June Meeting — Housing, Diversion, and Consolidation

One of the most frequent calls and inquiries to our NAMI South Bay Affiliate is about the availability of housing. Another frequent phone call is about persons with a mental illness being caught up in the criminal justice system. And of course a major area of interest is the effort of NAMI affiliates to have a more effective advocacy by consolidating.

The speaker for our June Monthly meeting will be Brittney Weissman, Executive Director of NAMI Los Angeles County. She will speak about recent efforts on improving the availability of board and cares, diversion of persons with a mental illness from the criminal justice system. and the need for us to advocate for some very promising efforts in these areas. Ms. Weissman spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday on our behalf on the issue of alternatives to incarceration.

Please come to our June 17 meeting at 7:30 and hear about these efforts and support the recommendations going the Board of Supervisors.

Both the Family Caring and Sharing Support Group for family members and Connections Support Group for persons with a mental illness will start at 6 PM and end at 7:15 PM.

Meeting Tonight – Special Report on Mental Health in the South Bay

Dennis Murata, Service Area 8 Chief of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (South Bay and Long Beach) and Jennifer Lamarque of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hahn’s Office will be presenting. Dennis Murata will be giving an update on the Department of Mental Health efforts. Jennifer Lamarque will present on Supervisor Hahn’s priorities regarding mental health. We are fortunate to have this pair of knowledgeable persons at our meeting to tell us about the state of mental health programs in the South Bay and the important initiatives of Supervisor Hahn regarding mental health. Supervisor Hahn has taken the leadership on several mental health issues. including the replacement of part of the central jail with mental health treatment facilities, has supported studies of number of hospital, and step down psychiatric beds. We will also learn how we can assist in improving the mental health system.

Please come to hear and provide comment on these presentations. We need to show our interest and support of mental health initiatives. As part of our mission to advocate for persons with a mental illness and their families we need to support efforts to improve the system and provide comment on issues where the system is not working well.

The Family Caring and Sharing Support Group for family members will start at 6 PM and the General Meeting will start at 7:30 PM. First Lutheran Church, 2900 Carson in Torrance.

February Meeting — Whole Person Care

The speaker for our meeting on February 25 is Ms. Diamond Lee, MSW. Ms. Lee is the Associate Director for Regional Collaboration on Whole Person Care for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

She will present information about the Whole Person Care Program. Whole Person Care Los Angeles (WPC-LA) is a program that brings together health and social service agencies to build an integrated system that delivers seamless, coordinated services to LA County’s most vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are high risk, high users of hospital and emergency departments, of which many are persons with a mental illness. Please join us and learn about this program. Even if does not directly affect your family right now, it will help the mental health system to be more effective and may help your family at some point in your journey.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group for family members will start at 6 PM and the General Meeting will start at 7:30 PM.

Meeting Tonight – Mental Health Services Act

The speaker for the January 2019 meeting tonight will Dr. Debbie Innes-Gomberg, presenting on the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). MHSA funds many of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health programs. She will be speaking about services, programs, and how the community provides input into the plans. Dr. Innes-Gomberg has a long history with the Department of Mental Health as a clinical psychologist, District Chief for the Long Beach/South Bay area, and the the Program Manager for the MHSA Implementation and Outcomes Division.

NAMI families helped to support the passage of Proposition 63 which funds the MHSA program. As stakeholders we need to provide input on its implementation. This presentation will be a great opportunity to ask questions about the programs and address concerns and needs in our area.

Holiday Potluck

Image: Pixabay | Larisa Koshkina

NAMI South Bay Holiday Potluck
6:30 PM, Monday, December 17
First Lutheran Church
2900 Carson in Torrance

Please come to our annual Happy Holidays Potluck. Bring the whole family and friends. It is a wonderful time to connect with others who share in the struggles and challenges of a mental illness, and learn about resources and recovery. Bring a dish to share for 8 to 10 people and if you can a white elephant gift for a raffle to add to the festive spirit.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group for family members will start at 5:30 PM and end at 6:30 PM.

Meeting Tonight – Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts

Our general meeting will be in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church. 2900 Carson Street, Torrance, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Our Family Support Group will meet at 6 p.m.in the room off of Faith Hall.

Our guests will be Karen Holt, an estate attorney presenting information on Special Needs Trusts, and Marc Ang, Financial Advisor, joining her to discuss ABLE accounts.

A special needs trust is a specialized trust that allows the disabled beneficiary to enjoy the use of property that is held in the trust for his or her benefit while at the same time allowing the beneficiary to receive essential needs-based government benefits. Ms. Holt will review the needs and issues regarding special needs trusts, government benefits and requirements. Because of the restrictions on how much income and assets a person can have while receiving government benefits the use and structure of a special needs trust is very important. The special needs trust can be a valuable tool for family members to consider supporting their loved one.

An ABLE account (Achieving a Better Life Experience) is a relatively new type of tax-advantaged savings account available in several states that an eligible individual can use to pay for qualified disability expenses. The eligible individual is the owner and designated beneficiary of the ABLE account.

October Meeting – Anxiety Disorders

At 7:30 PM Dr. Dorit Saberi will present on Anxiety Disorders continuing our series on the various types of mental illnesses.

Dr.Saberi is Co-Director of Training, Psychology Division in the School of Psychiatry at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. She will focus on general anxiety disorders and Obessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD). The percentage of persons in the United States with anxiety disorders is reported by the National Institute of Mental Health to be 19.1% and 31% of adults experience an anxiety disorder sometime in their lifetime. Also, anxiety disorders often co-occur with other mental illnesses. It will be a chance to ask her about anxiety disorders.

Dr. Saberi will also share information about the Families and Friends Program which uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

The meeting will be in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance, tonight, October 15, 2018.

Our Family Support Group will meet at 6 PM in the room off of Faith Hall.