NAMI California Monthly Newsletter
November 2015
ConversationIn Conversation

Thanks for Your Feedback!  

Thank you for your responses to our last 30 Second Survey! Here's a summary of what you told us about your experiences with health care coverage and access to treatment for you or your family member.

All of the people who participated in our survey reported they had health care coverage.  While a few survey respondents reported positive experiences with accessing mental health treatment under their current coverage, most have encountered issues, including:
  • Difficulty finding psychiatrists and therapists covered under their insurance plan
  • Limited options for therapy
  • Taking too long to receive help
A sampling of the quotes you shared with us:
  • "They attempt to fit the client into their menu of services instead of creating a menu of services based on client needs."
  • "We are experiencing the revolving door syndrome since July and lack of beds."
This month's survey asks you to share any experiences you have had with Mental Health Courts.  Click here to take this month's 30 Second Survey!

NAMI Programs Show Significant Impact 
on Stigma Reduction

A new RAND report shows that three NAMI programs significantly reduce the stigma of mental illness. The RAND evaluation, conducted through the CalMHSA grant, measured the stigma reduction of In Our Own Voice, Parents & Teachers as Allies and Provider Education. 

Over the past two years, evaluations using RAND's materials have been administered in 150 presentations, reaching 2,700 individuals.   NAMI California is very proud of these programs and our affiliates for their tireless efforts in the evaluation process. 

Click here to view the report on the RAND website.
AdvocacyAdvocacy & Legislation

A Year in Review: Mental Health at the State Capitol

2015 was a busy year for mental health policy in California. NAMI California was active in Sacramento, ensuring that the family and consumer voice was heard.  Most notably, California will now have a statewide minimum standard for law enforcement training related to mental illness.  We are grateful to all our affiliates and members for your tireless advocacy in your communities and at the Capitol!  Click here for our legislative recap.

BoardGet to Know Your Board of Directors
 Gustavo Loera

Gustavo Loera, Ed.D., has earned recognition within California, and respect for his work is extending to national audiences. His work and research focuses on three key areas: advancing community- and school-defined solutions to reduce health and behavioral health disparities; promoting equity and access in urban education through career technical education; and developing and implementing a culturally and linguistically competent healthcare model for underserved communities.
For 17 years, Dr. Loera's program design and research development work has influenced organizations like Mental Health America of Los Angeles, where workforce development is now an integral part of its mission and strategic planning. His research and consultation have impacted health science career education in California. 

Dr. Loera's innovative work includes developing the Human Services Academy model for the Los Angeles Unified School District to interest young people in helping professions and designing a high school and community college pipeline model. The core of his work is a conviction that all individuals deserve opportunities for full participation in community life.

StaffStaff Corner
  Marcel Harris

Marcel Harris became NAMI California's Statewide Organizer in October. His background in community health initiatives has prepared him well to help our affiliates on legislation and advocacy initiatives.

Marcel graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's degree in health education. After college, he joined the Youth Leadership Institute, where  he mobilized young people to advocate for food justice and healthy communities. One of his favorite experiences was teaching high school students to cook and enjoy healthy foods - even kale smoothies.

Although he considered becoming a pediatrician, Marcel was drawn to the public health field because he wanted to have a wider impact. "Ì want to be in the community talking to people," he says. "That's where my passion is." As the Statewide Organizer, he is looking forward to helping NAMI California members across the state make their voices heard on mental health policy at the Capitol.

Like so many of us, Marcel has been touched by mental illness in his family. One of his siblings has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and an uncle died by suicide. Marcel has seen firsthand how stigma, lack of knowledge and limited treatment options can prevent people from getting the help they need.

Marcel grew up in Santa Barbara as the oldest of 12 children. He enjoys cooking and cycling, and currently bikes 20 miles to the NAMI California office every day.

NAMI Coverage4Care Survey
Do you or a loved one struggle to get the mental health care you need? Do you have insurance that covers the costs of your care? Take NAMI's Coverage4Care survey and tell us about your experiences.
The survey takes about 20 minutes, and your answers will help us advocate for better care and coverage for you and your loved ones. It doesn't matter what type insurance you have, or whether you have insurance at all. We want to hear from you.  Spread the word. Share this survey with your family and friends. Post links to your Facebook and Twitter.

