December  2016

Dear NAMI Friends and Family,

Happy Holidays to all of our NAMI members, new, future, and long time associates!  We wish you good cheer, hope, and peace this season.

We want to thank everyone who took part in the gathering of public input on El Dorado County's Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) Three Year Plan for the fiscal years 2017-18 through 2019/20.  Some of you came out for community meetings, and some provided input via the on-line survey.  By taking time and effort, your input provided important data and information that will help guide how services are provided for the next 3 years. 

We are grateful to each of you for your dedication to improving mental health and substance abuse services and supports within our community.  Together we are making a difference.

California voters passed MHSA (Proposition 63) in November 2004. This law was enacted January 1, 2005.  The MHSA places a 1% tax on personal incomes over $1,000,000.  Counties receive funds through the State with the goal of transforming the public mental health system into one that is consumer and family driven, recovery oriented, accessible, and culturally competent.    


In the News



The Power of Pet Therapy

By Allison White, ACSW, LCSW, CCDP-D | Nov. 23, 2016
I remember when I was seven, my Great-Uncle Benji said to my parents, "Allison needs a dog." It was at that time, my life changed. I was a very quiet, reserved kid, but dogs brought me out of my shell. They were with me during good times, painful times and major life events-and loved me no matter how I reacted to these situations. They remained stable forces in my life, even during the darkest turmoil.
Nowadays, I work with clients who live with depression, anxiety and addictions, and they don't always feel like there is hope. It's hard for them to see light in the midst of their darkness, and peace seems so far away. But when I use my dogs during pet therapy visits, I see how animals brighten up a person's mood, even if it's for a short time. That moment allows a small trickle of light into that person's heart, which may not have been there before.
During one session in particular, a client asked if she could get on the floor because she wanted to talk to my therapy dog about something "very important." She buried her head into my dog's fur and talked about the horrible week she had endured. Stroking my dog's fur, my client was overcome with a sense of calm in a way I could not have accomplished by merely talking with her. No judgments, no expectations-just a furry hug.
When we're facing despair, loneliness, chronic health issues, depression, addictions, or anything beyond our ability to cope, a pet can help ease the pain. He or she can give us a reason to get out of our thoughts to focus on a sense of purpose. The relationship we have with our pets is real and symbiotic-what I give to my pets comes back to me in ways that can't be measured.
Research shows the benefits of pet therapy (in fact, its first known use dates back to the 9th century!). Boris Levinson was the first clinician to truly introduce the value of animals in a therapeutic environment. In the 1960s, Levinson reported that having his dog present at talk therapy sessions led to increased communication, increased self-esteem and increased willingness to disclose difficult experiences. Ever since, people have been turning to pets for comfort and support during periods of emotional turmoil. Hugging and speaking with a pet who won't judge you for your feelings or thoughts is cathartic and helps people get through rough times. Pets also reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression, giving people a reason to get up in the morning. Other benefits are unconditional love, acceptance, a "buddy" that encourages physical activity, which leads to healthier lifestyles.
If you're unable to own a pet, there are many ways to reap the benefits of a pet relationship. Volunteering at a local shelter or helping rescue groups or pet therapy organizations such as Pet Partners (a national organization that promotes positive human-animal interactions) are ways to save pets' lives, and possibly your own.
Allison is a licensed clinical social worker with 25 years of experience in the mental health field. She has worked at BJC Behavioral Health for 23 years and has been a clinical supervisor of a continuous treatment team for the past 21 years. Allison has been a volunteer for Support Dog's Inc. for the past 9 years, has had two certified TOUCH therapy dogs, one of which was also certified in animal-assisted crisis response
- See more at:
Art Created out of 10-year's of Brother's mental health Records.
South Lake Tahoe independent artist, Daniel Alexander Kagan, and friend of NAMI El Dorado County created beautiful works of art out of 10-years+ worth of his brother's medical files. He says "My mother adopted my little brother Jayson 1 year after his birth. His biological parents were heavy drug users (primarily methamphetamine and crack cocaine) throughout the pregnancy. As he grew up it became clear he was experiencing severe behavioral and developmental disorders. He eventually collected a range of diagnoses including ADD, ADHD, schizophrenia, bi-polar, psychosis. and radical attachment disorder. As Jayson grew older these problems manifested with increasing frequency and violence. My mother made the decision to place Jayson in therapeutic residential treatments - also known as group homes. 
My family's story fascinates me as a highly specific and localized experience of how the highly politicized institutional framework of mental health services affects its constituents and agents. This project is an examination of the residual marks of institutional interaction left on physical and familial bodies."     
NAMI El Dorado County posted this to our NAMI El Dorado County FACEBOOK page reaching nearly 2,000 people (a new record!)    

