new masthead
February 2012

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
Introducing NAMI California's New Website
new nami website

The new NAMI California website launched February 15, 2012, putting a fresh face on the organization and making it easier for visitors to find exactly what they're after. The user-friendly site locates announcements and events at the top-center, where you'll discover pertinent news and compelling stories.The left side of the page features a newly designed set of navigation buttons. Move your mouse over key categories and instantly find your topic.


Ever wonder how a new site is developed? 


NAMI California Executive Director Jessica Cruz was the driving force behind the look and feel of the new site," said Jocelyn Munroe, CEO of Big Tomato Tech, who managed the project. "Although the old site had served the organization well for many years, it was didn't take advantage of newer World Wide Web features, had a lot of irrelevant content, and was difficult for staff to update."  


The NAMI California Board of Directors reviewed the design and NAMI staff set to work with Big Tomato Tech to develop it. NAMI California staffers spent untold hours reviewing content, updating information and deleting obsolete material.


"Everyone wanted the new site to be easier for NAMI California  visitors to find immediate help on issues and subjects important to them," Munroe said. "Plus, the Web is exploding with better options to show graphics, video and interactive features and the new site needed to incorporate that functionality. We also needed to give NAMI California the ability to input information quickly and easily in response to breaking news and legislative alerts, without having to have a programmer do it for them."


NAMI California is grateful to its board, its staff members, Big Tomato Tech, and content manager Gabby Hyman for delivering an attractive, efficient website.

You won't have to change your bookmarks.The new site will open in the same web location at 
NAMI California and Children's Mental Health

Idea actAs you all know, AB 114 passed the legislature and was signed by the Governor, repealing AB 3632 and implementing the realignment of mental health and other services to children with special needs. The governing legislation for our state is now the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which mandates that "...all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living." The California Department of Education (CDE) convened an AB 114 Transition Workgroup to assist school districts with the realignment and compliance with the differences between the repealed state law, AB 3632, and the Federal IDEA legislation. NAMI California was asked to participate as a stakeholder "family organization" on this Workgroup.


No one really knows how this transition is actually affecting the families of California and their children. So in collaboration with a few of our "Workgroup partners," we decided to ask the families and find out. NAMI California, T.A.S.K. (Team of Advocates for Special Children), Family SOUP, a family resource center to families of children with special needs, and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) came together, drafted a survey, and sent it out in English and Spanish to our memberships and other organizations. As of this writing, we have received over 500 responses. The results will be tabulated and analyzed, and we hope to bring some clarity to the impact realignment is having on access to care and services for our state's children. The partners will be presenting to the California Department of Education on Feb. 16th, and we will get back to you next month to share the conclusions we reached from the results. So stay tuned.


Our representative on the AB 114 Transition Workgroup is Legislative Workgroup member, Roger Greenbaum. NAMI California would like to thank Roger for the many hours he has volunteered and for his tireless advocacy for the children of California. We would also like to thank the above listed partner organizations for their dedication to families, their many hours of service, and to all the family members who responded to our survey and took the time to provide us with this valuable information.  


-- Mark Gale

NAMI California Board of Directors, First Vice President

NAMI California Government Affairs and Public Policy Committee, Chair

Demonstration Project for People Receiving Medicare and Medi-Cal



In January, the California Department of Health Care Services (DCHS) released a request for solutions (RFS) that seeks to identify health plans with the qualifications and resources to provide seamless access to the full continuum of Medicare and Medi-Cal medical, behavioral, social, and long-term care services for dual eligible beneficiaries. After the sites are selected, DHCS will release the demonstration proposal for public comment and federal approval. The demonstration is expected to launch in 2013, with phased enrollment starting January 1, 2013.


The state intends to move to full integration of behavioral health, and shift risk for providing Medi-Cal, IHSS, and mental health and addiction treatment services to the selected entities operating the demonstration sites.   


California has 1.2 million dual eligibles. About 175,000 are enrolled in organized delivery systems; the rest receive care through fragmented fee-for-service systems. More than 70% of California's dual eligible are age 65 and older. Most have multiple, co-occurring chronic conditions, and many dual eligibles have functional difficulties performing activities of daily living. About 27% of the 240,000 adults served through county specialty mental health plans are dual eligibles, representing about 64,800 individuals. Through the demonstration, the state seeks improved beneficiary health outcomes at lower cost.



For more information, go to the CalDuals program at DHCS.  

