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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

NAMI California's Top Priorities for 2011

board priorities

As approved by the Board of Directors:

  • Providing an educational 2011 Annual Conference that includes best practice models
  • Applying for CalMHSA PEI Statewide Program funds
  • Implementing a Prison Guide to assist family members 
    Ensuring better communication and interactions between the state and local affiliates
  • Increasing technological capacity for information and communications, including social media
  • Establishing a new Financial Business Plan
  • Advocating through legislation to secure mental health funds 
  • Developing new polices and procedures to improve annual election and appointment processes

Alone we can do little, together we can do so much!

NAMI California Government Affairs Committee Update 

government affairs

The new legislative session came out of the gates like horses at the Kentucky Derby.  However, unlike the onslaught of bills that requires attention in more normal years, the focus in 2011 has been on the Governor's Budget Proposal and its accelerated timetable. We understand that over 200 bills will be submitted by the February 18th deadline, so our small Legislative Workgroup (in big need of volunteers) will have more than enough to do.


NAMI California's ad hoc Budget Workgroup has raced to educate itself on the issues and complexities of mental health funding in California, and how the Governor's proposal will radically change it. The group is led by NAMI CAN CoordinatorBettie Reinhardt, Government Affairs ChairMark Gale; and President Dorothy Hendrickson, with substantial contributions from Interim Executive Director Jessica Cruz, MHSA Policy Director Kathleen Derby, andLegislative Workgroup ChairFrances Tibbits.


The Governor's budget proposal creates a new Realignment. It is a tectonic shift in responsibilities for entitlement programs, some public safety programs, and delivery of mental healthcare in California.  NAMI California sent our Affiliate Presidents and Executive Directors an overview of the Governor's proposals with a Major Concerns document to be forwarded to members. We felt it important to inform you of our perspectives developed to date.  As NAMI California's positions continue to evolve and we will continue to provide our membership with updates. Many questions remain and much detail is not yet in writing. The issues are very fluid as the mental health community grapples with the complexitiesand concerns we face.


NAMI California's positions advance one consistent theme.  People with serious mental illnesses (children and adults) must continue to receive adequate levels of care despite funding issues, and there comes a point where continual budget cuts achieve a level of capacity and quality that is counter-productive. We are already at the point where people will find the care they need through any means possible. Often this is through less appropriate, or inappropriate, delivery systems that cost far more than providing high quality care in the first place. These inefficient and expensive alternatives reside in ER's, acute inpatient settings, jails, and prisons.


OK, you ask, what can I do?  Regardless of budget details hammered out between now and the end of March, everything collapses without passage of the tax extensions in the June election. Extension of the .5% Vehicle License Fee and 1% Sales Tax is essential to continuation of our mental health system, no matter the final configuration. Should these tax extensions fail, the image of our future mental health system becomes frightening. This is not about being a Democrat or Republican, or "more taxes" or "no more taxes."  This is about having a functioning mental healthcare system, or not. 


Californians deserves a full and permanent funding solution to healthcare, not temporary fixes. NAMI California members and friends can have real impact in this June election,which usually has low voter turnout.  So, register to vote, send in your "Vote by Mail" ballots, encourage everyone you know, family and friends, to vote. Your vote in June on tax extensions can make a difference in the future of our mental health system.  


-- Mark Gale

NAMI California Board of Directors, Second Vice-President

NAMI California Government Affairs and Public Policy Committee, Chair

NAMI California Welcomes Affiliates at January Board Meeting and Hosts Meet & Greet Reception

The NAMI California Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting January 27-29th at the Courtyard by Marriott Sacramento Midtown.


Board Actions:

Some actions included prioritizing 8 key goals for FY 2010/11 and finalizing Committee and Workgroups (soon to be posted).


Guest Speakers:

  • Mark Refowitz, LCSW, Deputy Agency Director, Behavioral Health Services, Orange County Health Care Agency
  • Allan Rawlings, LCSW, MSW, Director of  San Bernardino Behavioral Health and President of CalMHSA and JPA (California Mental Health Services Authority) and Edward Walker, LCSW, CalMHSA Program Director
  • Dr. Ralph Nelson, Past President, NAMI California Board of Directors, NAMI National Board Member, and Member of the MHS Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).

