Community News
Increasing Access to Mental Health Care
Improving Services, Supports, and Community Knowledge
Dear NAMI Families and Friends ,

1 in 5 are currently living with any mental illness and at least 7,500 or 4% of El Dorado County alone are living with serious mental illness.

Our all volunteer affiliate has provided service contact to 700+ in 2018. Every month I look forward to reading the H&HS BH monthly report. . Notice that there is just 1 person in the entire county in the county's Assisted Outpatient Treatment program and just 4 jail MH diversion in SLT and 2 on the Western Slope.

Alpine County does not have MH diversion court but do receive mental health assessments by El Dorado County MH when taken to Barton hospital. Linkages and awareness about services that exist is a fantastic low-hanging-fruit opportunity in the complex loosely knit community network for which we are grateful.

Understanding how to navigate a broken system is essential and we recognize the enormous extra burden this places on individuals and families. We remain steadfast in our support, education, and advocacy. Most are still unaware to ask for help; to ask for an assessment; to request a case manager prior to discharge from the PHF, or get an appointment with an outpatient psychiatrist again prior to discharge or to get help initiating disability process or Medi-cal initiation process (prior to discharge).
My own loved one was recently released from a private in-patient hospital. That hospital's discharge process strives to ensure 3 things minimum (best practice)
  • outpatient psychiatrist appointment scheduled/confirmed to occur within 7 days post discharge from in-patient
  • outpatient counseling appointment scheduled/confirmed to occur within 7 days post discharge from in-patient
  • appointment with Primary Care Physican scheduled/confirmed to occur within 7 days from in-patient. Some insurance providers are now looking for this as part of hospital discharge process. Yay. This is the type of "linkages" that help prevent relapse. Sometimes appointments may be scheduled 10 days out due to availability but the point is there is a measurable system of care process upstream.
  • A family meeting with the patient's counselor may be requested prior to discharge!

We have increased our pool of skilled volunteers as demand continues to increase and will be publishing our affiliate's 2019 Strategic Plan to our website in February. Thank you volunteers! We need more Family-to-Family instructors in South Lake Tahoe and Placerville and therefore are offering a NAMI train-the educator course this summer in SLT.

  • Thank you Dr. Matthew Wong for the compassionate article discussing homelessness below.
  • Thank you NAMI pal L.R. for shedding light on the search for board and cares.
  • Thank you Bridey Heidel from STHS for including NAMI in your excellent "Welcoming Schools LGBT+ youth/family" awareness training - most of these materials are free to teachers/public: Did you know that ALLY is featured in Ch 7 of this incredible reference called "Read This, Save Lives" by Sameer Jha for educators working to provide safe spaces for LGBT+ youth?

GREAT NEWS: We are seeing improvements in the availability of psychiatrists locally. The Placerville/Cameron Park area has had a 3-fold increase in psychiatrists. The wait time for tele-health psychiatrist in South Lake Tahoe has greatly improved to just 2.5 weeks. El Dorado County MH has hired a new psychiatrist who will work at the PHF, Dr. John Motl.Thank you!

Jail transformation and improved linkages to services are obviously crucial and so is our community's understanding of cutting edge research. We can improve recovery and avoid escalations to crisis level situations. Check out the hopeful research shared by and

We are delighted some of you will be attending the NAMI convention in Seattle with us on June 19-22, 2019. Check out Governor Newsome's budge t with greater recognition of mental health spending needs.

On behalf of our entire board of directors and our skilled and totally awesome volunteers and members let us each be the change we want to see in the world.

Jeanne Nelson and Fred Hjerpe
Pronouns She/her/hers and He/him/his respectively
President and Co-President
NAMI El Dorado County
Warm-line: 530-306-4101 (M-Th 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; leave message)

What to say when calling 9-1-1  
for a Mental Health Emergency: click here

 Mental Illness Arrests? Learn what you can do here .

Mental Health Kiosks locations

Homelessness Services: here

Grievance Filing Tips/Links :

Communication Tips :

Psycho-Education is Core to Recovery: Recommended Reading

Which Way to Compliance? Ask about Long-lasting injectables

Spanish language resources are here

Genetics, Genetics, Genetics: Do you really know your family history? family-tree

Community Health Directory is on-line an d our county has where data illustrates health by zip code, age, etc.

