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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
write a letterWrite to the Governor, Now!
AB 1600, the Mental Health Parity bill, (Beall) has passed out of both houses of the legislature and is awaiting the Governor's signature. Please write a letter NOW to the Governor in support of this important legislation.

Send letters to:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA  95814


AB 1600 will provide parity in insurance coverage for people with mental illnesses that is equivalent to coverage for people with other physical illnesses. Mental illnesses are known to be biologically based brain disorders. It is just, equitable, and practical to provide insurance coverage equal to that for other physical illnesses.  People with illnesses classified as "mental" and their families pay premiums, so parity in insurance coverage is just and equitable.

AB 1600 will create financially sound law for California. Early treatment of people with mental illnesses avoids the greater financial and social costs of more severe illness. Delayed or inadequate treatment means more people are likely to become homeless, to be incarcerated, or to suffer physical harm or death. 

When people with mental illness do not receive appropriate treatment through the private sector, they are more likely to end up in state health and corrections facilities being cared for at great expense to the state. Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to financial ruin of their families and additional emotional trauma.  People with mental illnesses when treated fairly and appropriately can maintain productive lives.

AB 1600 would extend coverage to employees of employers with 50 or fewer employees, filling an important gap in coverage.

Families cannot afford the financial and emotional burdens caused by mental illnesses. To maintain a healthy society, our state will need to step in if insurance does not provide needed care.

Note: A sample letter was mailed out to all Affiliates.

The 2010 NAMI-CA Annual Conference Opens Doors to Progress, Hope, Communication, and Recovery

The plenary was packed.
The 2010 NAMI California annual conference was a huge success.Speakers received standing ovations, workshops were packed, and the entertainment was fun, informative, and poignant.

Attendees learned about new recovery models and services. They were given new hope by the outcomes studies. Advances in brain research helped participants to understand brain disorders in terms of degrees along a continuum.

Members learned that Sharon Aungst of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has promised to work more closely with NAMI as new protocols are developed. Dr. Steven Mayberg, Director of the California Department of Mental Health, gave an overview of the status of community mental health and spoke of his desire to see more treatment programs for veterans.

Many workshop presentations were so popular that there was standing-room-only--even in the larger break-out rooms.The Thursday pre-conference forums were very well attended, especially the forum on criminal justice.

Brenda Scott, Past-President, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, Dr. Trula LaCalle, Executive Director
at the conference
The NAMI California Board and staff incorporated changes in the format and presentations at the conference--all well received. One of those changes included a first-ever Annual Address to the Membership from the Executive Director, Dr. Trula LaCalle.

DVDs of the plenary speakers will be shown upon request at NAMI California regional meetings and will eventually be available via the web site.

The 50-50 raffle was won by Dr. Ralph Nelson. Half of the winnings will go to
Dr. Nelson, who  selected NAMI Tulare to receive the other half. Members erupted with applause and laughter as separate drawings were made for other prizes.
50-50 raffle. From left, board members Coleen Peters, May Farr, Brenda Scott, Frances Tibbits

NAMI California gave recognition to several NAMI leaders throughout California. In order to build suspense, the winners names were not announced until the conference luncheon.

Here is the list of award winners in each category and a short summary of why they were chosen:

Don & Peggy Richardson Award
For distinguished service to persons afflicted with serious mental illness
Hal & Patsy Hollister

Hal and Patsy have been tireless advocates on behalf of people with mental illness. Their daughter, who has schizophrenia, is a brilliant artist and was the impetus for starting NARSAD Artworks. NARSAD serves as an opportunity to provide opportunities for people with mental illness diagnosis to earn money by selling their artwork. Through their artwork and publicity, NARSAD Artworks reduces stigma and contributes to funding young scientists to continue research related to mental health/illness.

Consumer Council Award
For showing excellence in leadership by demonstrating active and consistent participation in consumer and peer activities.

Joe Teixeira

Joe has contributed to the NAMI Consumer programs, both as a local Consumer Programs Coordinator, Peer-to-Peer Mentor and trainer, Connection Facilitator and Trainer, and In Our Own Voice Presenter. He makes himself available seven days a week, not only to consumers in his community, but also to support and guide all of the people he has trained over the years. He has trained over 200 new peer-to-peer mentors.

