NAMI California Monthly Newsletter
September 2016
Welcome Our Two New Board Members

NAMI California would like to introduce and welcome our two newest board members, Dr. Jei Africa and Dr.  Patrick Courneya. We are very excited to have Dr. Africa and Dr. Courneya joining the NAMI California Board and we would also like to thank Dorothy Hendrickson for her many year's of service on the NAMI CA Board. Stepping in as the new Board President will be Guy Qvistgaard. 
Jei Africa, PsyD, MSCP

Jei is the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity for San Mateo. Dr. Africa is a licensed clinical psychologist who is also certified as a domestic violence and addiction counselor in the San Francisco-Bay Area.
Jei Africa

As an advocate for providing effective and quality services for the underserved and unserved population, especially Asians and Filipinos, he continues to work with different sectors of the community to educate them about health and mental health issues.  He is also a consultant, educator and facilitator on integrating diversity and multicultural-related issues in clinical and organizational practice.

Equity, social justice and diversity are values that Jei holds dearly both personally and professionally. He is hoping to help support NAMI's mission of ensuring that every individual and their family member who is touched by mental illness and/or substance abuse problems get equitable access and care that is culturally appropriate and aligned with their values. 

Unfortunately, many still face significant barriers in accessing behavioral health care such as language and literacy issues as well as individual, community and institutional stigma and discrimination that still exists. These barriers can be addressed and changed; it takes commitment, intention and resources to shift our practices and policies. Jei will ensure that these values of equity, social justice and diversity, remain on the forefront of NAMI's work.
Patrick Courneya, MD

Patrick Courneya

Patrick Courneya, MD, is the Executive Vice President of Hospitals, Quality and Care Delivery Excellence and Chief Medical Officer of Medicare Advantage, 1876 Cost, and Part D Pharmacy Plans at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Inc. in Oakland, CA. In this role, Dr. Courneya oversees Kaiser Permanente's national quality agenda, helps ensure the organization's members and communities receive the best quality and service Kaiser Permanente offers, and advocates for the advancement of evidence-based medicine and proven innovation for the industry.
Dr. Courneya previously served 10 years as Medical Director and Associate Medical Director for HealthPartners Health Plan. Additionally, he has played a significant role in advancing health care quality and innovation on a national level. He is board certified in Family Practice and was a family practice physician for 25 years. Professional activities include chairing the Chief Medical Officer Leadership Council at America's Health Insurance Plans and the Medical Directors Council at the Alliance of Community Health Plans. Dr. Courneya was also recently appointed to the California board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Dr. Courneya received his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota and his medical degree from the University of Minnesota. He completed his Family Practice Residency at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1988, and remains board certified in that specialty. He has served as medical leader in various roles at medical group, hospital, and health plan levels.
Becker's Hospital Review recognized Dr. Courneya in 2016 as one of 100 Hospital and Health System CMOs to Know. 
2016 NAMI CA Board of Directors

NAMI California Board of Directors (From Left to Right): Juan Garcia, Jei Africa, Patrick Courneya, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Amanda Lipp, Guy Qvistgaard, Jim Randall, Gustavo Loera, Diane Van Maren and Ratan Bhavani. Missing in the photo is Kenton Rainey, Board Treasurer.
Resources & Help 

The California Department of Education (CDE) recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. There are activities happening throughout September to help raise awareness. The CDE's Project Cal-Well is offering free eight hour training in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). YMHFA is a valuable resource for youth-serving adults as it teaches specific skills that are critical during a mental health crisis, including suicidal ideation. It is our goal to increase awareness of mental health and wellness across the State's educational system and train staff.

MHawarenessMental Health Awareness Week - October 2-8, 2016
Mental Health Awareness Week is October 2-8, an annual event where advocates across the nation will come together to spread awareness about the importance of mental health and to speak out against the stigma around mental illness. Thanks to NAMI's efforts in 1990, U.S. Congress established the first full week in October for the observance.

Each Mind Matters developed a toolkit with valuable resources that can be customized to raise awareness in your community and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health challenges. Download the 2016 Mental Health Awareness Week Toolkit and share with Each Mind Matters and NAMI California how you use the materials by tagging  @EachMindMatters and  @NAMICalifornia on social.

Show-Off Your Lime Green
Lime green is building momentum as the national color for mental health awareness. Wearing the lime green ribbon is a great way to open an honest dialogue with friends, family, classmates and co-workers about mental health. And it's an easy way to show your support. It's also easy to order! Get your lime green ribbon, wristband or other Each Mind Matters items at their online shop  Or wear it online by adding  this twibbonto your profile on social media. Here are some more ideas to help you get creative while showing your support:
  • Post selfies wearing your lime green ribbon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, encourage others to do the same. Use the hashtag #EachMindMatters and #NAMICalifornia.
  • Order a supply of lime green ribbons or wristbands and keep them in your desk, car, backpack or purse to offer to people when they ask about it.
  • Ask family members and friends to wear their support too.
  • Wear lime green clothes, paint your nails lime green or even put a streak of lime green in your hair! Let everyone know that Each Mind Matters.
HooverPromises Still to Keep: A Second Look at the MHSA

Created in 1962, The Little Hoover Commission, formally known as the Milton Marks "Little Hoover" Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, is an independent state oversight agency. By statute, the Commission is a bipartisan board composed of five public members appointed by the governor, four public members appointed by the Legislature, two senators and two assemblymembers. 

