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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

Two-thirds of States Cut Mental Healthcare Funds

crisis cutsTwo-thirds of the states have cut mental health funding from their general fund budgets over the last two years, according to a report released by a NAMI National. NAMI conducted the study by reviewing budgets from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Kentucky with 47 percent, Alaska with 35 percent, and South Carolina and Arizona both with 23 percent made the largest percentage cuts to mental health spending in their general fund budgets, which do not include federal Medicaid funding.


"Cutting mental health means that costs only get shifted to emergency rooms, schools, police, local courts, jails and prisons," said NAMI executive director Michael Fitzpatrick. "The taxpayer still pays the bill."


Leading the states that were exceptions to the mental healthcare budget cutting rule were Oregon, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, with 23 percent, 21 percent, and 7 percent increases respectively.


Read the full story at the NAMI California website  

NAMI California Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting

You're invited to join us: 

  • Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport
  • 2500 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA
  • Burbank Room
  • Friday, March 25, 2011
  • 8:30am-4:30 pm

Followed by the NAMI California Board of Directors Meet & Greet

  • Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport
  • 2500 North Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA
  • Pasadena Room Foyer
  • Special Guest: Keris Myrick, PhDc, 1st Vice President NAMI National Board of Directors
  • Friday, March 25, 2011
  • 6:30 pm-7:30 pm

Please RSVP to 

Deadline: Opportunities for Affiliates 

rfpCalMHSA, the Joint Powers Authority formed to manage the statewide Prevention and Early Intervention initiatives and their funding, has issued, or will soon issue, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health. The Suicide Prevention proposals are due March 15 for regional programs and we know that at least one affiliate found a partner for a Southern California proposal.

Student Mental Health will be sole-sourced to school systems but we expect those school systems to need partners with mental health programs that are ready to deliver. NAMI California was at the proposers' conference March 7, watching  for opportunities for us to work together to implement NAMI programs. 

Proposals for Stigma and Discrimination Reduction are due March 30.NAMI California is investing its energies in helping develop a consortium that can respond to several RFP components and that can, in turn, get resources to the local level for program implementation. If your affiliate is interested in being part of this project, Please let us know at or


CalMHSA is looking for "collaboration, not competition." Not only is that usually a good idea in mental health where there is so much to do by so few people with so few resources, it is vital in NAMI.We are the largest mental health advocacy organization in California but we still need more helping hands and even more resources.  The Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Initiative has NAMI written all over it.Let's show folks what NAMI can do.


-- Bettie Reinhardt, MPH

NAMI CAN! Coordinator


Budget update: The Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees have finished their hearings and sent their reports to the combined Budget Conference Committee.The conferees have finished their work and voted the budget out to the floor along party lines (6 to 4).No fireworks are expected on the floor. 


Along the way, we lost the last little bit of SSI/SSP that the feds will allow us to cut and added mandatory co-pays to Medi-Cal.

We gave up $861 Million of Mental Health Services Fund unspent money and hope to get it back over the long term. The counties have a new version of realignment coming up along with new responsibilities and no assurance of enough money to cover them.


The counties also gained more flexibility with spending MHSA funds but the other side of that coin is that State agencies, and advocates at the state level, lost MHSA oversight.


The following chart summarizes the General Fund solutions:   

Starting Shortfall

-$26.6 billion

Expenditure Reductions

$12.5 billion

Revenue Solutions

$12.0 billion

Other Solutions

$3.2 billion

Total Solutions

$27.7 billion

Final Reserve

$1.1 billion


Here is the rest of the story, the chapters that involve hard work from all of us:  

1.These solutions only balance the budget and prevent more cuts if the tax extensions make it onto the June ballot and the voters of California pass them.  

2.Oversight of MHSA dollars and programs is shifting to the local level.That means that MHSA advocacy shifts to the local level, too. Please tell NAMI California's MHSA Policy Coordinator what you need in order to take on this job. She can be reached at  

If the tax extensions do not pass, we will all be back at the budget hearings right after the election.


-- Bettie Reinhardt, MPH

NAMI CAN! Coordinator

NAMI and Brotman Medical Center Partner Up on Free Classes

brotmanThe National Alliance on Mental Illness' Westside L.A. NAMI branch announced that it will be offering its signature courses, such as "Family to Family," at the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City. NAMI offers "Family to Family," a 12-week class, free of charge at its branches nationwide to educate those who have a family member living with a mental illness. This course helps to end stigma, and it gives attendees a sense that theirs is not the only family that has been devastated by what Sharon Dunas, NAMI Westside L.A.'s president, refers to as a "brain illness."

Paraphrasing neurologist Oliver Sacks, who in turn paid homage to President Kennedy's famous dictum in his inaugural address, Dunas said, "Ask not what disease your relative has. Ask what disease has kidnapped the brain of your relative."

At the opening "Family to Family" class at Brotman, Dunas pointed out that evidence-based studies have demonstrated that attendance at NAMI classes "improves the prognosis for your relative," as family members not only gain insight and compassion into the mental illnesses of their relatives; family members also learn to "navigate the mental health system."  


Brotman, which has seen a 20 percent rise in psychiatric patients in the past six months, "realizes it has a role in the community,"


Read the full story online at NAMI California

NAMI California's John Aguirre Appointed to California MHSA Multicultural Coalition

John Aguirre, NAMI California's WWT Coordinator, has been selected to become a member of the California MHSA Multicultural Coalition (CMMC). According to Project Director Stacie Hiramoto, Aguirre "was selected  from a large pool of well-qualified and distinguished candidates throughout the state." The selection process was rigorous and lengthy with robust deliberation by a diverse team of eleven experienced community representatives.