Outstanding Clergy Award
For The Clergy Person's Efforts On Behalf Of Those Challenged By Serious Mental Illness

Reverend Jan Heglund

Rev. Jan Heglund
Rev. Jan Heglund
Rev. Jan Heglund, of Marin, served as a Chaplain at Ground Zero. She helped establish Northern California's West Coast Post Trauma Retreat for first responders who have been felled by Post Traumatic Stress. She is a chaplain with the FBI in San Francisco and works with law enforcement in Marin County. Rev. Heglund frequently responds to calls involving suicides or suicide attempts and helps to comfort families.

Family to Family Award
For showing excellence in leadership by demonstrating active and consistent participation in family-to-family activities

Leah Sullivan

Leah has been the F2F coordinator for NAMI San Gabriel Valley affiliate in Pasadena for years. She manages all the trainings, recommends graduates for training to become facilitators, provides on-going support for the facilitators through monthly meetings, and maintains an active alumni list so graduates can obtain continuing support. Leah has also been supportive of consumer involvement in all aspects of the F2F program.

Media Award
For excellence in reporting on serious mental illness.

Katie Cadigan & Laura Murray

Katie has produced two important films about mental illness: one depicts the history of a person with serious mental illness, her brother and their family as they face their challenges. The other film depicts the history of San Mateo families that came together to help each other, organized and sparked the beginnings of NAMI California. Katie tells OUR story

Outstanding Criminal Justice Award
For exemplary time and effort in advocating for accepted best practices that have resulted in the decriminalization of persons with serious mental illness in California.

Sharon Roth

Sharon is California's premier NAMI advocate for the expansion of Crisis Intervention Team training for police departments across the state. She continues to be one of NAMI's most-effective advocates for easing the challenges people with serious mental illness face when they become involved with the criminal justice system. She has organized the NAMI California Criminal Justice Community Collaborative which has led to the expansion and implementation of mental health courts, CIT police trainings, and other best practices.

Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional Award
For a criminal justice professional who has advocated for and has been an integral part in implementing accepted best practices that has resulted in the decriminalization of persons with serious mental illness.

Officer Victor Cass
Chairman, Pasadena Mental Health Advisory Committee

Officer Cass saw a need and took action as one of the police officers on the Pasadena Police Force and member of the HOPE Team. On a daily basis he works with people dealing with mental illness and struggling with homelessness. He initiated and founded the Pasadena Mental Health Advisory Committee, inviting any community-based organizational leaders to the table to interact with people with serious mental health issues. He saw the need for prevention and early intervention strategies and led the group to develop a one-page handout cleverly designed as a leaflet to leave at libraries, with homeless teens, and the community at-large about mental illness. Now Pasadena residents know the single number to call when they need help.

Recovery Practitioner Award
For the clinical staff person who consistently initiates, promotes and reinforces recovery principles within their practice, county and Sphere of Influence

Dr. Robert Liberman

Dr. Liberman is known by many as the "father" of the psychosocial rehab movement. His research and practice works toward  rehabilitating people with mental illness so that they can lead fulfilling lives in the community. His involvement at UCLA's Semel Neuropsych Institute focuses on research into social integration techniques to assist people in every aspect of their lives. 
Welcome Our New Officers
The NAMI California board meeting was held at the annual conference location on Sunday, August 29. All board meetings are open to members. Members from around the state and the NAMI California staff attended the board meeting as we announced our new officers:

President: Dorothy Hendrickson
1st Vice President: Brenda Scott
2nd Vice President: Mark Gale
Secretary: Frances Tibbits
Treasurer: Shannon Jaccard
NAMIWalks Los Angeles
Los Angeles County will take place on October 2, 2010. Join the walk to raise community awareness, end stigma, and support NAMI Signature Programs that are free to anyone.

The walk will be along the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Check in and registration starts at 8 AM. It is free to walk and walkers who raise $100 will get a T-Shirt that day.

