of NAMI National. As executive director of Project Return Peer Support Network (PRPSN), Ms. Myrick oversees one of Los Angeles' premier self-help programs for people recovering from mental illness.We recently had the opportunity to ask her about her new role at the national level and about key issues facing California and the nation. She had just returned from a visit to the White House to participate in the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Q. Could you briefly explain the process of becoming a member of the national board and how long you have served there?

A. I am starting the 3rd year of my first term. I hope to run for another three-year term next year. The process involves being nominated by an affiliate or state organization, writing responses to a several questions (willingness to serve, what skills etc will a candidate bring to the National Board etc), delivering a three-minute speech at National Convention, completing an on-line speech, attending as many state caucuses as you can, and then ultimately being elected to the board.

Q. What are your responsibilities as First VP?

A. My role is to be an active member of the executive committee which consists of the board officers. I am the back-up to the president when he is absent and/or steps out of the room while presiding over a meeting. I work closely with the president on pressing issues before the board and we work as a great team. I am sure that I will learn more about other duties as this year progresses.

Q. What are the key issues or concerns that you see on the table at the national level?

A. From an advocacy perspective, we are focusing attention on the implementation of health care reform and parity, adequate and access to mental health services for our veterans and their families, mental health services to those affected by the BP oil spill. From the organizational perspective, we are focusing on developing our strategic plan as well as rolling out the Standards of Excellence.

Q. Speaking as executive director of Project Return Peer Support Network, what similar issues affect providers and consumers at both the national and California levels?

A. At Project Return we focus on providing peer/self-help support that meets the needs of the people that we serve throughout Los Angeles County. Because of harsh economic times, we are focusing on finding creative ways to be fully involved in one's community that are empowering, independent, and relevant to the person's life. For example, community integration, social interaction is important for people, but sometimes finances preclude folks from doing fun things like going to the movies -- or even to Disneyland which is right in our backyard! One of our groups took part in a volunteer event sponsored by Disneyland. The group volunteered at a blood bank right after the tragedy in Haiti and in return each volunteer received a free Disneyland ticket!
What was novel is that by volunteering as a group from Project Return in their community, they reduced the stigma of mental illness, had people involved in their community, and each person got a free ticket to Disneyland--something that many could not afford on their own. Also, many receiving services from Project Return as well as employed by Project Return were involved in letter writing and providing testimony at the State Capitol to preserve MHSA and Mental Health funding. From the perspective of Project Return and the national perspective - participation emphasizes the importance of our voice (the lived-experience voice) in policy planning, decision-making, and ultimately in the services that we receive.

Q. Are there Multicultural issues at that national level that you'd like to explore during your tenure?

A. I am Chair of the Planning Committee for the Board and we have a Diversity Workgroup comprised of grassroots leaders from around the country. This group along with the Multicultural Action Center is keeping their eye on the pulse of multicultural and diversity issues within NAMI as well within mental health issues on a national level. There is not one multicultural issue that I can identify, but can state the focus is to ensure, especially as we refer to Standards of Excellence for NAMI, that we are meeting the needs of our members that come to us from various backgrounds inclusive of culture, race, ethnicity, language, disability, as evidenced by the passage of the NAMI national by-law this year on an revised and expanded definition of diversity. Further, our focus is on the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness throughout the whole of NAMI, from membership, leadership, on committees and boards but most importantly as equal members at the NAMI table.

Q. How does your experience in California inform the idea of a recovery based model at the national level and what are the challenges?

A. My personal experience of living with a mental illness is probably the best way that I came to understand recovery for myself and how to honor others' definition and experience of  recovery. It is hard for me to say there is a "model" due to the very individual nature of recovery for each person. If anything, that is the biggest challenge, taking something so very personal and individual and trying to aggregate the experience and apply it as a one-size-fit model to everyone. One thing that is a rather new revelation for me is that as we continue to advocate for access to, variety and choice in and better mental health services, as well as research for better medications. We use the word "recovery" right now based on the aforementioned efforts. These things are indeed crucial yet are just shy of focusing on the whole person. Within the context of  recovery, , I think it is important to advocate for services and supports that are whole-person centered such as  housing, employment and education which are, as identified by people with mental health issues, critical issues and needs that positively impact their recovery. So the challenge is not to reduce the word recovery to just a word or buzzword, but to ensure that RECOVERY is real, attainable, powerful and aligned fully with our advocacy efforts.
Q. As an advocate of In Our Own Voice and peer-recovery programs, what message would you like to send to the NAMI California audience?
A. Peer services work! Family to Family is peer service, just as Peer To Peer and In Our Own Voice provide a peer/ lived experience service. How wonderful it is to know that either as a parent, sibling, spouse, friend or person living with a mental illness that we are NOT alone! When I was first hospitalized, the staff discouraged the "patients" from doing the most natural thing in the world: helping, supporting and caring for one-another. Could you imagine that happening in a cancer treatment center? Of course not!  Sharing common experiences is what helps us to learn and grow as individuals. It is what provides "connection" and tethers us to this world. It is what makes us human!