The CMMC is a key component of the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) that will be watched closely by mental health leaders in the state and across the country. Congratulations, John!


Want to Vote?

ballotIt is easy to vote as a NAMI California member. Just make sure that your dues are paid to your local affiliate and reported to NAMI California by March 19th. Hurry! If you meet this deadline, you won't have to worry about the NAMI National deadline of April 9th.

New Location for San Mateo Behavioral Health Services 

mills peninsula center 

The Behavioral Health Department has relocated to the Mills Health Center, 100 S. San Mateo Drive, City of San Mateo.


There are 26 Adult Mental Health beds, 13 Adolescent Mental Health beds and 13 Chemical Dependency beds.


The facility provides the only Inpatient Adolescent Program in San Mateo County, including the only medically managed detoxification service in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area.


Psychiatric Emergency Services, located at Peninsula Medical Center, 1501 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame, is open 24/7. Phone number, 650-696-5915. 


Call the Intake Department to schedule a non-emergency appointment, 650-696-4666, Monday through Friday.


An Evening with Doris Buffett


buffettProceeds benefit Caminar and NAMI San Mateo County

March 31, 2011

6:00 - 8:00 pm

San Mateo County History Museum

2200 Broadway, Redwood City


Tickets: $150 per person*

Includes autographed book, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments


Program: Warren Buffett has prepared a special video for the event introducing his big sister, Doris Buffett. She and Warren grew up with a mother who had a mental illness. Michael Zitz, author of the Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story, will interview Doris

about her interesting life, growing up with Warren, and the Sunshine Lady Foundation she founded in 1996. Since its inception the Sunshine Lady Foundation has given away $100 million - and Doris is not done yet. She is still personally selecting recipients of her grants.


To register: visit 


To learn more: email or call (650) 372-4080


*Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

NAMI SFV Consumer Receives Presidential Volunteer Award

presidential service awardNAMI SFV (National Alliance on Mental Illness San Fernando Valley) applauds Nina Alikhanian, a NAMI SFV consumer who was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award. Nina initially reached out to NAMI by email, asking Suzanne Schmidtke if any of our NAMI members made "home visits" A volunteer was alerted, went to visit Nina, and got her connected to NAMI and to Project Return.  


Subsequently, Nina has done very well. She is happy to report that she got off conservatorship in May of last year, and in summer she resumed driving. She has also completed the NAMI 'In Our Own Voice' speaker training, which provides mental health consumers an opportunity to share deeply personal stories of trouble and transformation, and the triumph of recovery. In Our Own Voice presentations are offered to the community as a tool to provide a close up look at the challenges of living with mental illness, and an effective way to overcome stigma.


For more information: 818-994-6747 or email. A NAMI volunteer will return your call as soon as possible.


Visit us on the web.

NAMI California News 

Our first NAMI support group training of the year was held in Solano County the first weekend of March with 18 in attendance.  We are happy to welcome our new facilitators for support groups.   


One participant wrote: "It was a joy meeting so many caring and sharing individuals who want to support others on a difficult and bumpy journey, doing it with empathy, humor and hope."

-- Lynn Cathy, Director of Family Programs


Medicare Counseling  and Community Education  provided by the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)
hicapWhere to Get Help
If you need help with Medicare or have Medicare-related health insurance questions, you can get free individual assistance from the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).

HICAP Counselors can provide information and assistance on:

Medicare benefits, including Medicare Part D Plans
Qualifying for Extra-Help (LIS) paying for prescription drug costs
Qualifying for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) to help with other Medicare costs, such as premiums, deductibles and co-payments
Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap)
Medicare Advantage Plans
Retiree or employer group health coverage
Long-term care insurance
Medicare appeals
Your rights as a health care consumer

HICAP services are available to individuals of any age who have Medicare or are close to becoming eligible for Medicare.

To Schedule an Appointment
To make an appointment with a HICAP Counselor in your county, call 1-800-434-0222. HICAP services are free and confidential.

For more information call 1-800-434-0222 or visit the California Department of Aging website at  



NAMI San Francisco

CIT training

We would like to inform California affiliates about our work to get the Memphis Model of CIT police training in San Francisco.


As we all know, mental health services at all levels have been cut and cut again, to the point that the police have become first responders to crisis calls involving the mentally ill. Unfortunately, the police are often ill-equipped and untrained in how to deal with an individual who is experiencing a psychotic episode. The results can be tragic. San Francisco has experienced a spate of three shootings involving the mentally ill--two of which resulted in deaths.


As a result of these tragedies, a Police Commission Hearing on Feb. 9, 2011 unanimously approved the adoption of the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for the SFPD. NAMI SF is now an official member of the Crisis Intervention Working Group. This includes the Office of Citizen Complaints, the Police Commission, Captain Goldberg the newly appointed CIT chief, Community Behavioral Health, and community stakeholders, who are now in the process of implementing this mandate.


Fourteen members of the stakeholder working group including Pamela Fischer from NAMI SF are going to Memphis from March 23-25 for an intensive hands-on study of their model. Stakeholders have formed sub committees to define the application process for police officers to apply for CIT, to find qualified volunteer trainers and to set a time line for beginning the first training classes this summer. NAMI is very proud to be a part of this important effort in San Francisco.


-- Dale Milfay, Co-Chair, NAMI SF Advocacy

Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
States Cut Mental Healthcare Funds
Deadline: Opportunities for Affiliates
NAMI CAN!...Budget update
NAMI and Brotman Medical Center Partnership
Aguirre Appointed to California MHSA Multicultural Coalition
How to Vote
San Mateo Behavioral Health Services
An Evening with Doris Buffett
NAMI Consumer Receives Presidential Volunteer Award
Medicare Counseling
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

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