To register for the walk, to be a walker, Team Captain, supporter or to get the latest progress report, contact walk manager Wayne Baldaro, or phone (213) 251-6519.

Team Captains Challenged to "Raise Awareness & Erase Stigma"

With a resounding "yes" the attendees at the Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon for NAMIWalks in Los Angeles agreed to take the challenge and make the Los Angeles walk the #1 Mental Health Walk in America. "We need to have vision, plans, creativity, communication that motivates and fun," encouraged Walk Manager Wayne Baldaro before hundreds of Team Captains, Sponsors, and Community Partners.

The theme for the 2010 walk is "Changing Minds One Step At a Time". Dr. Anand Pandya from Cedars~Sinai Hospital challenged everyone to "invite everyone you know" to this year's walk. Cedars-Sinai was presented with special plaque in recognition of continued sponsorship in supporting NAMIWalks.

Heidi Lennartz, CEO of Mission Community Hospital and NAMIWalks Business Team Chair for 2010, also encouraged attendees to "step up" and become involved to support NAMI and its good works in the community.

Mari Ledergerber, NAMIWestside, was recognized for her successful 2009 Fund-raising Campaign on behalf of NAMIWalks.  Her team raised over $11,000 and she personally raised over $4,000. She received the "Outstanding Team Captain" award.

Cathy Williamson, NAMI Long Beach, was applauded for her walker recruitment. She had over 106 walkers on her team.

The Walk Manager Award for "Most Inspiring Individuals" was awarded to Tim and Debbie Watkins, NAMI Pomona Valley.

The walk currently has 126 teams registered online and the goal is 200. There are also $66,250 in committed Sponsorships, with a goal of  $75,000.

NAMIWalks Riverside/San Bernardino County
The 5th Annual NAMIWALK for the Mind of America will be held on November 6th, 2010 at Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet. Sponsors for the Walk are still needed to ensure that NAMI raises funds for its valuable programs

Darrell Mansfield will again be Honorary Chairman. The Riverside County Department of Mental Health and the San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health understand the value of NAMI and are commended for their support. Funds raised over the last four years have provided many educational programs in the counties and the affiliate promises to make this year better than ever before!

There currently are 25 Walk Teams and three Super Teams registered online. Register your team online to help meet the goal of 70 teams this year!

Hal Adams
Location: Diamond Valley Lake
Hemet, CA
Date:  November 6, 2010
Distance:  5 K
Check-in: 8:00 am
Start Time: 9:30 am

NAMIWalks Orange County
"Changing Minds ... One Step at a Time" is a nationwide mental health awareness event being held in 83 communities around the country in 2010. In partnership with "BringChange2Mind", this is also the largest anti-stigma effort in Orange County and America.

Individuals with mental illness and their families and friends, as well as the larger community, join together in "Community Unity" to become one voice in support of the effort to eliminate stigma and to support the mission of NAMI OC -- providing FREE to everyone in our community, education programs, support, and advocacy. Last year's NAMI OC Walk hosted over 1,200 walkers from all around Orange County. NAMI Orange County is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible. The Walk is FREE - everyone is invited to join us!

Date: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Location: Huntington Beach Pier
Registration: FREE
Distance: 5K
Check-in: 8:00 am
Start Time: 9:00 am

For more information:
Visit:, or call: 714-544-8488

NAMIWalks Kern County
Walk: October 16, 2010
NAMI Walks at the River Walk Park Saturday, October 16th
Contact: Nicole Browning
Phone: (661) 301-3283
Criminal Justice and the NAMI California Conference 2010
Full house at the Thursday evening criminal justice forum lead by Mark Gale.
NAMI California focused on criminal justice issues at this year's conference. The opening forum was standing-room-only as attendees reviewed initiatives and accomplishments of the NAMI California Criminal Justice Workgroup and discussed ways to more effectively build the advocacy infrastructure and
communicate statewide. Participants agreed on the need for community-based re-entry models for persons with serious mental illness being discharged from jails and prisons, and members offered insights into programs developed in their counties.
Several NAMI affiliates are pursuing the implementation of Laura's Law in their counties. Advocates from San Francisco and Marin briefed participants on their progress and next steps. Judge Tom Anderson and Behavioral Health Director Michael Heggarty
shared details of actual implementation in Nevada County. The outcomes from the Nevada County Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program, they said, are overwhelmingly positive.

