new masthead new address
Spetember 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
Prop. 63 Has Helped Hundreds in Stanislaus County

From The Modesto Bee by Lynn Padlo, September 12, 2012

"I have participated in the In Our Own Voice program for quite some time. It was good for me to be exposed to many different audiences. It gives me a better perspective on how others feel about mental illness as well as gaining better perspective on how I view it myself."


This quote is an example of the hundreds of people in our county that have benefited from Proposition 63 funds, which are for the mentally ill.


I am the education coordinator of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and oversee three of the programs sponsored by this money. They are: In Our Own Voice; Parents and Teachers as Allies; and Provider.


All of these programs have benefited the teachers and speakers involved in the programs who are family members or have a mental illness themselves. The idea was to create new programs to help prevent mental illness and to educate the public about recovery.


People involved in these programs have a "lived experience" of mental illness and can speak candidly about their treatment, coping skills, education and advocacy to further the awareness of recovery. Only 1.5 percent of the mentally ill become violent. Most go on to lead a life of relative stability and can function well in society with treatment.


Announcing Early-Bird Registration for the 2013 NAMI California Annual Statewide Conference 

Following our successful annual conference this year, we are already accepting online or mail-in reservations for our 2013 conference in Burlingame. Click here for information.

We hope you got the most out of our 2012 Annual Conference in Irvine. Your feedback will help us to develop our meeting program and events for 2013.

To respond, please take the following brief surveys: 

Conference Evaluation 


Consumer Resource Center Evaluation  


View the presentations from the 2012 conference at NAMI California's website. 

Feeling the Squeeze

First in a series of columns by Roger Greenbaum 


California is in the midst of big changes in how it provides mental health-related special education support for students. These changes are sending out ripples of anxiety felt by parents - - and also by school district officials - - in the making of decisions about special needs kids. In this month's column we briefly review how the official response to these changes might impact a special needs program of children in your household and school district.


This and also next month, we'll discuss a few suggestions on how parents might be able to address these changes, if the need arises.  Keys for parents: overcome a lack of information, and restore to the process a focus on the needs of each student as an individual, rather than as an anonymous speck in a district's looming financial concerns.


Read the full column at NAMI California.

Information You Need

Are you looking for up-to-date information on topics that concern us all? We need an informed membership, particularly around issues of:

  • 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 Complaints, and
  • Your Right to Timely Mental Health Services.

Here is the link to new brochures on these subjects produced by California Coalition for Mental Health (CCMH).  NAMI California is a member of the Coalition and of the brochure committee.  Brochures will soon be added in Spanish and then in the top six languages spoken in California (after English and Spanish), which are, in order:  Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian, and Russian (per the Census Bureau).


The brochures are valuable resources for accessing and utilizing public and private mental health systems, especially managed care which is quickly replacing sliced bread as the "in thing."


Don't forget to sign up to be notified when the brochures are updated while you are on the CCMH website. These are dated 2011 but updating of information continued well into the spring of 2012. Grab them while they're hot!


-- Bettie Reinhardt, MPH

NAMI CAN! Coordinator

Family Programs News  

Family to Family  


Save these dates for the Family Programs trainings for the fiscal year:




  • November 9-11, Family to Family Teacher Training in Oceanside, CA
  • November 30 - December 2, Train the Trainer - Support Group - in Sacramento, CA


  • January 18-20, Spanish Familia a Familia, in Los Altos, CA
  • February 8-10, Teacher Training, Pittsburg, CA
  • April 12-14, Support Group, Pasadena, CA
  • May 31 - June 2, Teacher Training in Citrus Heights (Sacramento) CA 

If you are a current NAMI support group leader, please consider applying for becoming a support group trainer. Contact Lynn Cathy at: 


If you would like to become involved as a Family to Family teacher or support group leader, please contact your local affiliate.


Thank you!

NAMI California Regional Meetings 
The next Regional Meeting is in San Louis Obispo on October 22nd. It includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.
Details to follow. 
Working Well Together News

working well
We value your feedback on our important projects. Please visit the following links: 


1. Our new Working Well Together Website, then send your comments or feedback regarding the resources or the website.




2. The English and Spanish Version of the 'Working Well Together' Quarterly News.


I look forward to your comments or feedback on Workforce Development (in all regions and counties of CA).