I n-Home-Support Services; Disability Benefit Information; and Legal Assistance: click here

Board & Cares - Adult Residential Facilities: how to find them


Family Support Groups designed for family members and/or caregivers/friends supporting a loved one living with a mental health condition. 

Monthly Family Support Groups:
  • Placerville: 1st Tuesday monthly starts 7 p.m.
  • South Lake Tahoe: 2nd Tuesday monthly starts 6 p.m.

Click here for logistics/details.

Warm-lines that offer non-judgmental experienced support to members of the community that want support, education or advocacy. M-Th 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - leave a message and your call will be returned if you get voicemail.

These are confidential volunteer warm-lines - not crisis lines.


SPANISH: 775-407-0306  
Beautiful winter art by the Art group facilitated by Jan Melnicoe and other volunteers at the EDC Wellness Center in Diamond Springs. One of many free support groups available to the public.
Dr Matthew Wong discusses Homelessness
"Dr. Matt" MA., Psy.D.- South Lake Tahoe; Dr. Matt is a Clinical Psychologist in South Lake Tahoe, CA. “Dr. Matt specializes in therapy, assessment, and consultation. He helps children, adolescents, adults and families” 

Sometimes there are topics in our lives and in our community that feel so big and difficult to solve that we throw our hands up because they feel hopeless to change. Hopelessness is an interesting topic to us mental health folks. This feeling is usually a reflection of how other people feel both about these situations and within them. As South Lake resident, I hear the coffee-shop conversations about the homelessness “problem.” Often the conversations reflect the hopelessness that many of us feel to some extent. I ride my bike behind Motel 6, I see the effects of homelessness first hand, and I know I’ve felt hopeless myself. Sometimes in the face of hopelessness we get angry, we blame, and we chastise because we don’t know what else to do. Sometimes we go even a step further and we dehumanize through name-calling and even fear-mongering. We use terms like “bum” or “drunk” or worse still to draw a dividing line between “them” and “us”. I work hard and I am able to have stable housing so naturally it would be easy for me to assume that the equation is just this simple. If I didn’t have stable housing it must be because I didn’t work hard enough or I simply made poor choices.

What we forget is that the choices that feel easy for some of us to make are actually incredibly difficult for others to make. We forget this because we don’t see the hidden battles that others face and rationalizing is a shortcut that leads to nowhere on this problem.

But let’s say we continue to rationalize in this way. What does that get us? How does this help us fix a clear problem in our community? Is someone supposed to accept their title of “bum” and therefore pick themselves up in the way we expect them to? More likely, this expectation makes things worse and frustrates us all. We are social creatures and we flourish when we feel accepted within a community and only then can we begin to accomplish difficult tasks. When we are cast aside, we feel pain and we get stuck. These diving words are painful for all involved and I think we can do better.

I’d like to propose that we begin to solve the problem of homelessness by 

read full article here
Psychiatrists and Educational events are available:
  • Cameron Park: 2 outpatient psychiatrists available
  1. - Dr. Charles Eubanks (530) 677-4405); cash only and you can file for reimbursement w/your insurance company;
  2. Dr. Ernest affiliated w/Marshall Hospital Psychiatry.(530) 672-7000
  • Shingle Springs: 1 and soon 2 outpatient Psychiatrist(s) available Shingle Springs Health & Wellness and full array of outpatients services.
  • South Lake Tahoe: Dr. Protell and Dr. Rupp, child/teen psychiatrists and adult Telehealth psychiatry  (775) 589-8946 at Barton; 1 adult psychiatrist being recruited asap plus tele-health psychiatry with wait time of less than 2.5 weeks as of this publication. Don't miss Dr. Protell and Dr Rupp's free seminars on ADHD (March 19) and Body Image Issues (May 21)
  • Some private clinical psychologists such as Dr. Matt Wong have additional referral options to more tele-psychiatrists.
  • Barton and Marshall psychiatry often have personal lists of additional potential psychiatry options out of area. Have private insurance? Contact your insurance provider and hold them accountable to fund out of network psychiatric options when wait times or access is not available locally.
  • A Balanced Life provides teen Mindfulness and Resiliency / DBT at South Tahoe Middle School and adult DBT at their site.

  • Over 15 Mental Health Kiosk locations available:

  • MH educational events in South Lake Tahoe organized by FKCE: excellent line up of monthly presenters: details here

  • El Dorado County Behavioral Health: In-person psychiatrist and tele-health options.

  • Has your loved one been in/out of hospitals and/or jail? Mental Health AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment) access form: read more here. Find form here.