Participants expressed interest in procedural process and the delivery of mental health services with dignity and respect. Not everyone in the CJ Forum and LL Workshop were in support of the agreement, but respectfully asked thoughtful, challenging, and probing questions that deepened the discussion and advanced the dialogue.
The Criminal Justice Plenary Presentation was led by Clark Kelso, the Federal Receiver of the prison system, and Sharon Aungst, Chief Deputy Secretary and Statewide Mental Health Director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Kelso reviewed past actions that have produced the current state of affairs within the prison system, and initiatives put in place to rectify overcrowding and the need for higher quality prison healthcare.

Ms. Aungst described programs to help the
incarcerated who are most in need of mental health services and announced that she is willing to partner with NAMI California on new initiatives.
--Mark Gale
Chair, NAMI California Government Affairs Committee and Criminal Justice Workgroup
Energy Assistance for Low-Income Californians

energy_assistanceNAMI affiliates who for years have received several calls a year from low-income members seeking help meeting their energy costs are now tending several calls a week in this troubled economy. Through Sept. 21, the Temporary Energy Assistance for Families (TEAF) offers a one-time payment program sponsored by PG&E and administered by The Salvation Army that may pay to up to $1,500.

Note: Applications will be handled on a first-come, first-serve basis until program funds are depleted or until September 21, 2010.

If you have received a 48-hour energy shut-off notice, please call The Salvation Army now at 1-800-933-9677.

To qualify:
  • The applicant must be a customer of PG&E, Edison, Southern California Gas Company, or SDG&E.
  • The utility bill must be in the applicant's name.
  • The applicant must be a parent, guardian, or non-custodial parent of a child under 18 years of age.
  • The applicant must provide the current utility bill with a past due amount.
  • The applicant must show provide a photo identification card and proof of U.S. citizenship for each household member.
  • The applicant must provide documentation that their household income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Income Eligibility

Number of persons in Household - Annual Income Limits:
  • 1 person - $21,660
  • 2 people - $29,140
  • 3 people - $36,620
  • 4 people - $44,100
  • 5 people - $51,580
  • 6 people - $59,060
  • For each additional person, add: $7,480
To find out more or to apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 1-800-933-9677 or go to their website.

low_income_mothersLow-Income New Mothers at High Risk for Depression

More than 50% of infants in poverty are raised by mothers with mild to severe depression, which could contribute to problems in parenting and child development, according to a study by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute, the Washington Post reports.

According to the researchers, at least 70% of women with depression need professional help, but only 30% of women in the study reported speaking to a professional during the year before the survey

Read more about the study.

NAMI has raised concern at the national level following the release of the report.

Social Security Administration Proposes Changes to Criteria for Mental Disorders

On August 19, 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published a proposed rule revising medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders for purposes of determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These include proposed changes to the criteria for evaluating mental illnesses in adults and mental health conditions in youth.

In conjunction with NAMI's Scientific Advisory Council, we will be carefully evaluating these proposed changes and submitting comments to the SSA. All comments are due by November 17, 2010. Click here to review the proposed changes.

We would like to hear your views and those of your grassroots membership. All comments should be sent via email to Bianca Ruffin. We will carefully consider these comments in preparing our own, and will send guidance out to the field prior to the November 17th deadline.

--Mike Fitzpatrick
Executive Director, NAMI Central (formerly called NAMI National)
Under the Dome
Four bills that NAMI California supported were passed by both legislative houses and are on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature or veto. Governor Schwarzenegger has until September 30th to make his decisions. 

Let the Governor know your opinion on these bills. You may contact his office through his website, by phone or by letter:

AB 674 (Salas) Allows probation and treatment for military personel and veterans for some criminal acts if it was caused by trauma and substance abuse caused by military service.
AB 1600 (Beall) Requires Mental Health Parity by health care insurers, including for those employed in firms with under 50 employees.

