NAMI Urban Los Angeles May 1 Meeting–African American Issues regarding Treatment

GetMapOntson Placide, MA, LMFT, will speak on African American Issues regarding Treatment; historical barriers, current barriers, treatment recommendations this coming Thursday May 1, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 4305 Degnan Blvd., Suite 104 in Los Angeles.

Ontson Placide has an extensive career spanning over 27 years experience in both the Mental Health and Social Services field including; program development, administrative systems development, financial and quality assurance development. Currently he is the Administrator for Star View Children and Family Services Wraparound and Non Profit Programs. He is also responsible for other non-profit programs, including High Risk High Need which serves Juvenile Probation youth in the community, and Family Preservation Services, & Up Front Assessment program serving Child Welfare referred families to prevent possible detainment, and lastly the Department of Mental Health’s Intensive Field Capable Clinical Services which works to mitigate safety risks of youth falling in and out of the foster care system.

Previously he was the Director, and Clinical Director for the City of Long Beach, Center for Families and Youth of which over the years he was administratively and clinically responsible for several social service programs operating within the City of Long Beach. Since 1990, Mr. Placide has also continued his clinical, training, and consulting practice specializing with adolescents and families. He has also worked extensively with adolescents and their families in settings ranging from locked psychiatric facilities to group home and outpatient programs. Mr. Placide received his Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1987 and a Masters Degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology in 1989 at Pepperdine University. He has been licensed in the State of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 1992.

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Get Involved for Mental Health Matters Day–May 13, 2014

Mental Health Matters Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness about mental illness and showing that mental health is important to everyone.

The dynamic speaking program will feature a keynote address from Senate pro tem Darrell Steinberg, inspiring words from pioneers of the mental health movement and new perspectives on eliminating stigma from youth leaders.

The day’s events will consist of an Each Mind Matters walk on Capitol Mall, ending at Raley Field where the Sacramento River Cats will play the Mental Health Matters High School Day baseball game. The entire day’s events will wrap up with the Directing Change Award Ceremony described above. Mental Health Matters Day attendees will also enjoy interactive exhibits, live entertainment and food!

When:  May 13th, 2014
Time:   10:30am- 12:30pm
Where: South Lawn, Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA
Cost:    Free

For more information on Mental Health Matters Day email, visit the website, or telephone, 916-389-2625.

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Antidepressants Have Positive Effect on both Positive and Negative Stimuli

Antidepressant medicines, combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may produce optimal therapeutic effect, according to  Yina Ma, Ph.D., a research scientist at Johns Hopkins’ Lieber Institute for Brain Development. In Molecular Psychiatry she reports: “Antidepressants act to normalize abnormal neural responses in depressed patients by increasing brain activity to positive stimuli and decreasing activity to negative stimuli in the emotional network and [by] increasing engagement of the regulatory mechanisms in” the key region in mediating the regulation of both positive and negative emotions, she explained.

Although both antidepressant and cognitive-behavioral treatments:

“Affect emotion-related and prefrontal circuits to a similar end state of normalized emotional network and prefrontal activity, the mechanisms by which each treatment acts may differ. Although it has been proposed that CBT targets prefrontal function as it focuses on increasing inhibitory executive control, the current findings raise the possibility that antidepressants may act more directly on the emotional network. Taken together, a combination of an early antidepressant medication and follow-up CBT may therefore result in a better therapeutic effect, a possibility that needs to be directly addressed in future research.”

English: 2D structure of antidepressant nefazodone

English: 2D structure of antidepressant nefazodone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To read more about how antidepressants work in the brain, see the Psychiatric Newsarticles, “What Is the Link Between SSRIs and Fear Extinction?” and “Study Uncovers More Clues About Antidepressants’ Action.” 


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SB 1054-Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Program, To Be Heard April 22nd

Senate Bill 1054 (Steinberg), will renew funding for the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction (MIOCR) Grant Program at $50 million, divided evenly between adult and juvenile populations. The grants are used to create diversion, reentry, and training programs for individuals living with mental illness who are criminal justice involved. In the past, MIOCR grants were used to establish mental health courts, among other productive uses.

The bill will be heard on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in the Senate Public Safety Committee, State Capitol Room 3191. This is one of NAMI California’s Tier 1 bills, meaning it’s one of our highest priority pieces of legislation. NAMI California and the Capitol Coalition will be delivering testimony at the hearing.

Please see NAMI California’s support letter HERE.