Topics included: 

1.) The Governor's proposed budget cuts

2.) The CalMHSA Prevention and Education Guidelines and statewide strategic plan

3.) An update on NAMI National issues.


NAMI California is preparing to partner with various stakeholders to apply for two of three PEI components, Reducing Stigma & Discrimination and Student Mental Health Plan Part I & II.


Eleven guests attended the board meetings, representing eight different NAMI affiliate organizations.


Meet and Greet Reception:

To broaden communications between NAMI California and its local affiliates, the Board established a Meet & Greet Reception to be held at each quarterly Board meeting.Dr. Ralph Nelson and his wife Denise attended the Boards first reception, sharing information relative to NAMI California and NAMI National issues. Local affiliates included representatives from Sacramento, El Dorado, Visalia, Amador, others.


NAMI California President's Leadership Committee (Conference Call):

  • Open to NAMI California Board of Directors, and Affiliate Presidents and Executive Directors
  • Meeting held the 4th Thursday of each month, from 4:00pm-5:00pm

Dates to Remember:

  • Board of Directors Meeting - March 24-26, 2011
    Los Angeles-Burbank Airport Hotel
    2500 Hollywood Way, Burbank CA 91505
  • Board of Directors Meeting - May 26-28, 2011
    Irvine Marriott Hotel
    18000 Von Karman Avenue
    Irvine, CA 92612
  • NAMI California  Annual Conference - August 17-21, 2011 Double Tree Sacramento Hotel
    2001 Point West
    Sacramento, CA 95825

MHSA December 2010-January 2011 Update


Mental Health Services Act news this month focuses on the Governor's budget proposal to divert $861 million from the MHSA for one year to temporarily cover the costs of future proposed realigned programs. NAMI California has testified on the need for adequate funding of all of these services and advocated that MHSA services must not be adversely affected.


The following programs are proposed to be realigned to the counties in the future: Medi-Cal Mental Health Managed Care, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT), and AB 3632, which supports the mental health needs of students. The realignment of these programs would be attached to new revenues (possibly a 1% increase in sales tax and .5% increase in the Vehicle License fee). Find a detailed analysis of this proposal at the Legislative Analyst's Office


Other impending MHSA issues include the Statewide MHSA Evaluation and the implementation of the Statewide PEI Programs of Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health. The awardee of the extended phase of the Statewide Evaluation will be announced at the MHSOAC Conference call to take place on Thursday, February 24 from 9:00a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Call-in information for this conference call can be found on the MHSOAC website. 


The first Request for Proposal - for Suicide Prevention - has been released, and the Requests for Proposals for Stigma and Discrimination Reduction and Student Mental Health will be released in the next few weeks. For more information on these programs, go to the CalMHSA website


Please email to stay in contact and to apply to be part of our MHSA Advisory Pool. Complete an application

NAMI National Education Reorganizes

burlandJoyce Burland will be leaving her role as director of NAMI's Education, Training and Peer Support Center at the end of July 2011. Consequently, NAMI National is undergoing some  restructuring. The new look includes:

  • Lynne Saunders, Director of Field Services, (with an emphasis on family and Veterans programs)
  • Cynthia Evans. Director of Field Services  (with an emphasis on consumer programs)
  • Teri Brister, Director of Training (with an emphasis on family, child and adolescent programs)
  • Sarah O'Brien, Director of Training (with an emphasis on consumer programs)
  • Candita Sabavala, Departmental Project Director

For details and more information, visit our website


An Appreciation

Not long ago, NAMI California asked a very special person for assistance. Bettie Reinhardt, former Executive Director for NAMI San Diego, interrupted her retirement to assist us in our transition and then volunteered to lead NAMI CAN. A true advocate can never walk away from the "good fight," and we are grateful that Bettie has contributed her valuable skills, knowledge, and expertise to our Budget Workgroup. Every NAMI member in California owes her a debt of gratitude. Thank you Bettie!


Family Support Groups Training 

Join others in support and mutual understanding! Deadline for application to the April 2011, State Training of family support group facilitators in St. Louis, MO, is March 11, 2011


If you are interested in becoming a trainer of facilitators (usually 1-2 times a year), please email your interest to or call Barbara Saxon, (408) 229-0428.   


