new masthead
November 2011

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
First-Vice President of NAMI National Keris Myrick gives hope in restoring lives


As a segment of a three-part series about people living with a mental illness, California's own Keris Jšn Myrick (1st Vice President of NAMI) was interviewed by The New York Times. 

The article is a courageous snap-shot of Keris' life; raw, transparent, and extremely insightful, it clearly defines the true definition of resiliency, recovery, and hope.

NAMI California is proud to have such a distinguished colleague and friend who is willing to boldly shine a light on some of the challenges and successes of living with a mental illness.

Watch the video
NAMI Basics: New Study On The Importance Of Education and Support For Families Of Children and Adolescents Living With Mental Illness

 nami basicsA study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies (August 2011) has found that a family education program offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness produces "significant improvement" for families in communication and coping skills.


Currently offered in 36 states, "NAMI Basics" consists of six classes that meet either weekly or twice weekly for two and half hours per class. They are led by two teachers or facilitators who themselves have had the experience of having a young child or adolescent live with mental illness.


Read the full story here. 
NAMI CAN! Update

MSHAOCIt is not just the holidays that are coming up fast, a new legislative season is almost here and we need to be ready. This new season will include the Governor's proposed budget in January; that may mean more cuts but it will definitely include his finalized Department of Mental Health reorganization plan. The very first month will mean action on the two-year bills such as AB 154, Assembly Member Beall's improved parity bill, followed by who knows what new bills. 

  1. If you are an affiliate leader, be sure that one person in your affiliate is designated to be the NAMI CAN! liaison;
  2. Let us know who that person is and how to contact him/her.
  3. If you are an affiliate NAMI CAN! liaison, try to be on the calls scheduled in November and December - date/time being developed right now;
  4. Develop a legislative committee so you do not have to do all of the advocacy work in your affiliate.
  5. Obtain supervisorial, assembly, state senate, and congressional district information from all of your committee members;
  6. Schedule get acquainted meetings with the health aides of your members of boards of supervisors/commissioners, assembly, state senate, and congress;
  7. And let us know that district information for the state and federal offices.
  8. If you are a NAMI member or supporter who cannot participate in your local affiliate legislative committee but are willing to communicate with legislators in any form, send your name, e-mail, phone, and assembly, state senate, and congressional district information.
Apply to Participate in Workshops at The 2012 NAMI National Convention

National Convention

NAMI California would like to invite our affiliates and members to apply for this year's 2012 NAMI National Convention in Seattle. If you have a particularly innovative program or skill set that you would like to showcase to all NAMI members across the country please see more information on how to apply below.

The 2012 NAMI Convention will be held June 27-30, 2012, at the Sheraton Seattle and NAMI is now accepting proposals for workshops. Workshops are 75 minutes in length and will be presented on Friday, June 29 or Saturday, June 30. The submission process for workshops is available online The deadline for submitting a proposal is Dec. 1, 2011.

The convention theme this year is: Think, Learn and Live: Wellness, Resiliency and Recovery. NAMI is seeking workshop proposals that incorporate skill-building and that help youth and adults living with mental illness and/or caregivers advance along a continuum of resiliency and recovery. Workshops with this focus should recognize that NAMI members may be at varying points in a continuum, ranging from those who face significant daily challenges to those who are experiencing a high degree of resiliency and recovery.

NAMI is particularly interested in proposals that include presenters that are diverse in perspective and demographics.You are encouraged to forward this information to people and programs you feel would make an excellent contribution to the convention.

For more information on the convention and for workshop applications please visit the NAMI Convention Web page.  
New NAMI California Website Nears Completion

In December, NAMI Cnew NAMI websitealifornia will launch its new, attractive website designed to make finding key information easier for all our users.

You'll find
what you're looking for quickly with improved navigation features and intuitive buttons. We'll roll out new enhancements including mailing list registration, multi-media presentations, and instant translation pages for several languages.

News items a
nd action alerts will be posted as they occur. Selected affiliate representatives will have direct access to vital information for starting programs and classes essential to your operation and growth.

Look for more information about the launch in the coming month.
CalMHSA Selects RAND for Mental Health Program Evaluation

randThe California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) announced today the selection of RAND Corporation to conduct statewide evaluation for its Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Initiatives. The PEI Initiatives are paid for through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).


"CalMHSA is committed to fiscal integrity and accountability, and carrying out effective and efficient PEI initiatives. We look forward to working with the RAND Corporation to meet these goals," said Wayne Clark, President of CalMHSA. "The RAND team's experience in rigorous, objective evaluation makes them the right choice to design and implement our evaluation process."


Funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63), CalMHSA's three initial mental health programs are aimed at improving student mental health, eliminating and/or reducing suicides, stigma and resulting discrimination. These "Prevention and Early Intervention" initiatives are designed to shift California's mental health services approach to meet the needs of our diverse communities and reach individuals before they reach the crisis point.   

The PEI Statewide Evaluation Project will:

  • Improve data collection and evaluate effectiveness of PEI programs
  • Identify innovative programs that can be successfully replicated
  • Use research to design policies and programs that reduce suicide and suicide risks, reduce stigma and resulting discrimination, and improve student mental health in diverse populations across California.  

"PEI initiatives are an important way that the state is taking action to promote mental and emotional health, reduce the likelihood of mental illness, and limit the negative impacts of mental illness on individuals and society," said Audrey Burnam, a RAND researcher who will head the project. "By evaluating what works best and what can be improved for California's system, we can help counties make the best use of scarce dollars during the state's financial crisis."