-- Ron Shaw, WWT Program Specialist

Mental Health Program Turns Barriers into Assets


Courzengatesy of San Diego County News Center's website.


When Debbie Sinha and Michelle Macdonald graduated from the Alliant University Community Academy, it was another important step in their long journeys to recovery.


Their experiences with mental health issues have become an asset instead of the burden one would expect as they continue to leap over hurdles and turn the lessons they have learned into help for others.


Through the Mental Health Services Act, sometimes referred to as the "Millionaire's Tax," the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency funds the academy program administered by Alliant International University. The students all come to the program with different levels of education and work experience; but all have personal life experiences with mental illness and many also have a family member affected by mental illness.


Students also attend community-based mental health trainings through the program's partnering agencies - the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI San Diego), Recovery Innovations, and the Family and Youth Roundtable.


NAMI Nevada County Honors Lael Walz

Lael Walz In a county without a paid NAMI staff or office, Lael Walz has guided NAMI Nevada County from the pioneering days of public advocacy through passage and implementation of the MHSA. Her affiliate wants you to know about her.


A pioneer of one of California's first mental health courts, Walz was a prime mover for state passage of Laura's Law and key in having it implemented in Nevada County.  Mental Health Court Judge Tom Anderson says, "Through Laelʼs unending perseverance and total commitment to families and children, she has bettered the lives of so many in our county."


Affiliate spokesperson Helen Williamson says that Walz "is a living example" of NAMI principles at work. "Lael has forged through agencies, systems, antiquated practices and dealt with unsympathetic school authorities to fight stigma and give families and clients the help they need," Williamson adds, "Her early Parents' Support Group was a forerunner of NAMI'S BASICS class. 'Inclusion / Inclusion / Inclusion' is her mantra and shows the high value she places on the family's voice."  


NAMI California joins in recognizing Lael Walz for her outstanding contributions to the NAMI community. 

Our Stories, book review

Ideally, a NAMI affiliate finds ways to extend itself to serve its community, creating tools that carry its message in the voices of families and consumers. NAMI San Fernando Valley has gathered powerful and wise stories from its constituency, creating a book that lives in homes where people crave a respite from a seemingly hopeless ordeal.

Mental illness is a disease like no other in that the stigma attached to an honest plea for help often condemns families to hopeless silence. NAMI SFV's Our Stories, Things We Know Now We Wish We Knew Then (with foreword by Metta World Peace, 182 pages, $9.95) is a rich tapestry woven from horror stories, painful truths, astonishing breakthroughs and heartfelt sharing from those who live daily on the front lines.


More than 50 NAMI SFV members participated in writing their stories and sage advice. They demonstrated a committed patience to enter their sagas via an internet-based questionnaire provided by Wisdom Legacy, the worldwide stories project that hosted the book during the creation process. The stories, according to NAMI SFV's editor Julia Robinson Shimizu, "remain true to the raw voices of all who contributed. Like life, it is sometimes a bumpy ride, but it has much to teach us."


Read more.


-- Gabby Hyman    

Of Two Minds, movie review

of two minds "Of Two Minds" explores the extraordinary lives, struggles and successes of three unique and compelling people living with bipolar disorder in America today. Through a combination of intimate verité and revealing interviews, we experience what it feels like to be bipolar - from exquisite feelings of grandiosity and sensuality to the depths of despair and depression. A journey from the painful to the painfully funny, Of Two Minds puts a human face on the illness, opening an engaging, harrowing and perception-changing view on those all around us who live in bipolar's shadows...our sisters and brothers, parents and friends, and ourselves".


Filmmakers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein have described the plot exactly on point. "Of Two Minds" had a one-week run at LA's Docuweek screening series. A group of NAMI Members attended and we were just mesmerized by this film. What the filmmakers have done is follow the lives of 3 persons living with Bi Polar disorder for a period of four years while interweaving small interviews of several subjects with Bi-polar disorder. What they leave the audience with is a humanized look at these persons and their struggle to maintain their health, manage their illness, relationships, and daily lives.