New! NIMH Statistics Update

The National Institute of Mental Health recently revised the statistics page.The webpage now has helpful tabs for Prevalence, Disability, Suicide and Cost. Under each tab, click on an item to access an expanded menu. Look for statistics that will inspire your members or make an impact with legislators and their staff.  


NAMI Basics Training Comes To Northern California

NAMI Basics is a program for parents and caregivers of children and teens with a mental illness. A Basics training hosted by NAMI Shasta County was held the end of January. Twenty-one teachers graduated from the training. Kudos to NAMI Shasta County and also our thanks to Jean Selzer and Cathy Stone, the teaching team. 


One participant wrote "I wish I could have had NAMI Basics ten years ago when my son was first diagnosed, but I'm happy to be able to train to teach others this information".

NAMI California Advocacy Network Update

advocacyNAMI's advocacy voice is essential to ensure effective services and
supportsfor children and adults living with mental illness. Yet during election season, worries arise about how to engage in elections without jeopardizing the non-profit, 501 (c) 3, status of NAMI at the
state and local level.

Documents Clarifying the Rules:


    * Alliance for Justice - Advocating During Election Season:


    * Alliance for Justice - Ballot-Measures; Public Charities:

    * Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network - Ballot Measure
Advocacy Sheet:


All 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in advocacy, educating the public and fighting for rights, services and supports for people living with mental illness. There are only two restrictions under federal tax law: lobbying is limited to a certain amount each year, and partisan electoral activity is prohibited. If an activity is not lobbying and does not support or oppose a particular candidate for public office, chances are you can engage in the activity without any limits. A 501(c)(3) may work for or against ballot measures or propositions up to normal lobbying limits.

The IRS allows ballot measure advocacy because it is an attempt to influence a proposed law or a policy, not the election or defeat of a particular candidate. Your state may require reporting on expenditures to influence a "yes" or "no" vote on a ballot measure. Activities such as voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the-vote activities are unlimited.

The Center for Lobbying in the Public interest provides a clear fact sheet about IRS rules showing that most non-profits never come close to the limits: Click to view.    

-- Bettie Reinhardt, MPH Coordinator, NAMI CAN!, NAMI California Advocacy Network


NAMI San Francisco -- Next to Normal

next to normalNAMI SF is organizing an event which may help you and your affiliate membership increase public awareness and understanding of the realities of mental illness. Our affiliate will be selling tickets to the Feb 11th performance of the Broadway musical, "Next to Normal",  which will be on tour in 2011, and is scheduled for San Francisco's Curran Theatre January 25, 2011 - February 20, 2011.


About the Show:

"Next to Normal" (N2N) is about a family struggling with mental illness. The show is ultimately upbeat, and full of hope and recovery. N2N was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer prize, and three Tony awards.



With support from the N2N national tour management and cooperation of SHN, we have negotiated a discount rate of $85 dollars for mezzanine seats for all NAMI members for the February 11, 2011 NAMI Awareness Night (regular weekend mezzanine ticket price: $109.00). Tickets go on sale at the end of November at  888-SHN-1799


Group rate discounts area vailable for any group of 15 or more for any of the week day nights (Tuesday-Thursday) throughout the 4-week run.  


To read more:

The NY Times review 

Interview with lead Alice Ripley 

Review in the Napa Valley Register 

NAMI Santa Clara County Celebrates 35 Years

santa claraOn November 11, 2010, NAMI Santa Clara County celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a dinner and awards presentation. Over 200 people attended and helped honor our achievements over thirty-five years and some significant individuals: two founders, Marie Hibler and Bill Logan; three inspirational people living with mental illness, Donna Mechanic, Peter Newman and Leslie Barry Connors; two unsung heroes and benefactors, David and Mary Alexander; a woman who has gone above and beyond on behalf of those with mental illness, Luisa Perez; and Lt. Brenda Herbert of the San Jose Police Department who helped bring Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to the county.