Bill Summary: Would require the Board of State and Community Corrections to administer and award mentally ill offender crime reduction grants on a competitive basis to counties that expand or establish a continuum of swift, certain, and graduated responses to reduce crime and criminal justice costs related to mentally ill offenders. This bill would appropriate $50,000,000 from the Recidivism Reduction Fund in the 2014-15 fiscal year for the mentally ill offender crime reduction grant program, and require that half of that amount be used for adult offenders and half for juvenile offenders.

— Caliph Assagai, J.D.
Legislation and Public Policy Director, NAMI California

–David Czarnecki
Advocacy Coordinator, NAMI California

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Mental Health Parity — Meeting Topic for April 21 General Meeting

James Preis, Executive Director, and Nancy Shea, Senior Attorney, of Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS) will speak at our regular monthly meeting (Monday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 2900 Carson in Torrance) about mental health parity in insurance. Mental health parity is a critical issue. It is the recognition of mental health conditions as equivalents to physical illnesses. Under mental health parity laws, insurance companies will not be able to limit or treat differently benefits for mental health treatment.

The Affordable Care Act potentially affects benefits of health care insurance for persons with a mental illness. You don’t want to miss this meeting.

MHAS is a private, non-profit organization established in 1977 to provide free legal services to people with mental and developmental disabilities. MHAS is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the Mental Health Association in California. MHAS assists both children and adults, with an emphasis on obtaining WebBannerScaledgovernment benefits and services, protecting rights, and fighting discrimination. MHAS also serves as a resource to the community by providing training and technical assistance to attorneys, mental health professionals, consumer and family member groups, and other advocates. In addition, MHAS participates in impact litigation in an effort to improve the lives of people with mental and developmental disabilities. Our families have benefited greatly from their education and advocacy efforts on SSI and look forward to their support in ensuring there is mental health parity in insurance programs.

A Caring & Sharing support group for family members will be held in the Fireside Room at 6:30 p.m. before the general meeting.

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Special Torrance Appearance by Ron Coleman of Working to Recover Regarding Hearing Voices

Ron Coleman 4Ron Coleman made a special appearance last week to discuss his experience with hearing voices and the Hearing Voices Network, a group of organizations worldwide joined by shared goals and values, incorporating a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences.

Ron Coleman is a Director of Working to Recovery, Ltd., an innovative mental health training, consultancy & publishing business. He is also a director of the Hearing Voices Network USA’s online recovery training Ron Coleman 2& practice site. At his special appearance for NAMI South Bay he described his training sessions and training packages to enable voice hearers to overcome the negative cultural stigma against the voice hearing experience. His own route to recovery, after spending 13 years in and out of the psychiatric system came from being a founder, member, and then national coordinator of the then UK hearing voices movement. He described some of his many insights into the difficult issues facing today’s mental health services, and his desire to help others gain autonomy and respect.

Presently, the goals of the Hearing Voices Network USA Include:

Ron Coleman 5Raising awareness about voice hearing, visions and other unusual or extreme experiences

Supporting anyone who has had these experiences by providing opportunities to talk about them freely and without judgment amongst peers

Supporting anyone who has had these experiences to explore, understand, learn and grow from them in their own way

Supporting individuals providing treatment, family, friends and the general community to broaden their understanding and ability to support individuals who have had these experiences

Below is an interview of Ron Coleman and his wife, Karen Taylor, discussing Working to Recovery and the Hearing Voices Network.

Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor are presently on a tour with the following scheduled dates remaining. NAMI South Bay appreciates and thanks them for agreeing to add last week’s presentation to their very busy schedule.


  • Working with Voices: An Introduction to the Hearing Voices Approach on April 15th from 9am to 4pm in Eagleville, Pennsylvania (Open ONLY to people in the local county. Click HERE for more details.
  • A Conversation with Ron Coleman & Karen Taylor on Wednesday, April 16th from 7pm to 9pm @ Montgomery County Community College, Science Center, Room 214 (Auditorium), Pottstown, Click HERE for more details.
  • A Voice Dialogue Workshop (Accepting, Liberating and Sharing the Voice Hearing Experience) on April 23rd from 10am to 4pm @ The Association for Research and Enlightenment of New York, 241 West 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), 2nd Floor. Click HERE for details.



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Take a Stand with Halle Berry and NAMI


NAMI shapes the way America understands mental illness. We turn stigma into understanding and despair into hope. It takes courage to stand up and thousands to speak out.

Help shed light on mental illness. See Halle Berry’s interview with NAMI HERE.

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