For 2017 Beach Cities Support Group Meets on the Last Monday of the Month

As of January 2017, the Beach Cities Support Group meets on the last Monday of the month at Baycities Southbay Church at 4915 Emerald Street in Torrance (on the corner of Victor and Emerald). Meetings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Early Youth Intervention Helps Children at High Risk of Mental Illness

Group of child in urban street

The Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School encourages a wide array of supports that could help reduce the likelihood of developing schizophrenia in children at high familial risk, according to the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. The article, written by Cindy Liu, Ph.D., and colleagues, says that often children born to parents with schizophrenia exhibit subtle but visible signs that can predict later development of psychoses. The signs can include neuromotor problems, minor physical anomalies, cognitive difficulties, antisocial behavior, and problems with speech, language, or hearing.

Of course, these things are not determinative. Many things, including childhood adversity and life stress also may contribute to risk. Still, focusing on high-familial-risk children “may be the most practical strategy for early intervention at this time,” Liu concludes, recommending interventions that might include enhancing parental skills, increasing social support, applying psychotherapy for parents, prenatal care for women with psychoses, and ensuring access to important psychiatric, social, educational, and legal resources.

More research is needed to know which interventions are most effective in terms of function and cost.

Early Bird Special Savings! 2015 Annual State Conference

Register now for big savings! Early Bird registration ends soon!

Friday and Saturday
August 21 – 22, 2015
Newport Beach, CA

Click here to take advantage of the lowest rates for the conference.


The Workshops will feature:

Transitional Aged Youth (T.A.Y.) Workshops will focus on strategies and best practices for educators, early identification and intervention, and reducing stigma and discrimination for ages 18-24.

Criminal Justice. Workshops will focus on strategies around incorporating and partnering with the law enforcement, the Justice system, and other criminal justice sectors.

Strengthening NAMI. Workshops will focus on best practices in Board development, organizational financial management, and expanding access to NAMI education programs through technology.

Consumer and Family Engagement/Recovery Practices. Workshops will focus on strengthening our voice as a unified organization of lived experiences, increase visibility and impact, and promote mental health wellness and recovery.

Advocacy. Workshops will focus on new and innovative ways to advocate, current policies and their impact on all levels (local, state and nation wide), and training tools to effectively utilize grassroots advocacy efforts.

Diversity. Workshops will be focused on strength-based approaches and best practices to engage diverse communities, increase access to programs and services, and reduce the stigma and discrimination among diverse populations.

Hotel information

The Marriott Hotel and Spa is located directly across from Fashion Island and only 10 minutes from the John Wayne Airport. CLICK HERE for special rates of $169, plus tax per night. To receive this discounted rate you must make your reservation by August 5th or call (877) 622-3056 to speak with reservations.

cfd0c7dd-8a24-48fb-a51d-842544bc1d32Marriott Newport Beach Hotel and Spa
900 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, California 92660

California Mental Health Prevention Effort Is Showing Positive Early Results

RAND Corporation News Release: An effort to improve mental health prevention and early intervention in California is showing positive early results for programs targeted at reducing stigma and discrimination, educating the public about suicide prevention and improving the mental health of students, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

The study evaluates social media marketing campaigns, training efforts and other statewide prevention and early intervention activities undertaken as a result of Proposition 63, which imposed a tax on high income California residents to expand mental health service.

Nicole Eberhart is a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a licensed clinical psychologist.

“Although still in the early stages, we found evidence that the statewide prevention efforts were launched successfully and are beginning to make a difference toward reducing stigma and empowering people to prevent mental health problems,” said Nicole Eberhart, co-leader of the project and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

California voters approved Proposition 63 (the Mental Health Services Act) in 2004. Under the initiative, significant new funding was dedicated to providing intensive mental health treatment at the community level for individuals with serious mental health challenges.

The law, enacted in January 2005, also set aside 20 percent of the revenue raised annually for counties to provide prevention and early intervention services, with the goal of connecting individuals with services before symptoms set in, or early in the course of a mental health challenge.

In addition to local programs, California counties are working together through the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) to deliver statewide prevention and early intervention services. Goals of the program are to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, prevent suicides, and improve the mental health of students in K-12 schools and colleges across the state. These statewide interventions are being evaluated by RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

“CalMHSA is proud to show California that our state’s leadership in innovative mental health prevention strategies are delivering positive results for communities,” said Wayne Clark, CalMHSA executive director. “By empowering Californians to stop suicide, changing attitudes about mental health, and equipping educational systems to meet the mental health needs of students, we are creating a state where each mind matters.”

RAND researchers have evaluated a variety of activities:

  • Education efforts were aimed at reducing stigma among middle school students. The evaluation found that students who attended the “Walk in Our Shoes” presentations expressed less stigmatizing attitudes, were more willing to interact with fellow students with a mental health problem and had more positive emotional responses to a hypothetical student with a mental health problem.
  • A social media campaign titled “Know the Signs” was designed to empower Californian residents to prevent suicide. Those who viewed the campaign were more confident in intervening with those at risk of suicide, more comfortable discussing suicide, more aware of the warning signs, and felt they had greater skills and knowledge on intervening with or referring someone at risk to help.
  • Trainings about mental health issues were delivered to a diverse group of school staff, teachers and students statewide. Those who participated in the trainings reported greater confidence to intervene with students in distress, greater confidence to refer students to mental health resources, and a greater likelihood to intervene or refer students in distress.