  • NAMI Family-to-Family begins Feb 6 in El Dorado Hills: waitlist Contact Victoria at vicrad@pacbell.netor 916-952-7325 to register 
  • Legal Seminar March 8. with Hillary Hansen, JD (Legal Services of Northern CA; non-profit law firm): Friday 8-Mar 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lake Tahoe Community College: Details here
  • NAMI presentation: Recognizing MH Concerns and Navigating Care: Tues, Apr 30: 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Lake Tahoe Community College: Room A-206 Jeanne Nelson: Details here:
  • NAMI Family-to-Family train-the-educator training is scheduled for July 19, 20 and 21 in South Lake Tahoe. We ask that you have completed a NAMI education program prior to taking this instructor program (contact Completion will qualify you to teach NAMI Family-to-Family and help us with other volunteer activities. 6 seats remain available.
Co mmon reasons to secure an attorney for you or your loved one:

Ensure access to services:
Health plans both private pay and public health plans are challenged to assure  timely access to care given shrinking availability of providers.

Hold Medi-Cal accountable for services needed and deserved.

Hold Counties accountable for services needed and deserved (but perhaps not on their menu of what they provide or perhaps criteria to service you is too stringent or being subjectively mis-used.)

Need a case manager or social worker or routine treatment and are not getting access in spite of serious effort...perhaps serious issues with existing policy is in the way...

Is your long-acting injectable anti-psychotic medication not on the jail's formulator list? Missing an injection or changing meds can cause psychosis. Is your loved one getting prompt in-patient hospital treatment when this occurs?

Hold landlords / property managers accountable (e.g. illegal eviction; pressure/force to move out.
Hold employers accountable: Forcing you out; hostile environment; lack of accommodations, etc.
Financial Management:
Need financial conservatorship and want a 3rd party to control your loved ones finances.

And so much more....
Need help obtaining a restraining order; need help setting up a special needs trust; need help filing a disability appeal or new claim.
Free Legal Seminar in South Lake Tahoe

March 8: noon until 1:30 p.m.sponsored by Legal Services of Northern CA and NAMI El Dorado County

Hillary Hansen, JD , will provide an overview of the mental health system and how legal advocacy can remove barriers to accessing treatment and supports. Hillary Hansen is a Staff Attorney at Legal Services of Northern California, a non-profit law firm that provides free legal services to residents of El Dorado County and the surrounding area. Details are here. Very limited seating.


ADVOCATE FOR YOUR LOVED ONE Study suggests Cannabis compound can make schizophrenia medication less effective : article is here : Advice for Parents on Early Signs of Schizophrenia : article is here "

BBRF Webinar  Early Detection and Prevention of Psychotic Disorders: ready for "prime time?"
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

BBRF Webinar -  The Biology of Addiction
Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Multi-decade Study Found Childhood Trauma Exposure Common; Raising Health Risks as Adults: read study here

Public Television Series Healthy Minds with Dr. Borenstein nominated for Emmy: read more here

Do your Research and learn your family pre-disposition
Don’t rely on anecdotal experiences from friends ill trained in mental illness identification and treatment.

Help avoid psychosis relapse - do scientific research. Neuroscientists estimate as many as 25% cases of schizophrenia are linked to cannabis use (mostly heavy users but some casual where predisposition to serious mental illness is a factor.). If you have any predisposition to schizophrenia, BP1, or other mental illnesses understand the risks - yes even with very very low 1-5% level THC products. Those saying "your loved one was re-hospitalized because they were taking the wrong strain or the wrong type ..." These words are ignorant, misleading and hurtful.

Because our society is flooded with cannabis-industry-marketing and far less flooded with neuroscience discoveries -- we urge everyone to learn more about neuroscience and understand your family's genetic predisposition to mental illness.

Our hearts go out to the hundreds that have have expressed in tears to us "why didn't anyone tell us the risks - we had no idea" as they join the circle of NAMI family peer support for serious mental illness and learn how to manage lifelong schizophrenia recovery/relapse process.

