NAMI CA on the Road: Presenter Training in San Joaquin
NAMI California in collaboration with NAMI San Joaquin County and San Joaquin Delta College, hosted the first Mental Health 101 Presenter Training in the region. Community Engagement Coordinator, Zuleima Flores led a diverse group of 14 community members in a two day training to become certified as Mental Health 101 presenters.
Participants learned in-depth the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures, traditions and customs in order to get the message of hope and recovery to a diverse set of audiences. Peers and family members engaged with trainers in a dialogue that weaved in both personal experiences and cultural differences, then later delved into a session to develop their own story. Participants also started to practice their skills as they each presented their story in front of the group. It was powerful to see as each presenter shared (some for the first time) their story about their own experiences as a family member or an individual with “lived experience.”
By the end of the MH101 In-Person Presenter Training, participants turned the space into one that fostered respect for cultural differences, dignity for those affected by a mental health condition and hope for those on their road to recovery. NAMI CA is looking forward to hearing from the participants as they take on the torch and spread awareness and a message of hope in diverse communities.
Remember, “Nothing about us, without all of us.”
If you would like to learn more about the MH101 Program, contact Thao Duong, Program Coordinator, at
Fall Advocacy Day
On November 11th, members from the California Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, NAMI California , and the United Advocates for Children and Families came together for the Annual Fall Advocacy Day held in Marina Del Rey, CA. This day was focused on children’s mental health services and is the lead up event to our Spring Children’s Mental Health Capitol Advocacy Day held in Sacramento. Attendees included family members, peers, advocates, psychiatrist, county behavioral health staff, legislative staff and representatives from the California Department of Education.    
We had a great turnout, with members from all partnering organizations sharing their lived experiences and expertise. Throughout the day we heard from Alex Johnson, President, LA County Board of Education who was in attendance to accept the Children’s Hero Award on behalf of Assembly member Tony Thurmond. In addition, we were able to have a very interactive discussion around children’s mental health from our keynote speaker Gordon Jackson, Director, Coordinated Student Support Division with the California Department of Education. Both speakers talked about the importance of supporting our young people and teachers mental health. Ideas of innovative strategies and sharing best practices were in abundance. The time was well spent brainstorming about what is currently working and what isn’t working, but also on solutions moving forward. Towards the end of the day attendees got into groups to come up with a mental health wish list for the next legislative session, which include funding for early intervention, more support for parental involvement, workforce development, student/teacher training and awareness, and diversion programs.
This collaborative event is a stepping stone needed to strengthen the delivery of mental health services in our state for our youth and families impacted by mental illness.
Feature Affiliate: NAMI Santa Clara County
NAMI Santa Clara County is kicking off the holiday season with their annual Holiday Gift Drive. Each year in the Fall, supporters drop off donations at the office, for gift bags that will be delivered to program participants in hospitals, board and care homes, self-help centers, and homeless shelters.
The holiday gift drive tradition began in 1999, with 50 gift bags that were delivered to people in need. Each year the gift drive has grown, and the affiliate expects to deliver up to 700 gift bags this year. Items requested for the gift bags include: socks, scarves, gloves, winter hats, granola or power bars, travel size toiletries, decks of playing cards, pocket calendars, and $5 gift cards for food and beverages.
Kathy Forward, Executive Director says every year the office is very active this week, with boxes and bags of donations arriving daily. Staff will spend a few days sorting the donations and setting up the items assembly line style for the bags to be stuffed. There will usually be about 50 volunteers who work in shifts with help from staff to stuff the bags. Lunch and snacks are served, and holiday music provides a festive atmosphere.
When the bags are ready, representatives from community organizations will pick them up to deliver them to their clients.
So many of our affiliates have meaningful events planned this month. Stay connected to NAMI California on social media as we hope to highlight many of these events!
Your Stories: Crystal Lancaster
"I was a typical teenager in high school, awkward and shy. I was always a good student, so it was easy to stay focused. I started experiencing mental health symptoms when I was sixteen. Sometimes, it is hard to remember what life was like before then. I guess you can say, they were happier times? I wasn’t hearing voices or thinking rumors were going on about me at school. I had much better peace of mind before the symptoms began."

Read more of Crystal's story detailing her bipolar disorder diagnosis, in which she highlights the importance of her support system, her identity as a woman of color, and what's next in terms of sharing her story of hope and recovery with others.
Spotlight on NAMI Youth: Club Hope
Last month, NAMI Club Hope at Chino High School put on a lunchtime event based on the Each Mind Matters campaign. The Club decided to focus on three activities for the event:
1. The Chain That Unites – Students were invited to come and fill out a link in the chain starting with the phrase, “I wish you knew….” They would then share a brief statement about a mental health issue they struggled with--a powerful visual reminder that we all deal with mental health issues, but that they do not define us and we can unite together to be more empathetic and helpful to each other.
2. Reasons to Live – A poster filled with post-its completed by students on good reasons to live was a very positive reminder to the students that there are those that really love them. 
3. Green Ribbons Unite – Peer Leadership made green ribbons for EMM and passed them out at the event. Club members invited admin and counselors to attend the event, giving them a card and ribbon as well.
Club Hope/Peer Leadership passed out flyers and ribbons, then went into the lunch crowd to explain what they were doing. Several creative posters were posted around the quad and a bulletin announcement advertised the event. Organizers reported the event as very powerful and felt it was a success in reaching out to students who needed to know that they are not alone.

Did you know you can give to NAMI California while you shop? As we enter the #SeasonofSmiles, consider selecting NAMI California as your charity when you shop on Amazon at
Give the gift of peace of mind.
NAMI California|