lunatic NAMI's Anti-Stigma Efforts Benefit Sebastopol Community

A potentially offensive event that might have stigmatized mental illness was converted into a mutually beneficial learning experience at a Sebastopol nightspot this month. 

When the local HopMonk Tavern's "Lunatic Binge" party advertisements hit the local media showing a crazed face and the words "Please, no sharp objects", Sonoma County NAMI President Rosemary Milbrath and NAMI California Executive Director Trula M. LaCalle responded with concern.

In an interview with The Press Democrat, Dr. LaCalle said poking fun at people with mental illness is no different than the insensitivity of mocking those with cancer or other disabilities.

Milbrath said in a letter to HopMonk owner Dean Biersch that members statewide were "poised to become involved if needed."

The "lunatic" theme was the idea of the event's headliner group, Baby Seal Club, a local indie rock band whose members defended the show. The band's bass player, who identified himself only as Wizzbang, said the intent was to mock archaic institutions and stigmas, not mentally ill people. In fact, the band is sympathetic to the plight of the mentally challenged and some have family members who have suffered, he said.

Milbrath subsequently spoke with the tavern owner by phone to explain her concerns. After her conversation, she received a call from the band leader agreeing to allow NAMI to set up an information table at the event.

"The band and management welcomed us," Milbrath said after the concert, "and we all had a wonderful evening. Their event was not exploitative, nor a mockery. Rather, it was a multi-media art event by a talented group of people who have a personal experience of the link between mental illness and creativity. There was sort of an Andy Warhol meets Burning Man feel to the evening. We all made a genuine connection and I think that they will help us in the future."

need for careNearly 1 in 5 Californians Report Need for Mental Health Services

In a comprehensive new study on mental health status and the use of mental health services by Californians, researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that nearly one in five adults in the state - about 4.9 million people - said they needed help for a mental or emotional health problem.

In addition, approximately one in 25, or more than 1 million, reported symptoms associated with serious psychological distress (SPD), which includes the most serious kinds of diagnosable mental health disorders.  

Of those adults with either "perceived need" or SPD, only one in three reported visiting a mental health professional for treatment, a factor potentially attributable to fear of stigmatization, as well as lack of insurance coverage, the researchers said.  The study draws on data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which is administered by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

"There's a lot of need, but also a lot of obstacles connecting those in need to the services that can help them," said David Grant, the study's lead author and director of the CHIS. "Part of the problem may be stigma. It's hard for many Californians to acknowledge they need help - to their family, friends or their doctor. The challenge for policymakers and providers is to both target appropriate services to those with needs and to reduce fear." Grant noted that since the data was collected, the state has suffered an economic downturn, resulting high unemployment.  

"The recession has created even more stress for people," he said. As a result, the study "is probably an underestimate of the true level of mental health need in California right now."

Among the findings:

Women at risk
Women were nearly twice as likely as men (22.7 percent vs. 14.3 percent) to say they needed help for a mental or emotional health problem ("perceived need"), such as feeling sad, anxious or nervous.

Working-age adults at risk
The prevalence of perceived need was twice as high for adults under 65 as for those 65 and older (20.2 percent vs. 9.2 percent).

Income a significant factor
The poorest adults - those living below 100 percent of the federal poverty level - were much more likely to report symptoms associated with SPD than those with incomes that were even just slightly higher. The poorest were more than five times as likely to report SPD as those living at or above 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Distress pervasive regardless of race or ethnicity
Although racial and ethnic disparities in mental health were found in the study, those differences diminished when adjusted for income. These findings suggest that mental health status is more closely related to socioeconomic status than ethnicity or place of birth.

Insurance coverage improves access to services
Adults with health insurance coverage were almost twice as likely to have received mental health services during the previous 12 months as adults without health insurance.  