AB 1925 (Salas) Authorizes veterans courts to create collaborative programs with mental health programs for community treatment insofar as consistent with public safety.

AB 2212 (Fuentes) Codifies constitutional rights of minors regarding competency determinations during court proceedings.
AB 2706 (B. Lowenthal) Names persons who are homeless as a class entitled to the civil rights set forth under existing law, the right to be free from violence or intimidation based on that person's status as homeless.
SB 1392 (Steinberg) Streamlines flow of funding from State to Counties for improved mental health services.

To find out more about these bills, go our website. Find the bill number and click on it to go to the legislative page with details.
--Frances Tibbits, co-chair of Government Affairs

Family to Family Family to Family News

Our annual Family to Family Forum was held at the NAMI California Conference on Thursday evening, August 26th. It was led by Sharon Dunas, president of NAMI Westside LA and NAMI Los Angeles County. The focus of the forum was exploring our feelings as Family to Family teachers, and in ways we can connect with and impart information to our participants in the 12-week classes.  Thank you Sharon for leading this important workshop each year!  We look forward to seeing our NAMI members at next year's conference in Sacramento.

--Lynn Cathy
Director of Family Programs,
NAMI California
NAMI Sonoma County

marin symposiumNAMI 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

Bud LeafCharles (Bud) E. Leaf was the the early force behind NAMI-Lompoc. Bud was considered to be a warm, caring, interested, opinionated-but-not-pushy man who would give his right arm to help people. He worked tirelessly for the National Alliance for Mental Illness in Lompoc where he lived for many years and touched many lives.

Bud established a good NAMI working relationship with the Lompoc Police Department and was well known among the Santa Barbara County NAMI groups. Bud continued in later years to be a guiding force. He stayed involved as much as his heart condition would allow. Even as he completed the last Family to Family that he led, he made sure all information was updated. Bud was a good Family to Family teacher -- perceptive and compassionate.  He was devoted to the organization and he helped keep the group going strong.

Bud passed away July 22, 2010.

NAMI Santa Clara County

NAMI Santa Clara County is celebrating 35 years!  The affiliate will host a dinner on Thursday, November 11, 2010, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Brian Wetzel, comedian and speaker, with be the emcee. Call 408-453-0400 for details and ticket information.
NAMI Gold County
NAMI Gold County hosted guest speaker Dr. Robert Mulert at their June meeting, speaking on the topic "Mind and Body Health, What Can We Do?"  Dr. Mulert cited stigma as the number-one reason for poor health outcomes. He said, "In our culture, human beings with mental health disorders are disabled primarily due to a distortion of their self value."
NAMI Alameda

NAMI Alameda will host Douglas Del Paggio, Pharm. D., M.P.A. and Director of Pharmacy Services for Behavioral Health Care Services, at their October 14 meeting.  Dr. Del Paggio will present the latest information on medications used to treat mental illness.  
NAMI Contra Costa
NAMI Contra Costa's educational topic for their July meeting was the importance of sleep.  More than 70 people turned out to hear Dr. Allison G. Harvey of U.C. Berkeley's Sleep and Psychological Disorders Lab discuss how our biology works and the many ways that we can improve our sleep.
NAMI Yolo has begun holding a monthly talent night where each person or group shares talent though art, poetry, stories, songs, and playing musical instruments. No need to be perfect or polished; just come to the meeting prepared to express yourself from the heart. 

NAMI San Diego
NAMI San Diego was awarded a county contract to expand and improve its Family and Peer Support Helpline. Brandi Marcoe, MSW, will be the Program manager. 
In This Issue
Write the Governor, Now
NAMI-CA Annual Conference
Welcome Our New Officers
NAMI Walks
Criminal Justice at the Conference
Energy Assistance for Low Income Californians
Low-Income New Mothers at High Risk for Depression
SSA Proposes Changes
Under the Dome
Family to Family News
Affiliate News
NAMI California
2010 Annual Conference Corporate Sponsors

NAMI California wishes to thank the sponsors who so generously contributed  support for this year's successful conference.


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
Ronald & Pat StoneModesto, 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