One of the surprises of the Celebration was the attendance of the Honorable Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman from the Bay Area who grew up two doors from Marie Hibler's family. On November 17, 2010, she entered these remarks into The Congressional Record about Marie's leadership:


"Marie came to be one of the prime founders of PAMI, Parents of Adult Mentally Ill (our original name).... It is especially fitting at this 35th anniversary to thank those parent volunteers who stood up to be counted when there was little help for them or for their sons and daughters. Marie Hibler is someone who fearlessly stepped forward. She wasn't an expert in psychiatry. She was a mother who loved her son. That made all of the difference."


The emcee was Brian Wetzel, a professional comedian and speaker who created and performs his autobiographical show, "Side by Side: A Journey With Depression - a funny look at serious survival."

NAMI San Diego

hearts and mindResearch has shown that due to a number of preventable health factors, people living with mental illness, on  average, die much sooner than others.   The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in San Diego wants to do something about that statistic! NAMI San Diego will be holding the first annual Hearts and Minds Wellness Workshops and Resource Fair to help people learn effective techniques to better take care of themselves.


People with mental illness are much more likely to have classic heart-risk factors, such as cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and hypertension (high blood pressure), some of which can be compounded by some anti-psychotic medications. The risk factor for diabetes and "metabolic syndrome" (a condition that can be a precursor to diabetes) is also greater for those taking atypical anti-psychotic medications.


WHEN: February 23, 2011

WHERE: Marina Village Conference Center, Baja Room

(1936 Quivira Way | San Diego, California 92109)

TIME: 10 am to 2 pm

THE PROGRAM: Speakers will range from Nutrition to Smoking Cessation to Dance and Exercise Movements


The Hearts and Minds seminar is free of charge and open to the public.TO RSVP, email: Annie Dunlop. For more information, please contact NAMI San Diego at (800) 523-5933. Or visit  

NAMI Merced County

It's been a while coming, but Merced County's NAMI Affiliate is taking off!  In addition to our long-time twice-yearly Family to Family class, we've recently branched out into Family Support Groups, have started a chapter of NAMI On Campus at UC Merced, have sent three consumers for Peer to Peer training and plan to start that program, NAMI Connection, and In Our Own Voice this spring.


The F2F class begins February 17 and Support groups meet the second Tuesdays of each month at 10:30 am and the last Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.  For information, contact NAMI Merced at 209-381-6844 or email us.  

NAMI Santa Clara County 

Announcing the ongoing NAMI Connections Recovery Support Group:

Sunday, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM

NAMI Santa Clara County Office

2010 N. 1st, Suite 530, San Jose


Please arrive between 2:45 and 3:10 when doors for the building are unlocked. The peer facilitated Connections Recovery Support Group continues to be well attended. Peer experiences offer powerful options through mutual respect and appreciation.Trained peer facilitators lead the groups.


People of over 18 years of age with mental illness are welcome. Family members and consumers will find programs more appropriate when attending together.


This is a "drop-in" group and does not require pre-registration. For further information or questions, please call Barbara (408) 229-0428. 

Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
Top Priorities for 2011
Government Affairs Committee Update
NAMI California Welcomes Affiliates
MHSA Update
NAMI National Education Reorganizes
NAMI California News
NAMI California Advocacy Network
Affiliate News


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  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)  

The Knudtson Family Donor Advised Fund at The Community Foundation Serving Riverside & San Bernardino Counties

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
Betty & Marvin Hoffernberg, Pacific Palisades, CA 
Stephen Dwelle, President - Dwelle Family Foundation, Visalia, CA
Edward Gaston, MD & Lori Zager, San Rafael, CA
Dr. Charles & Annette Wilson, Corona Del Mar, CA
Rita Jean Boppana, Playa Del Rey, CA
Peter P. Blasko,San Francisco, CA
Lenore Kirvay, San Jose, CA 

Joanne McMahon, Newport Beach, CA
Shareholder: $750-$999 
Teresa Walker, San Mateo, CA 

Sponsor:  $500-$749
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
Palmyra Cameron, Los Angeles, CA 
Virginia Whitcombe, Palos Verdes Estates, CA Monika & David Eisenbud, Berkeley, CA
Linda Meyer, Danville, CA
Linda Crosthwaite, Covina, CA

Herbert & Marlene Greenstein, San Diego, CA

Elizabeth & Glen Friedman, Los Angeles, CA

Bruce & Jill Connole, Palm Springs, 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

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