New Yorker - Jan 2019:

WSJ - Jan 2019:

New York Times - Jan 2019: - Jan 2019:
  • Marijuana and Psychosis article is here

USA Today - Jan 2019:
  • Mental Illness in the Family Raises Marijuana Risks: Parents please talk with your teens. article is here

Psych Congress Network:
  • Schizophrenia Risk May Predict Cannabis Use: read article here

BBRF Webinar  Early Detection and Prevention of Psychotic Disorders: ready for "prime time?"
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

BBRF Webinar -  The Biology of Addiction
Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

BBRF Webinar -  Circadian Rhythms and BiPolar Disorder
Tuesday, Apr 9, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Treatment Plan Collaboration
Feb 7, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 

Replay these fascinating webinars on ADDICTION:

The National Institute of Mental Health is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders.

Transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.

Learn more about such hopeful research at

  • Innovative and promising schizophrenia research combines expertise in stem cell biology and neurobiology...creating a technique to reprogram skin cells in which the cells will redevelop as neurons and neural progenitor cells. This may lead to earlier diagnosis and more individualized treatments.
  • Mood disorder research focused on identifying the shared biological factors underlying the links between bipolar disorder and cardiovascular disease. Goal is to find answers that drive the illness and to find new and better clinical treatments.
  • Outstanding achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric research developed technologies and methods for the detection of Autism during the first year of part by eye-tracking software which can detect changes in children's visual patters as early as six months of age.
One of the greatest opportunities for education is attending an annual national NAMI Convention - this year on the west coast in Seattle!

NAMI California's annual state-wide conference May 31-June 1 in Newport Beach - celebrating 40 years of NAMI CA.
NAMI Priorities in 2019

Promote Innovation
NAMI believes innovation is vital to reduce disparities.
We’re fighting for:
  • Integration of mental health and primary care to provide holistic treatment
  • Telehealth services that increase access
  • Research that improves our knowledge base
  • Financing models that sustain effective, patient-centered care
Improve Care
NAMI believes improving mental health care is critical to achieve better outcomes.
We’re fighting for:
  • Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis so that young people can experience recovery
  • Expanded coverage with patient protections and parity in Medicaid, Medicare and commercial health insurance
  • Mental health care for veterans so our service members get the help they need and deserve
  • Increased use of mental health outcome measures to hold providers accountable
Support Recovery
NAMI believes supporting recovery is fundamental to reduce injustices.
We’re fighting for:
  • Supported housing that helps people get back on their feet and engaged in treatment
  • Peer support services that help people know that recovery is possible
  • Crisis response models that provide help, not handcuffs
NAMI California's Advocacy

Want to know latest bills proposed and their status? Click here
CIT Training Statistics:
El Dorado County

California has a unique approach to CIT Training and Program Development. We have diverse communities in each county. Due to the varying populations and size of the 58 counties in California CACITA is making an effort to standardize a system of training to accommodate these specific county needs. NAMI CA is supporting this standardized endeavor and you will notice an option to donate to NAMI CA (SB 1363 signed) on your state tax form. The $ donated are intended to provide standardized and higher quality CIT training.

A recent survey by CACITA was done finding that about 1/2 of the counties in CA that responded (22+ counties) are using the high quality 40-hour Memphis model of CIT training. Some use an 8 to 16 or 24 hour overview or introduction to CIT. We hope that all will offer to attend a 40 hour training as it evolves and expands throughout the state.

For 3 years our affiliate has requested quarterly CIT metrics reported within the monthly H&HS report which goes to the Behavioral Health Commission. We know it isn't H&HS responsibility to collect such data...but no one is doing this today across county agencies. Thank you Jamie S, H&HS (and Troy M Sheriff's dept) for coordinating the most current Sheriff data provided. Even seeing individual departmental data quarterly is useful. Transparency is vital.

Would it not be wonderful to see data trends on CIT training broken down by perhaps West Slope / East Slope
  • Jail staff
  • Probation
  • all other Officers/Deputies
by level of training (e.g. 8 hr, 16 hr, 24 hr, and full Memphis model)? The problem with the incomplete data we have received is that it doesn't reflect whether the training was 8 hours, 16 hours etc...and we are hearing very concerning family interactions which would not otherwise be occurring if the level of training was optimum.

Families should not be told "we cannot accept or do not want your AB 14-24" while also being told "it isn't a crime to be mentally ill and they seem fine to me"

[ and yet rather than being taken for a psychiatric assessment and in-patient hospital we are seeing too many going directly to jail often for months before finally being sent for assessment. We are seeing too many cases of MH assessments resulting in subjective release which then cycle into incarceration or life-threatening psychotic behaviors hours later. This is a nation-wide issue but there are ways we can do better.