Researchers say the goal of prevention and early intervention is to strengthen resilience in the community by teaching people how to help each other and how to assist vulnerable individuals, including those with newly experienced mental health problems, to access treatment at an early stage to prevent long-term suffering and lifetime consequences for themselves and their families in areas like education, work and relationships.

Audrey Burnam is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation.

“Often the most meaningful effects of prevention and early intervention programs cannot be detected immediately, so it will be important to continue to track public attitudes and knowledge regarding mental health, as well as impacts in reducing the negative consequences of mental health problems, over a longer period of time,” said M. Audrey Burnam, a RAND senior behavioral scientist and co-leader of the project.

The study was sponsored by the California Mental Health Services Authority and conducted independently by RAND. The report, “Evaluation of California’s Statewide Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Programs: Summary of Key Year 2 Findings,” can be found at Other RAND reports about the California mental health prevention and early intervention program are available at

Other authors of the report are Sandra H. Berry, Rebecca L. Collins,Patricia A. Ebener, Rajeev Ramchand, Bradley D. Stein of RAND and Michelle W. Woodbridge of SRI International.

RAND Health is the nation’s largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.

About the RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.

Crowd Funding Movie Project: Her

Her is about seventeen-year-old Kristen who loves her family, idealizes her best friend, Lexus, and has a secret crush on John. However normal her life sounds, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She feels frustrated, isolated, and confused and knows something is wrong with her. She is unable to please her abrasive mother and is scared to confront her abusive stepfather. Kristen’s imaginary friend, Mr. Sharp encourages her feelings of self-loathing and pushes her to cut herself. Soon, she can’t take much more, and a failed suicide attempt lands her in a mental hospital with a diagnosis of BPD. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She struggles to understand her mental illness and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: self-blame.

The crowd-funding page for this book-to-movie project is at THIS HATCHFUND LINK.

“I know, first-hand, that a diagnosis like this can be a turning point in a young person’s life. One out of every four people struggles with mental illness – stop and think and you’ll discover that you probably know someone who is going through that right NOW.  Yes, mental illness is the dark secret so many live with. Now you can help change this.

The Project’s Goal:

To change the perception of mental illness  To provide hope to those who seek help Help those suffering from mental illness, and their, families cope. We can make a difference by showing teens that they are not alone on this journey and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to lend a helping hand out of suffering, so that suicide will never be a viable option again.

Early Intervention Can Reduce Later Psychiatric Problems for At-Risk Children

FROM PSYCHIATRIC NEWS ALERT: Early and sustained intervention of children with conduct problems can lower the chances that those problems will extend into adulthood, reports a new study published in AJP in Advance titled “Impact of Early Intervention on Psychopathology, Crime, and Well-Being at Age 25.”

Known as Fast Track, this project enrolled kindergarteners who displayed aggressive or disruptive behaviors into a multi-component, 10-year, manualized program aimed at instilling social competencies that would extend throughout their lifetimes

“through social skills training, parent behavior-management training with home visiting, peer coaching, reading tutoring, and classroom social-emotional curricula,”

the researchers noted. The program took place in four communities: Durham, N.C., Nashville, Seattle, and rural Pennsylvania. A similar set of at-risk children receiving only the standard interventions in their community were followed as a control group.

There has not been much evidence showing that behavioral improvements in children translate into adulthood, but so far, the Fast Track study seems to suggests that such an intervention can have an impact, finding that while 69% of the adults in the control group displaying at least one psychiatric problem at age 25, only 59% of Fast Track participants displayed a psychiatric problem at the same age. Fast Track participants also displayed decreased rates of substance abuse crimes, violent crimes, and risky sexual behavior compared with controls, as well as higher levels of happiness and well-being.

“This shows that we can go a full eight years after last seeing these children and still see reductions in the rates of problem outcomes for this group as young adults,”

said study author Kenneth Dodge, Ph.D., director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

The improvements in behavior were consistent among each of the 13 subgroups assessed (including those defined by gender, ethnicity, study site, etc.), demonstrating that this approach has potential for a wide range of children and risk levels.

To read about a promising early-intervention effort with children in Australia, known as Headspace, see the Psychiatric News article “Australian Youth Get a ‘Soft Entry’ Into Mental Health System.”

Less Recidivism Found in Offenders Processed Through Mental Health Court

From Psychiatric News Alert: Offenders who participated in a mental health court program recorded significantly better recidivism outcomes compared to matched control defendants in the traditional criminal court system, according to Joye Anestis, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, and co-author Joyce Carbonell, Ph.D., director of women’s studies at Florida State University in Tallahasee.

The study published online in Psychiatric Services in Advance compared two groups of 198 criminal offenders with mental illnesses. Overall, the mental health group had a lower occurrence of rearrest, a longer time to reoffending, and had fewer rearrests. Severity of the rearrest offense did not differ between the two groups, however.

A within-subject analysis of mental health court offenders found that those charged with misdemeanors had a higher occurrence of rearrest than those charged with felonies, but the two groups did not differ on odds of arrest or time to rearrest. Also, violent and nonviolent offenders showed no difference in recidivism outcomes, said Anestis and Carbonell.

The results may suggest that keeping mentally ill offenders out of jail and in community treatment may have positive effects on recidivism, as may the increased attention and supervision they receive, said the authors.

“Future research would benefit from a focus on the mechanisms of change in [mental health courts] and on identifying characteristics of individuals who respond best to participation in [them],” they concluded.

For more in Psychiatric News about mental health diversion options, see: “Judges, Psychiatrists Confer on Handling Mental Illness inJustice System.”

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