NAMI CA Survey on Sharing Personal Health Information
The California Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) is releasing the State Health Information Guidance document in 2017 that will communicate the state's interpretation of patient protection law as it relates to the uses, disclosures and protection of sensitive patient information in patient populations like mental health, substance abuse and other areas. The document will be the state's non-mandatory communication to non-government entities on what the state thinks the state privacy laws are saying, what it means and how to apply it as it relates to the exchange of sensitive patient data in lay language.
NAMI California was selected to gather stakeholder feedback in the early stages of formulating this document. Please visit the below survey link to provide very valuable feedback regarding the sharing of personal health information.
Thank you to all for sharing your thoughts and experiences. 
Language Matters - tips shared by Dr. Amador:
Tips from Dr. Xavier Amador in his 10th anniversary edition book and his recent recorded webinar.   
You can find unlimited access to the recorded webinar available at NAMI Ask The Doctor: "I am Not Sick. I Don't Need Help!" with Dr. Xavier Amador
Once you register the replay becomes available - it is not a high quality recording - but worth replaying as there are many tips.   Our family used his tips and it strengthened our relationship and the recovery process.   
NAMI El Dorado County member.
Do NOT Say: 
  • My loved one refuses to acknowledge he's mentally ill
  • Denies he's mentally ill
  • Won't admit
  • Doesn't admit....
  • Refuses to admit...(this is the worst offender)
This all reflects our loved ones have a choice that they are ill.   We would never say "our loved ones won't admit they are hallucinating."
Do Say:
  • My loved one cannot comprehend he is mentally ill
  • Is unaware he is mentally ill
  • Unable to see or understand he's ...
  • Has anosognosia for his mental illness (which is an actual symptom in the DSM V)
2017 "Directing Change" Program & Film Contest 
Students throughout California are invited to Direct Change by submitting 60 - second films in three categories: Suicide Prevention / Mental Health Matters / Through the Lens of Culture. The winning teams and their associated high schools will win prizes, receive mental health or suicide prevention programs for their schools,
participate in a meeting with state legislators on these topics and attend an awards ceremony.
Visit f or all the information including contest rules.
Two important dates to remember:
  •    Jan. 15, 2017 : Intent to Direct Form is due
  •    Mar. 1, 2017:   Film is due 
 - This is a student and young adult film contest; only student and youth or young adult produced films are eligible. To participate one of the following must apply to you:
  • To enter as a High School Student you must be associated with a high school located in California and in grades 9-12. Any high school in California is eligible, including but not limited to: public, private, charter, alternative and home schools.  Student films must be reviewed and approved by an adult advisor at the student's school
  • To enter as a Youth or Young Adult you must be between the ages of 14 and 25 and associated with a college, university, club, community-based local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), or other agency or program in California.
  • Visit for more details.
  The following NAMI blog is a familiar refrain. This is an area we all need to pay attention to and let our Representatives in Congress, State Legislators, and local governments know how difficult access to services for mental illness is for many Americans. There is a survey below to provide information about your experiences.