These are the Sheriff's office percentages of CIT trained staff. In 2017 we received stats from SLT PD indicating 100% completed some form of CIT training.

Sworn deputy sheriff's / detectives / sergeants / lieutenants / Captains - all sworn staff 77.6% 
Correctional officer II 94.7% 
Correctional sergeant 100%
Correctional officer I - 29.6% - these are new hires / newer employees that we have not had a chance to train yet.

The basic sheriff's academy has a section of training designated to CIT.

The lack of data by agency or across the county on even a quarterly basis is in itself a key indicator.

NAMI instructor/outreach volunteers needed!
Contact .

Family-to-Family Educator training: July 19, 20, 21 (in South Lake Tahoe and prefer candidates that have already completed the 32 hour evidence-based program as a pre-requisite .)
Attention Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice system workers caring for a loved one with mental illness:

We will appreciate your participation at our Board meetings and/or joining our Board of Directors.

"The collective challenge for all stakeholders is to help transform toxic penal environments into true recovery opportunities. In this endeavour, there may be much to borrow from the way in which some secure forensic hospitals have blended care and custodial drivers to promote the recovery of this most vulnerable part of our community." World Psychiatry "MH Care and Treatment in Prisons: A New Paradigm Shift"

El Dorado County Jail system, contracted to CFMG, is not classified as a forensic system whereby treatment , psychotherapy, rigorous attention to medication management and medication tuning are a key service.

Because we do not have transparent reports as to how many inmates go in with a specific prescription and how many then ultimately are given an alternative medication we do not have good management decision making data.
We have heard from long-time jail staff that they feel strained and a new jail commander is in place. We are hearing an increase in random cell tossing and disposal of inmate papers (some county-funded papers received during anger management or parenting class tossed.) This is an obvious un-wellness trigger on inmates with serious mental illness. Because jails are not designed to "treat" serious mental illness angst increases to families that have worked so hard to help their loved ones find treatment. By the way, we appreciate these few and rare counseling class programs inside the EDC jail setting. Please understand we acknowledge the challenges any jail commander faces particularly in a climate where a cultural shift to jail transformation is more than just a hot topic in the media.

NAMI El Dorado County is seeking greater utilization of jail diversion with an emphasis on treatment (and measurable results of treatment); measured treatment within the jail ; and a reporting from the county systems to help work towards measurable improvements. To those on the inside (inmates, staff, contractors) and to many county leaders - we thank you for recognizing we can and will do better!).

We learned in late January that the jail intake correction officers are shredding a brief jail mental health screen. Standard best practice is electronic storage of these AND filing them into an inmate's medical file. Data analysis and trending are essential. BH Commission has expressed the same and County Board of Supervisors are being asked to play their position in governing. This sort of planning and implementation of data analysis, electronic storage, reporting should be within the Stepping Up Initiative. We fail to understand how the sheriff's office could report this as being "implemented" without these crucial steps also being done.

Feb 1, 2019 update

The last Steering Committee meeting was in Sep, 2019. The January Steering Committee canceled.

A federal grant and county funding was awarded for this initiative approximately last August / early Sep of a combined $352,000.

Frustrations are high by families caring for a seriously mentally ill loved one. Last May we were told this was going to be a renewed focus area and we would leapfrog forward because we will ensure sponsorship.

Still lacking in a plan, agendas/minutes and issue tracking.

This initiative is limited purely to SteppingUp scope (not jail reform and county reform as a whole.).
However, we did agree as a steering committee to track issues as a whole onto a parking lot. Next step from the Sep meeting was to secure a project manager.


BOS Directive since January 2016.

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Learn about what you can do to create a welcoming environment in your home, workplace, school, and community: Thank you Bridey, ALLY leader and English Department head at South Tahoe HS for raising awareness. Visit Welcoming School's website:
NAMI El Dorado County

Board Meetings:
Are open to the public - we meet every other month on the 1st Tuesday of the month. (Our 2-Feb board meeting is preceded by annual Strategic Planning - location will be 3rd floor Conf room of Shingle Springs Health & Wellness starting approximately 3 p.m.)

Date: 2-Apr-2019
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Conference Room C at the County Offices on Fairview Lane, Placerville

We are considering hosting a June 4, 2019 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. board meeting in South Lake Tahoe - open to the public. Anyone have free space available for about 15 people? No equipment needed. Email
Want to volunteer with us? Click here to see our many volunteer opportunities.
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