NAMI Family to Family Program Now in Chinese
f2f Chinese
Hong and associates 


The Chinese translation of NAMI's Family to Family Education Program was completed by NAMI Santa Clara County Chinese Group on June 30, 2011.  


The project was led by Jen Hong, assisted by Sheng-Yin Lin, Katherine Fok, Chiao-Wen Chen, Caroline Wang, Priscilla Wey and Sunny Chien.


After taking the Family-to-Family training in 2003, Jen organized the first Chinese class in which class participants read the English text and held their discussion in Mandarin. He teamed up with agencies that provide services to the Chinese community in Santa Clara County, and started the first support group in Mandarin. Today, there are several support groups in Mandarin and Cantonese in Santa Clara County and Family to Family in Chinese is offered multiple times a year.


Special thanks to John Mitchem (Past President) and Kathy Forward (President) of NAMI SCC, Lynn Cathy of NAMI California, Joyce Burland and Lynne Saunders of NAMI National and ThuHien Nguyen of the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department for support and encouragement during the entire project.

Family to Family Update 


Family to Family

We just completed a support group training in Modesto and graduated 19 facilitators. One of the trainees had this to say:  


"I was so impressed by the program... I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain such a valuable set of tools in an environment where I was surrounded by other family members who are passionate about the same cause.  I know that the training will allow me to be a far more effective and helpful facilitator."


Next month we will be offering a Basics training and a Spanish teacher training.

NAMI California 2012 Regional Meetings 


circle logoThis March, NAMI California will be hosting our first two Regional Meetings of the year in Sacramento and Shasta Counties. We will be inviting the surrounding affiliates in each region, along with the Mental Health/Behavioral Health Directors representing these areas.  


During these meetings, affiliates will have the opportunity to represent their experience in MHSA and share thoughts on mental health issues in their communities. County Mental Health Directors will have the opportunity to express their plans for moving forward to engage stakeholders in planning, implementation, evaluation and other policy involvement.


There will be some advocacy workshops presented by the NAMI CAN! and MHSA programs and a break-out session for more in-depth discussion between local affiliates and county mental health representatives. NAMI California values these gatherings as a unique opportunity to develop relationships with our affiliate partners in some of the wide-reaching areas of our state and support local advocacy. We look forward to similar meetings which will be scheduled for the upcoming months of this year and will keep you posted as planning the meeting for your region draws near.

MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Statewide Programs Update


MHSA logoIt has been just over six months since the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) awarded contracts for the implementation of Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Statewide Projects. These projects, in Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health are now in the beginning stages of implementation across our state. Our newly-hired Program Manager, Steven Purcell, is in charge of directing the implementation of the program we were awarded last year - Reducing Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health and System Partners. He is in direct communication with lead affiliates, cultural competency leads, and CalMHSA, and we look forward to a comprehensive anti-stigma project utilizing In Our Own Voice, Provider Education, Parents and Teachers as Allies, and Breaking the Silence.

For more information on other statewide programs in Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, and Student Mental Health, view this document, prepared by CalMHSA, which provides a  useful summary of each project. Like ours, many of these projects are just getting off the ground. The document provides a short description of each, along with key activities to be accomplished, and contact information for each lead agency. This should help begin to grasp both the breadth and depth of what to expect in upcoming implementation and give some idea of how we can become more involved. For more in-depth information, you may also visit the CalMHSA website.  


Here is a link to their "News to Use" page: .

Please Welcome California's NAMI National Veteran and Military Council Representative  


vetsNAMI National has convened its National NAMI Veteran and Military Council (NVMC) and NAMI California would like to welcome and introduce our representative to the newly formed committee, Doug Stephens.  

Doug is the Chair of NAMI Sonoma County's local Vet Council and the Chair of the Sonoma County Mental Health Board. As a Viet Nam vet his mission and passion is for our veterans, active duty personnel, from all branches, their families, friends, loved ones, caregivers and anyone affected by the mental health challenges we face today and will face for many years to come.


He will be receiving several reports, articles and essays from NVMC and other sources concerning our veterans of all eras, active duty military, Reservists and National Guard members. The information received is reasonably current and relevant to the lives of our troops and their families. This information will be shared through NAMI California's Weekly Reports, Monthly Newsletters and on our website.


We know California has affiliates that have active Veterans/Military Programs. We would appreciate you sharing this information to support Mr. Stephens as our representative and also our current veteran's and military servicemen/women and their families. We would be happy to post information about your programs on our website.