Tell Us How Your Health Insurance is (or isn't!) Working for You

By Dania Douglas | Nov. 22, 2016
Imagine parents who make call after call, only to discover the soonest a nearby therapist can see their child is in three months. Imagine a young professional who can barely afford the out-of-network psychiatrist she is seeing, so she cuts back on appointments, putting her stability at risk. Imagine a family who cannot find a residential eating disorders treatment program within their insurance network, so they incur mountains of debt to send their daughter to an out-of-network facility. 
These scenarios may sound far-fetched, yet for many Americans living with mental health conditions, they are reality.
"[My relative] has had terrible trouble finding a psychiatrist in our community. He has been traveling 50 miles each way to see a psychiatrist. The wait lists for all psychiatrists locally are between 6 months and two years." [Survey Respondent]
Last week, NAMI released a new report, Out-of-Network, Out-of-Pocket, Out-of-Options, The Unfulfilled Promise of Mental Health Parity , that describes the barriers millions of Americans face in finding and paying for quality mental health care. Based on an survey of more than 3,000 people living with mental illness and their family members, the report found that people had far more difficulty finding mental health providers in their health insurance network compared to other types of medical providers. This means that people often faced longer wait times and relied on more expensive, out-of-network care for their mental health needs. 
People with mental health conditions have faced persistent discrimination in insurance coverage; for many years, people with mental health conditions were often denied coverage entirely and those who did have insurance faced unfair limitations on the amount and type of care they could receive.  Despite recent progress-including new legal requirements for fairness under the   Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-significant challenges remain.
"The majority of the mental health professionals in my area do not participate in any insurance plan . . . We have depleted our savings and incurred much debt to get the quality mental health care we need." [Survey Respondent]
NAMI's report recommends that health plans:
  • Maintain accurate, up-to date provider directories
  • Provide easy-to-understand information about mental health benefits
  • Promote integration of mental health and primary care
  • Expand mental health provider networks
  • Cover out-of-network care to fill provider gaps
What You Can Do
Considering filling out this year's survey about your experiences with health coverage. The survey makes it possible for NAMI to identify where there has been progress and where we need to advocate more strongly. And your stories help us, as well.
Filling out the survey will take about 20 minutes. And make sure you share it with your family and friends. The survey closes on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 at Midnight EST.
NAMI envisions a future in which the promises of parity are truly fulfilled. People with mental health conditions and their families deserve access to timely, affordable and quality mental health care. Until effective treatment, services and supports are available to people living with mental health conditions, NAMI will remain a leading voice in the fight for parity.

 NAMI's annual national convention will be held June 28 - July 01, 2017 in Washington D.C. 
 and in New Orleans in 2018 then back to the Western US in 2019.
Important Information for our Families
About CalABLE
For many people with disabilities, the fear of losing critical public benefits, coupled with the high cost of support expenses, has limited them from building financial security.
Until recently, individuals receiving federal benefits have been restricted in the amount of money they can save, essentially keeping them in poverty and preventing them from planning for the future. With the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act , signed into federal law by President Obama, these thresholds are no longer an obstacle.
In 2015 Governor Brown signed the California ABLE Act into law. CalABLE allows qualified individuals with disabilities and their families to open tax-free savings accounts without the worry of losing vital government assistance. The law establishes a board that will administer the CalABLE savings program.
The CalABLE program in California will open up life-improving opportunities for people with disabilities and their families in much the same way California's ScholarShare 529 plans formed educational opportunities for the state's students.
Contributions to an ABLE account, currently limited to $14,000 per year, can be made by family, friends, or the beneficiary themselves. The account's earnings are allowed to accumulate tax-free, and the withdrawals, provided they are applied to qualifying disability expenses, are tax-free.
Read more about the CalABLE program by accessing our Fact Sheet .
One of the largest benefits afforded by the ABLE Act is the ability to exclude certain assets from federal means-tested programs. As an example, in order for an individual to obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the countable resources must be worth not more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
Savings held in an ABLE account, up to a $100,000 limit, are not counted against the $2,000 limit on personal assets for individuals to qualify for SSI and other public benefits.
In essence, the ABLE Act has increased the cap for countable assets from $2,000 to $100,000 for disabled individuals seeking eligibility for SSI.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules for determining program eligibility were finalized in November of 2015.
CalABLE received program funding in July of 2016 to begin development and implementation of the program. CalABLE hopes to make ABLE accounts available by summer 2017. To view the full implementation schedule, view Phase I and Phase II .
Program staff are currently in the process of ensuring that a vast coalition of stakeholders and impacted state, local and federal agencies are all involved in the development of this savings plan. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the program design and implementation process; connect with us via email , our ListServ or on Facebook .

WarmLine Family Resource Center   WarmLine provides  resources & support (at no charge) to families of infants, children and youth with special needs and disabilities, birth to 26 years. 
WarmLine is funded by the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs as the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) for children with disabilities 0-26 years in Region 5 (26 counties from Yolo County to the Oregon border) of Northern California. This funding gives WarmLine the means to provide more support and trainings to families on Special Education than ever before.

