NAMI California Monthly Newsletter
June 2016
SPNAMI California Strategic Plan

The NAMI California Board of Directors is pleased to share the Strategic Plan for 2016-2020. The plan details the mission, vision and core values of NAMI CA as well as our key objectives for the next four years.   Please click here to download a PDF of the NAMI CA Strategic Plan.

BackFuture2016 NAMI California Annual Conference

Learn what's new in mental health at the  2016 NAMI California Annual Conference  August 26 & 27 in Burlingame! We have an exciting lineup of sessions focusing on advocacy, criminal justice, consumer and family engagement, transitional age youth, diverse communities, and strengthening NAMI - plus inspirational talks and practical workshops. 


Click here to reserve your room
or call (888) 236-2427 or (650) 692-9100 and ask for the NAMI California group rate. Make your reservations early, as space is limited and rooms fill up fast!
NAMI California Annual Conference website

Our Community, Our Health Town Hall Meeting

NAMI California Executive Director Jessica Cruz was one of the featured speakers for Our Community, Our Health, an online town hall meeting on mental health care solutions in May. OCOH was presented by the  UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities and  UF HealthStreet, a community-engaged research initiative at the University of Florida. The town hall provided a forum for sharing ideas about priorities for health research and ways to communicate research findings from stakeholders across the  country.

Panel members included Jessica Cruz, Executive Director of NAMI California; Dr. Hendry Ton, Director of Education for the UC Davis Center of Reducing Health Disparities; and Charles Casey, Senior Public Information Officer at UC Davis. The panel was moderated by Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis and President of NAMI California.
AdvocacyAdvocacy & Legislation

Youth Advocacy Day at the Capitol

About 50 California high school students met with legislators and staff members at the Capitol in Sacramento to advocate for mental health on Tuesday, May 17. The event, part of Mental Health Month, was a partnership of NAMI California and the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association. The students first gathered for lunch at a downtown restaurant before walking to the Capitol, where they visited the offices of  more than 20 senators and assembly members. Students shared their personal stories about living with mental illness as well as ideas for helping young people living with mental health conditions. We'd like to thank all the legislators, staff, teachers, chaperones, and especially the students for a great day of advocacy!

Gov. Brown Moves  To Tackle Housing Challenges

Governor Jerry Brown makes a significant commitment to tackling California's housing challenges in his May Revision of the 2016-17 California State Budget.

NAMI California has long recognized that individuals with mental illness are severely impacted by the shortage of affordable and supportive housing in the state and that our constituents face unique barriers accessing appropriate housing. Over 40 percent of individuals who are homeless live with a mental illness, and many more individuals and families impacted by mental illness live on the edge of homelessness due to our weak mental health safety net. We also know that housing is a significant determinant of mental health and wellness.

In January, the Governor recognized the difficulty California faces in siting housing and treatment facilities that provide services to those who were previously incarcerated, including those living with mental illness. In an effort to encourage local governments to site these facilities, the Governor included $25 million for an incentive grant program. The May Revision further specifies the components of this program, now called the "Community-Based Transitional Housing Program."


NAMI On Campus High School Named  Promising Program

Our very own NAMI On Campus High School program has been recognized with the Promising Program Award by the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth! Pictured: Beth Wolf, Director of Programs for  NAMI California , Mike Lombardo of the Placer County Office of Education, and Monica Nepomuceno from the California Department of Education accept the award.
New Family & Peer Support Program  Starts In June

Would you like to help a family member or peer affected by mental illness but don't know how to get started? NAMI California invites family members and individuals from all walks of life to take part in the Family and Peer Support Specialist Program. A new session is starting in June.

The program consists of 70 hours of specialized training addressing various mental health topics: suicide prevention, recovery model, cultural competency, trauma informed services, motivational interviewing, triggers, etc. By the end of the program, you will be equipped with the necessary tools and support from your local NAMI affiliate to volunteer or secure a paid position within a wide range of behavioral positions.

For more information about the program, please contact Zuleima Flores at

BoardMeet The NAMI CA Board

Dr. Juan Garcia

Dr. Juan Garcia has been a member of the NAMI California Board Directors since 2012. "Dr. G" just retired last year after working as a professor at Fresno State for 29 years.

Dr. Garcia has long been dedicated to improving access to mental health care in diverse communities, which is often limited due to stigma and lack of outreach. He says NAMI's family-based approach is particularly important in many cultures. 

" NAMI has established itself as the premier approach to working with people with mental illness and their families," he says.
Dr. Garcia received his PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1985 and a MS in clinical-community psychology in 1982 from San Jose State University.  He worked for various mental health agencies in Santa Clara, Merced, and Fresno counties in the early 1980s. In 1987, he began his career teaching at CSU Fresno in Chicano-Latino Studies and was hired tenure track in the Department of Advanced Studies (now the Department of Counseling Education and Rehabilitation). He was licensed as a Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor in 1991. Since then he has was been Clinical Faculty at Fresno Family Counseling Center and was its Director from 1995-2008.  
Lately Dr. Garcia has been exploring spiritual issues as a student of Franciscan Alternative Orthodoxy in the Living School for Contemplation and Social Action at the Rohr Institute in the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He co-founded Integral Community Solutions Institute with Roger Palomino and Ricardo Vasquez. Currently, he directs a program to provide counseling to Victims of Human Trafficking. He has also supervised MFT trainees and registered Interns at various community agencies and ICSI.
Dr. Garcia was previously associated with the NAMI Fresno as a supporter since 1991. He has also served as a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board and the Alcohol and Drug Board since 1999 for Fresno County.  

Dr. Garcia says that the lives of people with mental illness are starting to change for the better, thanks in large part to Proposition 63 and the Mental Health Services Act. "I' ve been in this business 35 or 40 years as an educator  and a provider," he says. "And  I finally feel optimistic."

Originally from the San Jose area, Dr. Garcia lives with his wife, Josie Rangel, on a pecan tree farm in Clovis. They have  three daughters, all of them involved in the health care field, and have recently become grandparents.
AffiliatesAffiliate News
NAMIWalks Ventura County 2016

NAMIWalks Ventura County 2016

Check out this aerial video of NAMIWalks Ventura County! The walk was held April 30 on the scenic Ventura Beach Promenade and in downtown Ventura.

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!
DonateDonate to NAMI California


Let's Get Social!
What can we do better?
If you have something you'd like to see in the newsletter or want to send us a compliment, please send us an email to
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.