More than a decade ago, California voters passed a landmark tax initiative that promised to expand access to mental health services and transform how people get help by providing services, when and where needed, at any stage of an illness. For some Californians, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) has fulfilled this promise. Proposition 63-funded programs have helped individuals with mental illness recover and thrive. For some, the funding created programs that offer housing, healthcare, medication and help to become self-sufficient. For others at risk of developing mental illness, the funding provides safe, supportive local centers to stay and work through episodes of crisis. These are but two examples of the types of programs in which counties invest money from the Act. But these inspiring stories of success are shadowed by a continuing failure of the state to demonstrate what is collectively being accomplished.

The Little Hoover Commission, reported Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, that 12 years after voters approved a 1 percent tax on millionaires, the state still can't readily show how the money is spent or who is helped. For a brief summary of the report click here and for the full Little Hoover Commission Report click here.
CoBudgetNew Toolkit! Understanding County Budgeting After Proposition 47

California is in the midst of major changes in criminal justice: policy shifts have been reducing over-incarceration at both the state and local level. These changes impact more than the number of people incarcerated - they also open up an opportunity to rethink spending.  

With Proposition 47 and recent criminal justice reforms, we have a tremendous opportunity to advocate for new safety priorities that prioritize investments into prevention, rehabilitation and community health over growing incarceration budgets.

The latest  toolkit , created in partnership with the California Budget and Policy Center , is designed to help local advocates understand local budgeting processes and take advantage of this opportunity to improve local investment priorities.

Advocates like you have a huge role in helping Board of Supervisors and other county leaders shape their budget priorities. 

This toolkit breaks down the role of counties in state government, the basics of county budgeting, and how counties might evaluate the impact and potential resources freed up by Proposition 47.

Download the toolkit and share it with your network! 
AdvocacyAdvocacy News
Halloween Attractions Associated with Heavy Stigma

We are pleased to report that Knott's Berry Farm in California has completely shut down its stigmatizing "Fear VR: 5150" Halloween attraction-thanks especially to the efforts of NAMI Orange County. We also would like to thank the many other advocates and affiliates who helped raise awareness. The LA Times article covering this attraction can be viewed here

Unfortunately Halloween is heavily associated with negative perceptions of mental illness. However this shows the power of advocacy and how we can advocate to decrease stigma and raise awareness. 

Here are some useful recommendations:

* Organize local leaders in the mental health community. Request a private meeting with the sponsors of an attraction or store owner to start a dialogue about how to resolve the controversy and to work together in the future.

* If attempts at dialogue are unsuccessful, alert other NAMI members, family and friends to phone, send letters or e-mail to sponsors or stores. Check the websites of the sponsoring company or attraction. Many have Facebook pages or are connected to other social media platforms. Post comments on your Facebook news feed to friends and ask them to share with their friends.

* Make the protest a "news event" and a "teaching moment." Offer local individual or family members who have been affected by mental illness for personal interviews.

* Be prepared for some backlash. Many people in a community may say, "It's only Halloween" or even something nasty. Take the high road. Stay polite and respectful in the public dialogue-and remind them that no one would ever make a Halloween attraction about a cancer ward or dialysis center. Even if it seems like many  people disagree with NAMI's position, remember that you win simply by raising awareness.
Suicide Prevention Policy Bill Signed by Governor

Thank you to all advocates who helped get  Assembly Bill 2246 passed to mandate that districts with students in grades 7 to 12 adopt suicide prevention policies. Many of you came to the Capitol during legislative visits and also met with district representatives to advocate for this bill.

While school districts were previously encouraged to develop suicide prevention policies, you recommended that this bill be supported by the State Superintendent to ensure that district governing boards adopt policies to prevent suicides.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson supported your recommendation, and Governor Brown has now signed the bill into law.

No Place Like Home  Initiative

Background information:
The Legislature and the Governor recently established the No Place Like Home program to provide $2 billion in bond financing for the acquisition, development, rehabilitation, or preservation of housing for persons living with a mental illness who are homeless, chronically homeless, or at-risk of chronic homelessness. Beginning in the late summer of 2017, the Department will be administering approximately $1.8 billion of these funds allocated over four years.   

To read NAMI California's summary on NPLH 
For the full NPLH language click here.
Federal Senate Bill 2680 Mental Health Reform Act
Action Alert
The Senate passed a "continuing resolution" avoiding a government shutdown. This means that the Senate is likely to adjourn at the end of this week and return for a post-election "lameduck" session where we will have another opportunity to get S 2680 passed. It will be critical to press Senators throughout October to pass S 2680 in the "lameduck" session.

Senate 2680 (One-Pager)
H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016 (Background)

Contact Senator Feinstein 
Washington DC Phone (202)-224-3841; Fax (202)-228-3954

Contact Senator Boxer
Washington DC Phone (202)-224-3553; Fax (202)-224-0454
AffiliateNAMI News and Information for Affiliates
The Fresno Bee has recently highlighted the NAMI Homefront program that offers PTSD help for Fresno families of service members and veterans. NAMI Fresno Executive Director Christina Roup and teacher Mary Lou Brauti-Minkler introduce the program's Homefront course to help veterans and their families deal with PTSD. Phones have been super busy with interest and sign-ups, conversations about starting Connection groups lead by veterans, and so much more! 
Conference Materials

Did you miss a previous NAMI California Conference or are you interested in seeing a speaker or workshop again?  You can purchase CD's/MP3's or download the PowerPoint presentations using the links below. 
(Audio Recordings) 
(PowerPoint Presentations)
Send Program  Inquiries  To:

NAMI California Office:  (916) 567-0163 

We welcome your submissions for the NAMI California monthly newsletter. We look for articles from our affiliates and members across the state that highlight the best of what's happening in California.  Please keep the length of your submission to 250 words or less, and include a contact name, email and phone number in case we need to reach you for more information. We love photos, so please send a picture if you have one. We regret that we cannot publish all submissions, and we reserve the right to edit all content.
Email your submissions to Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you!
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