In Home Supportive Services

Some of our NAMI families in El Dorado County have reported favorably about the quality of the IHSS program.  They are paid by IHSS for basic services that helped their loved one live at home.  NAMI families particularly those that have graduated NAMI Family-to-Family are proactive in interviewing IHSS caregiver candidates to help their loved one and work collaboratively on a successful caregiving model.    Teamwork is dreamwork.   Learn more about this program at: 
Disability Benefit Information

Sustainability Outreach Services and Only Kindness Community Resource Center - Rene Evans - Accredited Disability Representative in Placerville - (530) 876-6243 or (530) 344-1864 is a  comprehensive resource that helps people not only understand, but access social security disability benefits is available.   
In the course of their research,  it was found that most people who have become or already living with disabilities are not fully aware of the benefits and resources that are available to them. This guide will not only answer common questions like qualifications, application process, as well as a calculator that can help estimate monthly and annual benefits.    You can see the entire guide along with some of its features here:
Legal Services

Legal Services of Northern California
is a non-profit law firm that provides free legal assistance to eligible persons.  They provide help in the following areas: housing (resolving problems with landlords and housing subsidies), public benefits (CalFresh, CalWORKs, General Assistance, etc.), Social Security, and health care (physical and mental health).  

"Our health unit  may be able to help you get and keep health insurance, and deal with insurance premium and share of cost disputes, medical debt; coverage of medical treatment (procedures, medication, medical equipment, etc.), seeing doctors in a timely manner, and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)."

Persons who need help with a health care issue may receive assistance regardless of their income or assets if they meet other eligibility requirements.  Persons needing help with other issues must have a low income.  If you need help with a health care issue, call (888) 354-4474.  If you need help with one of the other issues listed above, call (530) 823-7560.

A huge Thank You to Leon Dixson for coming and speaking to our group last month about Medi-Cal and Medicare and some of the difficulties families may have around insurance, housing, and public benefits! 

Additional information about health care rights may be found at  

Law Enforcement - continues to help our community
Law enforcement resources continuously help our loved ones.    
NAMI Families and Friends in El Dorado County continue to sing high praise for law enforcement's participation in CIT training and the leadership team's focus on ensuring officers are trained in Crisis Intervention Training.     Thank you for all you do for NAMI Families and the community.
Thank you!  
The Placerville Police Department  is on  Facebook
El Dorado County Sheriff's department is on Facebook .
South Lake Tahoe police is on  Faceboo k
Are you Prepared for a Crisis?
NAMI El Dorado County is very grateful for our trained officers and deputies who recognize and respond  to the human being behind the brain disorder in a way that lessens the possibility of violence and trauma.    

What to say when calling 9-1-1
for a Mental Health Emergency 
  • I'm calling about a Mental Health Emergency and request a CIT Officer.
  • My name is __________________________________________________
  • I'm calling from __________________(your location) because my (family member/friend) is _____________________________________________.
  • Describe in detail what is going on right now.
  • Advise law enforcement is there is information on file about the person in crisis. (see the Family Information Form link below)
  • Ask if it's possible to arrive without lights or sirens
The 9-1-1 dispatacher will ask the following: (be clear and brief)
  • Are there any acts or threats of violence?
  • Are there any weapons involved?
  • Where is the person experiencing the emergency located?
  • Has there been a suicide attempt or has the person made threats of suicide?
Additional information to provide: 
  • Mental health diagnosis and mental healthcare provider.
  • Intoxicated or overdosed?
  • Current medications
  • Gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves.
Always provide a completed AB-1424 (Family History Form).  If the deputy or officer that arrives is not aware of how this form is used then ask for a law enforcement supervisor.   AB-1424 has been in effect since 2002 but not all law enforcement has been trained in the importance of how this form can help get your loved one help.  This is why it is important to ask for a "CIT trained officer" in a mental health emergency.
Family Information Form
AB-1424 form from El Dorado County (click on link above) will assist you in getting important family historical information to law enforcement and emergency personnel.  This form applies to the WI code 5150.5 which allows families to provide important historical information in case of hospitalization or incarceration.   
This form is also available at NAMI Support meetings, El Dorado County Mental Health's website, the Psychiatric Health Facility on Spring St. in Placerville, and at El Dorado County Mental Health at 768 Pleasant Valley Rd., Diamond Springs or El Dorado County Wellness Center 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd in South Lake Tahoe.  
During a crisis, you may not be able to access information about your loved one, but with this form, you can provide essential information to assist providers in developing appropriate treatment.  California law AB-1424 requires historical information be considered in helping our loved ones.   
Providing the "history" of mental health issues may help the deputy or officer in getting our loved ones treatment. For example, if your loved one is currently not a danger to themselves or others but things are escalating...they have a history of prior hospitalizations or prior violence/threats when untreated it is relevant to share specifics about this.  
The crisis intervention (CIT) team program with the Sheriff's Dept. is active on both slopes.  