Stigma, cultural factors may impede access to services
Men, adults aged 65 or older, and Latino and Asian immigrant groups were far less likely to seek help with a mental health professional than other groups. The authors note that these findings suggest that stigma and cultural factors may pose a significant barrier to care.

Read the policy brief: Mental Health Status and Use of Mental Health Services by California Adults.

sacramento marchersWith Gratitude
NAMI California wishes to give a hearty thanks to the Northern California NAMI Walk for their contribution of 10% of their revenues from their very first Walk. Not only did they demonstrate an outstanding success for their kick-off Walk, they have shown great faith in their partnership with NAMI California and confidence that we can build a better regional future together.

We also wish to thank the Riverside County Walk for their generous contribution earlier this year. Riverside may be far from Sacramento, but their engagement with us is strong and is the home county of our NAMI California Board President, Brenda Scott.NAMI California puts Walk funds to use in programs and services that directly support NAMI California Affiliates.  Support for NAMI Walks across California will continue to increase in months ahead.  We encourage all Walk leaders to stay in touch with NAMI California so that we can help promote the most important awareness and fund raising events we have across the state.

Upcoming Walks

Kern County, CA
Walk: October 16, 2010
NAMI Walks at the River Walk Park Saturday, October 16th

Nicole Browning
Phone: (661)301-3283

NAMI Walks 2010 Kickoff Brunch at Hodel's on Saturday, August 7th, at 10am! RSVP to

Los Angeles, CA
Walk: October 2
Wayne Baldaro
Phone: (213) 251-6519

Orange County, CA
Walk: October 2
Carol Hamelberg
Phone: (714) 544-8488
FAX: (714) 544-0791

Riverside, CA
Walk: November 6
Hal Adams
Phone: (714) 801-7704
FAX: (951) 925-9450

The Rubberband Manrubber band

I am elastic.
Just pull me back,
And I might stretch
Or I might crack.
I might unravel
Then I might shrink.
But, I know, now,
Just what to think.
Stretching and cracking
May cause me pain.
But, I will just
Fly forth again.
And If I, perchance,
Fling to the floor,
I will bounce thru
The open door;
Out, where the world is
waiting for me,
The man made from
A rubber tree.
                  -- Stewart Wise, President of NAMI Stanislaus
Written to reflect my feeling of resiliency when dealing with Bipolar Disorder.

NAMI Sonoma County

fargo centerNAMI Sonoma County will host its Mental Health Symposium and Champions Awards Luncheon on September 14, 2010. There is no charge for this event.

Where: Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, California
When: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Mental Health Symposium offers CEU's for professionals. Students are welcome at class time. While there is no charge for symposium, you must Preregister.

Continental breakfast provided (8:00am).
Multicultural luncheon provided (11:00 am).
Workshops on Mental Health Needs of:

           ● American Indian
           ●African American
           ●Asian/Pacific Islander
           ●Criminal Justice
To RSVP by Phone: (707) 527-6655
Register online for theMental Health Symposium by clicking this link.

To nominate a champion please click on this link.

Click here for detailed Workshop descriptions

Symposium is generously funded by The Lytton Rancheria.
Kern County Affiliate

kern reportPolice Chiefs Release Report: Improving Police Response to Persons with Mental Illness

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has released a report titled Building Safer Communities: Improving Police Response to Persons with Mental Illness. This report presents the findings and recommendations from a national summit held by the IACP in May 2009 to address the millions of encounters between law enforcement and persons with mental illness in our communities. The report can be downloaded on the IACP website.

Thanks to the efforts of many here in Kern County and despite tight fiscal budgets, Law Enforcement's partnering with Mental Health & Veterans organizations is improving the response and outcomes - continued efforts will help strengthen our communities. Join us in improving Awareness for Vets with PTSD & Traumatic Brain Injury and those with Mental Illness.


In This Issue
Conference Draws Close!
NAMI Board Elections
Remembering Eve Oliphant
Interview: Keris Myrick
NAMI's Anti-Stigma Efforts
Startling UCLA Study
NAMI Walks
Rubberband Man
Sonoma Mental Health Symposium and Champions Awards
Improving Police Response
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


advocacy barbie












Alameda Alliance for Health

McGraw Systems
NAMI San Mateo
Sierra Office Supply
Turning Point Community Programs
UBS Financial Services


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
Mitch Francis, (location withheld on request)

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
Carla Jacobs
Tustin, 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
Ralph Nelson, Visalia, CA
Victoria Link, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Mark Gale, West Hills, 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