NAMI California Monthly Newsletter
April 2016
May Is Mental Health Month
We encourage Californians of all ages to support Mental Health Month and bring awareness to their communities in May. Here are some helpful tips and resources:
Advocacy tip sheet and May is Mental Health Month resolution:  NAMI California has provided a handy tip sheet for how to engage in local advocacy in support of May is Mental Health Month and a model resolution for local public officials to go on the record in support of mental health and a stigma-free community. 
Each Mind Matters May Is Mental Health Month resources and toolkit:  Each Mind Matters offers a toolkit to help plan May is Mental Health Month events in your community. Click here for more info
NAMI 2016 May Is Mental Health Month webpage:  NAMI has launched a webpage with a place to pledge your support to be stigma-free, plus resources and information on how to show your support for May is Mental Health Month. Click here for more info.
Whatever you choose to do for Mental Health Month please share your photos, stories and quotes with us!
Calling All Youth!

NAMI California is calling youth ages  14-25  to stand up to stigma and spread awareness of mental illness during Mental Health Month in May! 

Click on the link below for ideas on how you can participate in Mental Health Month in your community. All month long, share photos and posts of what you're doing on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using #NAMICAYouthVoices

On Youth Advocacy Day on  Tuesday, May 17, 2016, all posters using the  #NAMICAYouthVoices hashtag will be entered into a raffle to win a deluxe Each Mind Matters prize package (sweatshirt, T-shirt, and more). To be eligible for the prize, you must post on May 17 -- however, be sure to use the hashtag all month long in May!

Each Mind Matters is California's Mental Health Movement. We all have mental health, and o ur voices are amplified when we speak up together. Each Mind Matters grows stronger every day as millions of people and thousands of organizations are working to advance mental health!

Youth Advocacy Webinar

Join NAMI California and the California Psychological Association for a one-hour webinar at 5 pm May 3 or 4 pm May 4 where we will share what it means to be an advocate, the ins and outs of legislation, and why this matters in relation to mental health and mental illness. Please email Erik Villalobos at to register for the webinar.

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
Keynote Speaker
Father Greg Boyle
Founder, Homeboy Industries
Keynote Speaker
Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert
Schizophrenia Researcher
Guest Speaker
Major Sam Cochran
Crisis Intervention Expert
Conversation30 Second Survey

In our last 30 Second Survey, we asked about your experiences in a crisis situation with ambulance and fire department crews. Many reported positive experiences, but there were several strong exceptions. Survey respondents also offered their ideas for how crews can improve. Here is a sampling of the responses:

What has your experience been in a crisis situation with ambulance staff? Fire department crews?
  • "I actually had a great experience with ambulance staff. They were much more patient and understanding during the situation. They took the time to explain what was going on and why along with reassuring me constantly."
  • "Fire crew was uneducated in mental health. I had to educate them on my condition."
How could they improve the experience?
  • "Be calm, create boundaries for those who may be too distressed to have them."
  • "When transporting a person with mental illness for a medical issue, do not assume that the medical issue is psychosomatic."
  • "Remember we are humans, people. We live with this but we're not incompetent idiots from another planet."

This month's 30 Second Survey asks about your primary care physician's role in mental health care for you or your loved one.

Take this month's 30 Second Survey!
AdvocacyAdvocacy & Legislation
NAMI Smarts for Advocacy participants in Modesto

NAMI Smarts & Regional Meeting in Stanislaus County

Community members from Amador, San Joaquin, Sacramento and Stanislaus counties met in Modesto in April for a day of sharing lived experiences and exercising strategies to impact public policy.

During the regional meeting, staff members from Stanislaus Behavioral Health and Recovery Services shared valuable information on new MHSA programs, vital MHSA county services, and the MHSA process for stakeholder meetings in Stanislaus County.  

Staff also participated in a small group discussion about issues affecting mental health in their community. Participants cited several public mental health needs that are not being met, including services for co-occurring disorders, housing, timely access to psychiatrists, and more culturally relevant services.

Sharing our lived experiences directly with legislators and staff helps policy makers realize the importance of mental health. Everyone has a story to tell - however, it's important to know how to tell your story and whom to tell it to. NAMI Smarts trainings help peers feel more confident to share their stories with policy makers. For more information on NAMI Smarts, contact Marcel Harris  at .
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

Family-to-Family Training in Ontario
Basics Training in Ontario
Family-to-Family & Basics Trainings In Ontario

A Family to Family and a Basics training were held in Ontario in April.  One participant commented: "The class was great. I enjoyed the presenters. They made the material very interesting. Do I feel ready (to teach?)  Pretty close. This is where we just have to jump in the water and hope it's not too cold!" 
StaffMeet Your NAMI California Staff
Zuleima Flores

Zuleima Flores
Zuleima Flores joined NAMI California in March as the Community Engagement Coordinator. In this position, she coordinates training events, provides support and technical assistance to local NAMI Affiliates, and performs program evaluations.
Zuleima previously worked as External Affairs Chair for the Legal Education Association for Diversity (LEAD) and as a mentor for Freedom4Youth. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, she returned to her hometown of Stockton and took part in Motivation TV's Campaign for Change, helping coordinate community events aimed at giving individuals an opportunity to share their story on stage.
As a first-generation female college graduate from a working class family, Zuleima believes in the importance of helping people from all backgrounds find access to the resources they need to succeed. To this day, Zuleima holds in her heart the words her mother told her one day at the Tijuana border, "Tu Fuerte como un roble" -- which means "stay strong like an oak tree." Those words have taught Zuleima that words are powerful and can change people's perspectives towards life. She plans to take this message to each individual she meets and hopes they pass the message on to others.

Zuleima's hobbies include  learning cultural dances, writing and singing. She also loves  to travel to new cities and try foods from different parts of the world.
AffiliatesAffiliate News
Sofia Amezcua, center, with Ending the Silence presenters Nicole Williams and Rebecca Mejia from NAMI Sacramento.

NAMI Sacramento 
Presents  Ending The Silence  To 400 S tudents

High school student Sofia Amezcua has volunteered at the NAMI California annual conference for the last three years. When it came time for her to do her Senior Project, she decided to reach out to NAMI Sacramento to host an Ending the Silence presentation 
at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento.  Nicole Williams and Rebecca Mejia shared the presentation in April to over 400 hundred students.
Jeanne Nelson of NAMI El Dorado County (second from left) stands with grant recipients behind one of the mental health kiosks.

NAMI El Dorado County 
Receives Grant For Mental Health Kiosks

Thanks to the efforts of Jeanne and Alan Nelson, who cover the South Lake Tahoe area, NAMI El Dorado County received a grant from the Barton Foundation for five mental health kiosks. The kiosks will display NAMI brochures and other mental health information and will be placed in strategic locations throughout the community, including at the hospital and library.

Mental Health Fair  at Mayfair Seventh Day Adventist Day Church

NAMI San Joaquin County 
Participates in Mental Health Fair

Tasso and Gertie Kandris represented NAMI San Joaquin County at the first annual Mental Health Fair at Mayfair Seventh Day Adventist Day Church in Stockton in April. They handed out NAMI brochures in addition to informational materials about mental illness, and many church members expressed interested in NAMI's education and support programs. 

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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