Crisis in South Lake Tahoe call (530) 544-2219

Crisis on the Western Slope call (530) 622-3345
If your instincts tell you a situation is dangerous, it probably is.  
Call 911 immediately.  Make sure you communicate that "this is a MENTAL HEALTH emergency involving mental illness and we are seeking involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and not arrest.
Brain Research and Scientific Discoveries
Visit and attend their monthly "Meet the Scientists" webinars at no cost.  

 Yvette I. Sheline, M.D.

Visit and attend a virtual forum at no cost (must create a free login to participate).  
15-Dec:  " Meeting the Challenges in caring for patients  with Schizophrenia: Roles of the Pharmacists".
12-Jan: "Co-Occurrence Of Substance Use Disorders With Mood Disorders & Psychosis". 
23-Jan: "Is it MDD or Bipolar Disorder?". 
15-Dec: "Meeting the Challenges in caring for patients with Schizophrenia: Roles of the Pharmacists". 
Visit and scroll to the bottom of the page where you can learn more about specific illnesses.
Visit  and visit their on-line
Psycho-education is a core to recovery.  
This means psycho-education for family/friends and for our loved ones.  We are pleased with the response by the community regarding the donation to the El Dorado County library.   Pick up a copy of our recommended reading booklist and website list at our NAMI Family Support Group meeting or simply click here.      Visit El Dorado County library or your local community college library.
Barton Health has identified the need for additional mental health services and continues to take action to provide extra support for patients and the South Lake Tahoe community. 
They have 3 local psychiatrists: Dr. Zelan, Dr. Protell, and Dr. Rupp plus Telemedicine and Psychologists and also licensed Social Workers - each focused on improving mental health.
Where can you find help in South Lake Tahoe and surrounding area?  
Here is the  link  to the The Health & Wellness portion of the Barton community
 directory (starting on page 49.)  Notice all the support groups and counseling services - many health and wellness programs available.   You may also pick up a hard-copy of this directory at our NAMI Support Group meeting in South Lake Tahoe, at a Mental Health kiosk, or at Barton Hospital.  
New mental health providers have arrived in South Lake Tahoe bringing a new continuum of care.  Their names  will be added to the community directory next year.   
  • Matthew Wong Psychologist | M.A., Psy.D PSY#26365 415-806-0275  South Lake Tahoe appointments Mondays and Fridays available for children/teens/adults mild to moderate; broad range of therapies.  Psychological testing and intellectual disability assessments.   Dr. Wong accepts a variety of insurances and has recently added Anthem Blue-Cross and anticipates accepting Medi-Cal 1-Jan-2017.
  • A Balanced Life added 2 new therapists specializing in co-occurring addiction/mental-health issues: 
"Schedule an appointment soon before provider calendars are filled.   
Mental health clinicians have far smaller caseloads than primary care physicians. 
With psycho-therapy treatment can last for an extended period which means often people pick a standing time-slot.  
Experts recommend not delaying treatment (even if you are wait listed for someone you really like.)  
Recommend getting to treatment promptly.
The sooner you begin psycho-therapy - the sooner your journey to recovery will begin. " 
Take care of you and your loved ones"   NAMI Leader - NAMI El Dorado County 

Check out  Barton's mental health page  which outlines strategic priorities and accomplishments and more...  Have you checked out all the community classes available including smoking cessation?
Lake Tahoe Community College retains #1 spot as most visited Mental Health Kiosk
Six locations  hosting Mental Health kiosks for our South Lake Tahoe community.   
- Barton Emergency Room  (2170 South Ave)
- Barton Community Health Center  (2201 South Ave)
- Barton Family Medicine  (1090 Third St)
- El Dorado County Probation/Sheriff  (1360 Johnson Blvd)
- El Dorado County Library  (1000 Rufus Allen Road)
- Lake Tahoe Community College  (next to college bookstore)

Barton ER is second most visited and Barton Family Medicine is third most visited.   All six locations are popular...over 1500 brochures have been provided to the community since establishment in our community!     
Have you asked your doctor 
about Long-lasting  Injectables?