Read more.


-- Jonée Shady   

NAMI Ventura County Responds to Newspaper Story on CIT
oxnard police

To the Ventura County Star:

Your Aug 28th story "Oxnard officer-involved shooting", I want to clarify some comments made by me that were printed out of context. The article may make it appear that I and the Ventura County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) do not support the Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program. Nothing could be farther from the truth; on the contrary we endorse the program unequivocally and have advocated for it to be expanded in our County.


Let me be clear that I have no direct knowledge of the specific incident in Oxnard, and was responding to the reporter's questions relating to general actions that families should take in situations involving mental illness. I did not judge the actions of the responding officers in the Oxnard shooting. Our hearts go out to the family affected by this horrible tragedy.


In general, I can definitely state that when they are asked to assist with a problem involving mental illness, CIT training results in a more appropriate and humane response by police officers.


The CIT model has been adopted by more than 2000 communities in more than 40 states, and is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. I believe our Ventura County CIT program is the strongest in the state of California. This is due to the commitment of Sheriff Geoff Dean, who is making good on his plan to train 100 percent of his patrol staff, and to the other Police Departments in Ventura County who provide funding for the program in an extraordinary partnership.


We are privileged to live in Ventura County, where law enforcement has developed partnerships with so many people in the community, as well as with the mental health system, people with mental illness and their families. NAMI Ventura County is a volunteer organization of family members, and we strongly support the Law Enforcement CIT program."


-- Ratan Bhavnani, Newbury Park

(The writer is executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Ventura County.)

If You Paid for Paxil®, You Could Get a Payment from a Class Action Settlement


A class action settlement will provide money  to California residents who were 18 years old or older and who paid for any portion of the price of  the prescription antidepressant Paxil® while living
in California from January 14, 1999 through January 1, 2003, and who qualify under the settlement (these people are called "Class Members"). If you're  included, you may ask for a payment, or you can exclude yourself from, or object to, the settlement.

The Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles will have a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement so that payments can be issued. The lawsuit claims that GlaxoSmithKline falsely advertised and promoted Paxil® as being non-habit forming or non-addictive and that GlaxoSmithKline's advertisements and promotional materials failed to disclose the risk of symptoms from stopping or discontinuing Paxil®.
GlaxoSmithKline denies each of these allegations.

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
Prop. 63 Has Helped Hundreds
2013 Annual Conference
Feeling the Squeeze
Information You Need
Family Programs News
NAMI California Regional Meeting
Working Well Together News
Program Turns Barriers into Assets
NAMI Nevada County Honors Lael Walz
Our Stories
Of Two Minds
NAMI Ventura County


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

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
Lilly Grant Office, Kalamazoo, MI    
Patron:  $2,500 - $4,999
May S. Farr, Upland. CA
Samira V. Moran, Encino, CA
Sidney Stern Memorial Trust, Pacific Palisades, CA
Teva Biologics & Specialty Products, North Wales, PA
Lilly Grant Office, Kalamazoo, MI 
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

NAMIWalks Los Angeles County

Shareholder: $750-$999

Orange County's United Way, Irvine, CA 

Teresa Walker, San Mateo, CA 

Ralph E. Nelson, Visalia, CA

Ronnie Okon, Tarzana, CA   

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

Patricia Goldring, PhD, Sherman Oaks, CA

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

NAMI Glendale in honor of Tom & Kay Connus, 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
Elizabeth Chamberlain, Woodside, CA
Google, Inc., CA

Joseph Kotzin, Los Angeles, CA

Patricia Goldring, PhD, Sherman Oaks, CA

Corning Exchange Club, Corning, CA

Linda K. Pontious, Grass Valley, CA 


NAMI California Annual Conference Donors, 2012 

Janssen Pharma, $7,500

Lilly Grant Office, $7,500 

Teva Biologics & Specialty Products, $2,500

River City Bank, $2,500

Turning Point Community Programs, $500   



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