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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 Annual Conference 

NAMI California's Annual Statewide Conference will be held August 19th & 20th at the Sacramento Double Tree Hotel.For more information please visit our website conference page.   


We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker:

FreseDr. Frederick J. Frese is a psychologist who served for fifteen years as Director of Psychology at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital, one of Ohio's largest psychiatric hospitals.He is presently Coordinator of the Summit County Ohio Recovery Project. Thirty-five years ago, while a young Marine Corps officer, Fred was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and over the next ten years was in and out of mental hospitals, often on secure wards.Despite his disability, he earned a degree in International Business Management from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, as well as Masters and Doctoral degrees in psychology from Ohio University   


He has served on the boards of several health care and consumer organizations, including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), The National Institute for the Seriously Handicapped (NISH), the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the Ohio Psychological Association.   


Dr. Frese is joined by valuable plenary speakers including:

  • Trudy Scott, Food Mood Expert and Certified Nutritionist, speaker and author of the forthcoming book The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood & End Cravings. 
  • Dr. Curley Bonds, the Medical Director at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. His work in the field has been deeply influenced by his experience of having a close family member receive treatment for and recover from a serious mental illness. His practice and research interests include psychosomatic medicine, bipolar illness, and eliminating cultural disparities in psychiatric care.
  • Sherry Riney, LCSW, a Supervisory Social Worker for the Trauma Recovery Programs at the Palo Alto Health Care V.A.
  • Special Guest, Dr. Joyce Burland, NAMI's founder of the Family-to-Family class.


GOLD SPONSOR ($7,500):








A-Z logo








river city bank













sierra health



COPPER ($1,000):


Turning Point Community Programs 


Online registration will begin May 27. If you choose to register via paper format, please click here.


NAMI California Board of Directors Nominations

Nominations have been extended to May 19. If you are interested in becoming part of NAMI California's elite Board of Directors, or know someone who would make a great addition, please submit your nomination form to Jessica Cruz, MPA/HS, 


NAMI California Award Nominations

Deadline for nominations have been extended to May 20.If you would like to nominate an individual for one of the awards, please complete the form and send it to the NAMI California office. If you have questions, please contact Nikki Townsend.  


Looking at the Challenges Ahead

This year will go down in history as one of our greatest challenges. California is struggling to recover from the financial crisis and our state government is looking for every budget cut it can find. And our mental health system has been targeted for a complete overhaul.


california challengesThe State Department of Mental Health has been changed forever and stripped of many of its functions and responsibilities.  The Governor's budget proposal is to completely realign former federal and state mandates, adult and children's services, and a host of public safety and health programs back to the counties. In order to pay for this new realignment, California's state government has decided to take $862 million of Mental Health Services Act dollars and is trying to secure enough legislative votes to place proposals on a special ballot to extend existing taxes.


However, as of this writing, the Governor has been unsuccessful in securing the votes he needs in the legislature to pass his plan, and the state has started to develop a list of additional cuts to be implemented should his proposal fail. NAMI California has been on the frontlines making our voice heard loud and clear, taking positions on each issue to reduce the impact of the decisions that are being made in Sacramento on our membership and their families.


No matter how this turns out, one thing is very clear. Budgets are being cut severely and potentially more cuts are coming. The capacity of our mental health system, and its ability to meet the needs of its constituents, is being curtailed. It is going to be harder for existing consumers in the system to maintain their level of care and even more difficult for new consumers just entering the system to secure services at all.  


Read more about our responsibilities to fulfill our goals at the NAMI California website. 


-- Mark Gale, NAMI California Board of Directors, Second Vice-President


Download CCMH Mental Health Rights Brochures

ccmhA consortium of California mental health providers and advocates has launched a statewide educational drive aimed at informing consumers about their rights and opportunities for mental health care insurance coverage.


The brochures are available at the California Coalition for Mental Health website.


The group has produced a series of six easy-to-read brochures aimed at giving consumers a solid understanding of the numerous mental health care coverage benefits that they are entitled to under both state and federal law. The brochures are available for free.


Titles include:

  • Understanding Your Mental Health Insurance Coverage
  • Mental Health Parity
  • Speak Up For Your Rights
  • Accessing County Mental Health Services
  • The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and Provider Compliants
  • Your Right to Timely Access to Mental Health Services

The California Coalition for Mental Health is made up of 32 organizations with a membership of 115,000 mental health professionals, citizen advocates, clients and their family members across the state. As an advocacy alliance our common goal is

to "restore California to a position of leadership as an initiator of state of the art treatment and rehabilitation of people who have mental illness."


NAMI WALKS San Diego County

The bagpipes played and approximately 2,800 walkers marched through Balboa Park, many holding team signs to rally for the cause, in the San Diego County NAMI Walk on April 16.