Safeway's Speciality Pharmacy in South Lake Tahoe AND on the Western Slope provide long-lasting injectables.  Not all Safeways provide this.   We continue to educate families and friends about the availability and benefits of long-lasting injectables for those that have this option available.    
Many NAMI families are reporting vast improvement in their loved ones since switching from pill form to long-lasting injectables.
Safeway provides a free case manager service (out of their Idaho call center) where they call and remind our loved ones when their injection is due, schedule the appointment, and help the process run smoothly.  
Call 1-877 466-8028 and request speaking with an injectables case management team member.
This is a great convenience since many family members were having to pick up the medication and bring it to a medical technician outside of the pharmacy setting to receiving the injection.  Now, it's one stop shopping.  Multiple NAMI family members in South Lake Tahoe report the process and impact are favorable. 
Long-lasting injectable administration are available through Barton Psychiatry (through a medical technician on-site,) El Dorado County Mental Health (monthly), and Safeway Specialty Pharmacy in South Lake Tahoe.  
NAMI El Dorado County outreach continues 

NAMI El Dorado County continues to provide mental health education and awareness at various county and school health fairs, back-to-school events, and at clubs and other organizations.   If your club, place of worship, or organization is interested in a 20, 60, or 120 minute mental health awareness overview please contact us. 
West Slope: Jan 530-677-2676 or in South Lake Tahoe: Jeanne 650-740-5776

Current and upcoming classes, events and support groups:
6-May-2017: 6-May-2017: 6-May-2017: 6-May-2017: 6-May-2017: 6-May-2017: 6-May-2017:

This is NAMI El Dorado County's annual fundraiser.     
Saturday, 6-May-2017 is Northern California NAMIWalks. Details to follow  - 10 counties will come together at William Land Park in Sacramento to raise mental health awareness and crush stigma!   Come join in the fun and show your support.   
Does your business want to sponsor us and get your name on the annual T-shirt and listed on the famous NAMIWalks Northern California website viewed by over 1,000 people?  
EXCELLENT MARKETING OPPORTUNITY - please contact for details.
Website for walker registration and personal donations coming soon.

NAMI El Dorado Board of Directors Meeting - First Tuesday of every month (Dec.6)
We will meet at the County Government Center, 330 Fair Lane, BOS Building A, Conf. Rm. A, 5:30 p.m.   Everyone is welcome.    Support Group follows at 7:00 pm.
This month we are collecting items for individuals spending the holidays in our PHF (Psychiatric Health Facility).  Warm socks, gloves, hats, individually packaged treats, small gift cards or certificates, would be welcome and remind them that someone cares. You may drop items by at the meeting or support group, arrange for pick up, or send in a donation to help cover the cost of providing this NAMI El Dorado County tradition.  Our PHF  is a 16 bed Medi-Cal only psychiatric hospital.

El Dorado County Mental Health Commission:

No Regular meeting of the Commission in December.  See you January 25th!
Health and Human Services Agency, 3057 Briw Rd., Sierra Room, Placerville, CA - and in South Lake Tahoe at the Wellness Center 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd (video-teleconference.) - 5:00 pm 
These meetings are  open to the public and are an important interface between the community and our county mental health system.  Concerns and stories from the community are welcome during public comment time at the start of each meeting.  While your concerns may not be discussed unless it is already an item on the agenda, your input as part of the public is valued and will  be addressed at a later meeting.
Are you interested in becoming a member of the Mental Health Commission?  
Let your voice be  heard in El Dorado County.

NAMI Family Support Meetings - 3 in El Dorado County!

NAMI Family Support groups are a monthly meeting of caregivers of individuals with a mental illness where family members can talk frankly about their challenges and help one another through their learned wisdom.  
These support groups group provide empathetic support for those dealing with crisis and the emotional overload that is so much a part of having someone you love living with a mental illness.  You can come, share or just listen, get useful practical information, or a hug from others who understand.  This group is for families and friends of those living with a mental illness.  We hope to see you there.  No cost to attend.

South Lake Tahoe NAMI Family Support Group  
This group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month 
Location: South Lake Tahoe Library located at 1000 Rufus Allen Road from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.    
Group facilitators: Jeanne and Alan (650) 740-5776 |  
2016 remaining dates:    Dec 13.