CalMHSA staff recommended the RAND Corporation team after a thorough review of Statements of Qualifications submitted. Reviews were conducted by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

The vote by the CalMHSA board authorizes CalMHSA staff to negotiate a contract with Rand Corporation. Estimated cost for the evaluation program is $8-10 million.

New GAO Report Highlights Challenges in Accessing Care in the VA 

NAMI Veterans Council Members

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released its long awaited report on barriers to access to mental health care in the VA. The report can be viewed here

In addition, in case you missed it, there is a release and letter on the survey conducted by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on waiting times for a mental health outpatient visit in the VA at:


Family to Family Update 

circle logo

There are still two trainings remaining this fall in Southern California. Here are the details:


Lancaster: November 11-13, 2011

Ontario: December 2-4, 200 (Support Group)


NAMI California also looks forward to an expansion of the Parents and Teachers as Allies program.


For applications, please contact your affiliate. For more information, email NAMI California Family Programs Director:  

Community Activist Richard L. Zaldivar Honored 

ZaldivarNAMI California congratulates community leader Richard L. Zaldivar who was honored by the Latino Behavioral Health Institute for his leadership in promoting wellness and prevention of illness in the Latino community

Founder of The Wall Las Memorias Project, Zaldivar was recognized for decades of community service and leadership in addressing health issues such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and mental health. The award was presented the 17th Annual Latino & Behavioral Health Conference in downtown Los Angeles. The theme of this year's nationwide conference was From Margin to Mainstream.

Zaldivar was the 17th recipient of the prestigious LBHI Honor Roll Award.

"Richard Zaldivar has contributed to the advancement of social justice for Latinos in this country," stated Ed Viramontes, Executive Director of El Centro De Amistad and board member of Latino Behavioral Health Institute, adding, "He has been an outstanding leader in the field of human service."

Zaldivar called on the conference of Latino mental health professionals to become educated, engaged and tolerant in providing mental health services to the Latino LGBT community and to those living with HIV.

The "Unsecret" NAMI Pomona Valley

Recently, a widower tearfully lamented that he heard about NAMI too late. He learned of us the day after his wife - a lovely, accomplished, respected woman - took her own life as a result of major depression.


We of the Pomona Valley affiliate are impatient with the sad truth that NAMI is often considered a "best kept secret." We have established a multifaceted outreach to our region that is proving effective. We hope that in sharing this, we may plant some seeds while also picking up ideas from other affiliates. Here are some elements:

  • Information and referral helpline: A rotation of trained volunteers receives calls that are bridged by an answering service.   The helpline is advertised as a referral service offered in a supportive spirit. Referrals include NAMI programs such as Family to Family, so the helpline is a major door through which people enter.
  • Outreach to the schools:  We have found that a way to get into the schools is to offer brief demonstration presentations. We are okay with brief sessions because they open doors and can lead to requests for the full two-hour Parents and Teachers as Allies panel program and to referrals to NAMI Basics. We're catching on in the school districts.
  • Outreach to faith communities: We've organized a coalition called Interfaith Collaboration on Mental Health. Our goal is to help congregations to widen the welcome and deepen the support to individuals and families dealing with mental illness. Through seminars and classes, we offer presentations on the basics of mental illness: diagnoses, prevalence, early detection, stigma, referral info, and program options, plus sharing of lived experience. This project meets a dire need while also spreading the word about NAMI.

Our outreach takes several more forms -- website, social media, offering programs in Spanish, etc., but the above three are especially strategic. They help to create demand, which takes the form of new people and, in turn, new volunteers to expand program capacity. We still have a lot to learn, but this we know: assertive outreach is an effective antidote to the "best kept secret" characterization of NAMI.


Dick Bunce, Executive Director

 NAMI Pomona Valley

462 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Ste A

Claremont, CA 91711



Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
Keris Myrick Interview
NAMI Basics
NAMI CAN! Update
2012 NAMI National Convention Workshops
NAMI California Website
CalMHSA Selects RAND
New GAO Report and VA
Family to Family News
Activist Richard L. Zaldivar Honored
Affiliate News


Proud Sponsor of NAMI California:

Janssen logo

NAMI California's Tree of Tribute
Fiscal Year 2011-12

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 Kelly Foundation, Sacramento, CA
Janssen Pharma
, New Brunswick, NJ
AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE
Patron:  $2,500 - $4,999
May S. Farr, Upland. CA
Benefactor:  $1,000 - $2,499
The Knudtson Family Donor Advised Fund
, CA

Ralph E. Nelson, Visalia, CA

Attias Family Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Frances Tibbits, Pacific Palisades, CA

Pfizer Inc., New York, NY

David M. Knapp Special Needs Trust, San Diego, CA   

Shareholder: $750-$999

Orange County's United Way, Irvine, CA 

Sponsor:  $500-$749
Joseph Kotzin,, Los Angeles,CA

Patricia Goldring, PhD, Sherman Oaks, CA

Kessel, Young, & Logan, Charitable Account, Long Beach, CA


NAMI California Annual Conference Donors

Janssen Pharma, $5,000

AstraZeneca, $5,000  


All donations,
large and small,
are greatly appreciated by
NAMI California and help
us achieve our mission
at the state level.
2011 advocacy

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