If you have any questions or comments on the National NAMI Veteran and Military Council, please email Doug Stephens at or NAMI California at

Working Well Together News

Funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), the primary goal of Working Well Together is to ensure public mental health agencies are prepared to recruit, hire, train, support and retain multicultural clients, family members and parents/caregivers as employees.  


Click to read their winter newsletter

Or en espanol


Visit the WWT website. 

Blue Shield Must Provide Residential Care Benefits for Substance Abuse


Blue Shield Must Provide Residential Care Benefits for Substance Abuse

Mental Health Parity Mandates Coverage for Underlying Depression and Panic Disorders


Kantor & Kantor, LLP announced that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of the firm's client Laura Burton, deciding that California's Mental Health Parity Act mandates that Blue Shield of California must provide benefits for residential treatment of Ms. Burton's major depressive disorder and panic disorder.


"Mental health parity is firmly established law in California," said Lisa Kantor, who represents Ms. Burton. "Blue Shield continues to act as if the Act doesn't exist by denying residential treatment when it is clearly medically necessary. That attitude is offensive to both policyholders and the legal system."


In Burton v. Blue Shield of California, the court held that under the Act, Blue Shield must cover "medically necessary treatment of severe mental illnesses" under "the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions. ... The Ninth Circuit interpreted the Act to require that insurance companies provide coverage under the same financial terms and conditions for medically necessary treatment of 'severe mental illnesses' and medical conditions."


Click here to read the full article. 

NAMI SFV has received a Community Grant Award from Northridge Hospital Medical Center and Catholic Healthcare West to provide Family to Family, Familia a Familia, Peer to Peer classes and In Our Own Voice programs at Northridge Hospital in Northridge, CA.

The affiliate has partnered with Wisdom Legacy to create a book about living with mental illness. Family members and individuals living with mental illness contribute deeply personal stories to an online forum created by Wisdom Legacy with the goal of capturing and publishing one million stories.

"Our Stories, Things We Know Now We Wish We Knew Before" is a soft-bound book, 200 pages, with stories of the trials and triumphs of living with severe mental illness, recovery and treatment tips, and a glossary of mental health terms. The book is available for sale at $9.95 online at

Solano NAMI

solano christmas
Solano NAMI successfully filled 250 Christmas bags for local consumers last year. A record number of people came to help fill the bags. Now it's back now to the year-long process of buying goodies, toiletries, small gifts, etc.  


The affiliate donates bags to adult agencies in Solano County and over the years have received wonderful, heartfelt thanks from so many clients.


NAMI-San Gabriel Valley

NAMI-San Gabriel Valley announces the creation of an annual award to be presented to the organization's Outstanding Volunteer for meritorious service. It will be known as the Marita Pinkel Award, which will be given annually at the affiliate's Volunteer Appreciation evening.


Marita Pinkel has been a volunteer for the affiliate from the beginning, in the early 1980's, when she moved from Wisconsin. She has served as Program Chair for the past 20 years, briefly served as President, and also as corresponding secretary.    

NAMI California Financial Statements and Supplemental Information 


NAMI California is posting the most-recent Independent Auditor's Report, June 30, 2011.  


Click here to read the full report. 

Contact Information
or call NAMI California
(916) 567-0163
In This Issue
MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention
National Veteran and Military Council Representative
Affiliate News
Article Headline


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
Ruth Knudtson, Redlands, CA
Phrma, Sacramento, CA 
Patron:  $2,500 - $4,999
May S. Farr, Upland. CA
Samira V. Moran, Encino, 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   

Dwelle Family Foundation, Visalia, CA
Shackleton Adventure Racing, LLC,  Carmel, CA

Edward Gaston, MD, San Rafael, CA

Ngena Asante, Cypress, CA

Henry Garner, Yorba Linda, CA

NAMI Westside Los Angeles (from NAMIWalk) 

Shareholder: $750-$999

Orange County's United Way, Irvine, CA 

Teresa Walker, San Mateo, CA 

Ralph E. Nelson, Visalia, CA  

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

Patricia Goldring, PhD, Sherman Oaks, CA

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

Wayne Baldaro, Glendale, CA

Virginia Whitcombe, Palos Verdes Estates, CA  

Linda K. Pontious, Grass Valley, CA

Miriam C. Wille, Ventura, CA

Elizabeth Chamberlain, Woodside, CA 

Michael Aldrich, Glendale, CA

Arnold Klein, Malibu, CA

George Greenspon, Westlake Village, 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.
state advocacy

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