"Raising funds to provide free mental health services countywide is no easy task but with a dedicated walk committee, more than 60 walk volunteers, community support, and involved staff, board members and  affiliates, the San Diego County NAMI Walk raised over $120,000 and counting!" said Annie Dunlop, NAMI Walk Manager. 


san diego 2011 walk

"We showed our collaborative spirit through the use of person-first language, a resource fair with over 70 community service agencies, and walking together as an entire San Diego County community to take a  stand against the stigma associated with mental illness," said Dunlop.   
A number of local organizations helped make the walk possible. Some of the sponsors include: OptumHealth, US Behavioral Health Plan, Union Bank, Eli Lilly and Company, Paradise Valley Hospital, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, O'Reilly Kragen Auto and Telecare Corporation.

For more information on NAMI San Diego services or to make a donation,, call (619) 543-1434 or visit


NAMI WALKS Stanislaus

It's not too late to make a donation to a Stanislaus walk teams. Just log onto the NAMI National website at, select California; Sacramento; then "Support a Walker." If this is your first time accessing the NAMI National website it will ask you to register. If you have trouble understanding the process, please call the office at 558-4555 or Joyce Plis at 522-7872. It is not too late to send a check written to Northern California NAMIWalk. Add the walker's name and NAMI Stanislaus in the notes section of the check.


Pathways to Wellness

NAMI Westside Los Angeles is having its 4th Pathways to Wellness Conference on Sunday May 22nd at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel on 6101 W  Century Blvd, Los Angeles 90045 (near LAX airport).


This Conference starting at 9am is free and open to everyone, There is a fee required for CEU's for clinicians.


The Conference from 9am to 1pm includes lunch.The keynote speaker is Charles Rubin, author of "Don't Let Your Kids Kill You or Anyone Else.".

Charles Ruin


Other professional speakers include:

  • Dr. Rod Shaner- Medical Director DMH - LA County -" Research, Prescribing and the Real World "Who's Duping Who?"
  • Dr. Lynn McFarr, Ph.D.  - " Does My Relative Have Borderline Personality Disorder?"
  • Dr. John Brooks, Ph.D -" Bipolar Disorder- What's New and Promising in Treatment, Research and Development"
  • Dr. Michael Levittan, Ph.D - "Anger Management with Mental Illness in the Family"
  • Dr Michael Green -  "Recent Advances for Social Cognition in Schizophrenia"
  • Caron Post, Ph.D - "When Parents are Depressed - How to Help Children Survive and Thrive with Depression in the Family"

You can register on, or call 310-889-7200 for more information. 

VA Must Be Better Prepared to Handle PTSD

suicide rates The Veteran's Administration has released its memo on the number of suicides among troops returning from the OEF/OIF theater, the the conflicts in Afganistan and Iraq. Specifically, OEF/OIF refers to "Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom. Findings report that military hospitals across the nation must be better prepared to serve service personnel.


OEF/OIF combat veterans can receive cost-free medical care for any condition related to their service in the Iraq/Afghanistan theater for five years after the date of their discharge or release. But OEF/OIF vets need to enroll in VA's health care system in order to receive help.


Greater numbers than ever reported show that OEF/OIF veterans have PTSD, alcohol abuse, or both conditions. In 2010 it was reported that 62 percent of service members acknowledged mental health care. Some 11 percent reported use of medication, 12 percent had individual therapy, 12 percent had group therapy, 10 percent had marital therapy, and two percent had had treatment for susbtance use problems.


In 2010 it was estimated that returning veterans committed suicide at the rate of 18 people a day, with 950 suicide attempts each month.


Read the full story and the VA memo at NAMI California


John Aguirre Named to CMMC 

AguirreJohn Aguirre, NAMI California's WWT, Coordinator has been selected by the Transition Team to become a member of the California MHSA Multicultural Coalition (CMMC).

According to Stacie Hiramoto, Project Director, Aguirre was "chosen 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 even across the country.  The CMMC is tasked increasing the level of mental health services access by underserved groups through addressing the barriers that limit access.

Leading by Example

Army General Carter is the commander of the allied operations in Libya, has had his own challenges before taking on this job. Ham is the highest-ranking U.S. officer to admit seeking help for posttraumatic stress syndrome - setting an example for troops who often deny a problem.


General Ham went through PTSD back in 2005 as a one star General and his career has prospered since obtaining treatment. As head of the U.S. African Command, Ham is now responsible for U.S. military operations in Libya and much of the rest of the continent.


"Frankly, it's a little weird to me that people are making a big deal about it," Ham told the Stars and Stripes military newspaper in 2005.


Ham said he first realized that he was in trouble after coming home from a tour in Iraq. "Like lots of soldiers I needed a little help, and I got a little help."


 Read more about it at NAMI California. 

Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
NAMI California Annual Conference
The Challenges Ahead
CCMH Mental Health Rights Brochures
NAMI Walks
Pathways to Wellness
John Aguirre Named to CMMC


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