The West Slope NAMI Family Support Group
This group meets the 1st Tuesday monthly at 7:00 p.m. following the monthly NAMI Board Meeting in Placerville at the Government Center, Fair Lane, BOS Building A, Conference Room A, Placerville, CA
Group facilitator: Jan 530-677-2676 
2016 remaining dates:   Dec 6

El Dorado Hills NAMI Family Support Group    
This group meets the  3rd Monday of each month.  
Location: EDH Fire Dept, Station 85, 1050 Wilson Blvd. El Dorado Hills. 
Conference Room: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
2016 remaining dates:  Dec 19
Group Facilitators: 
Jannell Clanton (530)333-5803 | or 
Lauraleen Patterson (916)955-1666 | 

We are pleased to offer  NAMI Signature programs  right here in 
El Dorado County.   If you have recently, or in the past, taken one of our classes, please let others in the community know how valuable the experience was.  Your recommendations help to get the word out.  Too often we hear, "I wish I had known about this class years ago!". 

NAMI Family-to-Family 
is on the coveted list of SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) Evidence-based recovery models.  Visit to learn more about SAMSHA.  We will be offering Family-to-Family and Basics,  this year.  The classes are posted at and in this monthly newsletter when they are scheduled.  We are happy to take your name and contact information if you wish to reserve space.  Phone numbers are given below.

"I learned more in NAMI Family-to-Family than in the past 20 years working as a nurse across a variety of hospitals."  
Anonymous graduate of NAMI F2F 
"You tossed our family a life-rope and we held on.  Our loved one is now doing well.  This course saved our family and our marriage."  
Anonymous graduate F2F 
"I wish we knew about this course years ago...we cannot help but wonder how much better our loved one would be doing had we been introduced to NAMI sooner."   
Anonymous graduate NAMI F2F

NAMI Family-to-Family In South Lake Tahoe:

NAMI Family-to-Family education  in South Lake Tahoe: 
16-Sep-2017 through 21-Oct-2017 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
6 consecutive Saturdays <-- accepting sign-ups now for 2017
Call Jeanne at 650-740-5776 to register 
NAMI Classes on the West Slope: 
NAMI Family-to-Family Education completed classes on Nov. 17.  We will schedule another class when we have a list of interested families.   Call Jan at 530-677-2676 to put your name on the wait-list for future class.

NAMI Basics - This class is for families with children/adolescents with behavioral/mental health conditions.  This 6 week class will provide resources and coping strategies for families.  
Call Jan (530)677-2676 to reserve space for this class.  We need a minimum number to schedule this class.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer  is a 10-week education class for individuals coping with a mental health issue.  
Please call Jan to get on wait-list for the winter class.    (530) 677-2676

All NAMI programs are provided to the community at 
no cost to the participants and are offered once or twice a year.  Please call to put your name and contact information on our list for future classes.
Local Happenings
Reflections of Life and Loss (South Lake Tahoe) graphic-heart.gif
Second and Fourth Thursdays monthly 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Barton Hospice encourages people who have experienced the loss of a loved one or have endured a significant, life-altering event to attend. This group helps teach attendees how to cope with certain situations and encourages emotional connections with others. Support and bereavement groups allow people to release emotions they may otherwise keep to themselves. It can improve a participant's mood and decrease psychological distress.
Location: Barton Hospice
2092 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Suite 600
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Friends for Survival (Western Slope)
Marshall Medical Center
Friends For Survival is a national non-profit organization and you can learn more at 
Meetings are held monthly. For more information, contact Walt or Leona Narr at 530-647-8864.
Bipolar Insights - in Placerville, CA
Weekly Class * Every Monday at 7 pm
Green Valley Community Church
3500 Missouri Flat Road, Room 304 in Placerville, CA 95667
$5 per person per class

Special Events * Tuesday's
Marshall Medical Building
681 Main Street, 1st Floor Common Room in Placerville, CA 95667
Check the website for dates and events
Bipolar Insights / Mental Health Education Center  (530) 642-0859      
Teen Support Group (no cost to attend) - A Balanced Life
A Balanced Life:  2100 Eloise, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Call to learn more: 530-544-1748 
Therapists skilled in co-occurring addiction now available (for adults/teens)
SMARTS Recovery held at: A Balanced Life ($3 donation requested)
Call to learn more: 530-544-1748 
A science-based addiction recovery support group
no cost - where participants learn self-empowering techniques to aid their recovery through mutual-help face-to-face and online meetings and services.  
More than 1/2 of those living with mental health have a co-occurring addiction 
(work, drug, gambling, food, sex, alcohol, social-media, etc).  
SMART Recovery meetings are now in South Lake Tahoe at A Balanced Life 
- Every Thursday, 6-7PM (on-going weekly; no cost but a $3.00 donation is suggested) 