The survey closes on Monday, December 14, 2015 at 8 p.m. Pacific Time. For more information see Thank you for your help.
AffiliatesFrom Our Affiliates

NAMI Stanislaus: 
Behavioral Health CIT Family Panel

For nine years, four NAMI Stanislaus members have been sharing their experiences to help law enforcement officers better understand and interact with people with mental illness.

Sharon Smith, Joyce Plis, Lynn Padlo and Jack Waldorf serve on a family panel as part of the Stanislaus Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Team training. The course, given twice a year, trains about 20 police officers from Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Patterson and the county sheriff's department, as well as 911 operators. The family and consumer panel takes a half day of the week-long training.

Officers learn that mental illness may affect a person's actions, and that some individuals may exhibit a lack of insight, grandiose ideas, delusions or hallucinations. Participants report that the training has changed their outlook on mental illness and that they now take more time to assess the situation when encountering someone in crisis.

"We speak as family members about our loved one's life, explaining some of the traumas we go through," said Lynn Padlo, Director of NAMI Stanislaus. "We also tell about an experience with law enforcement, if it applies, and usually we have had positive experiences. The main thing is for officers to see how mental illness affects our families a nd individuals who experience mental illness."
NAMI Ventura County recently awarded 24 volunteers with the President's Volunteer Service Award.

NAMI Ventura County:
 President's Volunteer Service Awards
NAMI Ventura County recently awarded 24 volunteers with the President's Volunteer Service Award, a prestigious national honor offered in recognition of volunteer commitment. 

Established in 2003, the award is given by the President of the United States and honors individuals, families and groups who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service.  To qualify, the recipient must have volunteered for a certified organization at least 100 hours in a 12-month period. 
NAMI Ventura County volunteers gave over 9,000 hours of their valuable time over the previous year, working diligently to meet the needs of the community by teaching Family to Family classes, facilitating support groups, answering Helpline calls, making the NAMIWalk happen, and much more.
The volunteers were presented with the award at an elegant evening event where over 100 NAMI volunteers and their guests were honored. Volunteers received the official President's Volunteer Service Award pin, a certificate of achievement, a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama, and the gratitude of NAMI Ventura County.
NAMI Alameda County South: 
Mentor on Discharge
NAMI Alameda County South's peer mentor program, Mentor on Discharge, is showing tremendous success in reducing patient re-hospitalizations. The program matches trained peers to patients in acute care psychiatric hospitals, creating a seamless connection from the hospital to the community.
Peer mentors complete Well Beyond Recovery's 40-hour  Art of Facilitating Self Determination workshop and are introduced to a patient before discharge - a condition that sets Mentor on Discharge apart from other mentor programs. Mentors stay in contact with their designated patients to support them in their recovery.

A 2011-2012 MHSA Innovations Grant awarded to John George Psychiatric Hospital yielded extraordinary results.  More than 70 percent of patients paired with a mentor avoided re-hospitalization, and of the 30 percent who were re-hospitalized, the length of time between re-hospitalizations increased from two to six months . Since the original grant, NAMI Alameda County South has observed similar or better results with the MoD program.
Mentor on Discharge is currently in place in John George Psychiatric Hospital and Telecare Heritage Hospital in Alameda County, supported for the last three years by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Grants. NAMI San Francisco and NAMI Santa Clara have recently begun implementing Mentor on Discharge in their areas.

For details on the history of the Mentor on Discharge program,  click here.

espNAMI California En Español
Los Grupos de Apoyo para Familiares de NAMI se ofrecen en las filiales de NAMI en todo el país. Son grupos libres, confidenciales y seguros para ayudar a las familias que viven con problemas de salud mental. En los Grupos de Apoyo para Familiares de NAMI, las familias se ayudan los unos a otros usando sus experiencias y lo que han aprendido de cómo lidiar con las enfermedades mentales.
Opiniones de los Participantes
"El Grupo de Apoyo para Familiares de NAMI realmente funciona y hace aún 
mejor  la experiencia del grupo."
"Antes de llegar al grupo de apoyo nunca habíamos hablado sobre las enfermedades mentales con los vecinos, amigos y ni siquiera con nuestros parientes."
Para obtener más información sobre los Grupos de Apoyo para Familiares de NAMI, 
póngase en contacto con su filial local.

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