El Dorado County Mental Health - Wellness Centers 
(Diamond Springs and South Lake Tahoe)

Adult Outpatient Services Wellness Centers, 768 Pleasant Valley Rd., Diamond Springs and 1360 Johnson Blvd., South Lake Tahoe,  continue to provide a safe, understanding,  and recovery oriented place, Monday through Friday afternoons. 
Drop in hours are from 1:00 to 4:00 Monday through Friday, for people to socialize and participate in a wide assortment of fun and therapeutic groups.  Group schedules are available at the Wellness Centers and may include Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Anger Management, Conversation Skills, Healthy Pleasures, Smoking Cessation, Symptoms without Stigma, Mindfulness, Coping Skills, Stress/Anxiety Reduction, Seeking Safety, and others.  Some of these groups are available on a referral basis only, while other groups, such as Art, Physical Activity, Mindfulness, Coping Strategies, etc. are open to all.  Check current schedule at the Centers. 

If you are one of the over 500 people who called, attended, or participated in a NAMI El Dorado County program this year, you are familiar with with how much it helps to know you are not alone.  Please consider providing a tax-deductable donation to help us continue this important work in our community.

Your Donations Are Needed and Greatly Appreciated!
Every dollar donated goes directly to our education, support, and advocacy efforts.  
We are 100% voluntary non-profit
and are comprised of individuals and families with lived experience - working hard every day to crush stigma and improve services and supports in El Dorado County.   
Your donations; volunteer time, items, or money are appreciated and used in our community to benefit and improve the lives of families and individuals living with mental illness.

Let us know if you would like to make a special donation "in memory of" or "in honor of" someone special or "in support of our volunteerism in the community".   
Please add a note to your check (or email after using PayPal)   NAMI El Dorado County covers the Western Slope and South Lake Tahoe - we are one affiliate.
Donations by check:
Please make checks payable to: 
 "NAMI El Dorado County", 
 PO Box 393, El Dorado, CA 95623

Use AMAZON SMILE and select NAMI El Dorado County

Will you please share this with your friends and family?  You Shop, Amazon gives to NAMI El Dorado County.  1/2% of all your purchase amounts will then go to NAMI El Dorado County

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Membership in NAMI has benefits!
Don't miss out on the excellent publications, NAMI Advocate Magazine (3 times per year) and the Voice newsletter, as well as online access to informative and thoughtful articles and blogs.   You will also have the option to receive advocacy alerts where you can advocate with your legislature with a single click.
Memberships can be made or renewed by mail to 
NAMI El Dorado County, P.O. Box 393, El Dorado, CA 95623.  
You can also join online.  Go to (select  NAMI El Dorado County Western Slope and South Lake Tahoe  when you apply for membership.)  A full membership is $35.00.  Discounted "Open Door" memberships are available from your NAMI leader also. Thank you!   

New Membership Structure Coming 1-July 2017:

Household Membership $60 (new); Regular Membership $40; Open Door Membership $5

NAMI El Dorado County - FACEBOOK
Share our Facebook page with all your friends
Please "like" our page on Facebook or add your perspectives to our page!  

Here you will find a 
drop-box (file folder) of our local resources, interesting posts, and photos.   

As a reminder there is a national NAMI website at
a California NAMI website
and our  NAMI El Dorado affiliate information can be found  here and on  Facebook     

You need not have a Facebook account to view any of  NAMI El Dorado County Facebook  content.  
  Interested in Volunteering?
Use your personal passion to give back.  We are looking for individuals with an interest and skills in teaching, fundraising, organizational management, grant search and writing, and support group facilitation.  
Giving back  and helping others is not only a gift but an opportunity for  personal  growth and, let's face it, a chance to feel good. 
Call Jan on the Western Slope at 530-306-7710; Call Jeanne in South Lake Tahoe at 650-740-5776.
Jan Melnicoe, President
NAMI El Dorado County - Western Slope and South Lake Tahoe
(530) 306-7710


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