General Meeting Monday November 16 — 4th District Mental Health Policies

Mr. Richard Espinosa, the Health Deputy for Supervisor Don Knabe of the County of Los Angeles Fourth District, will speak at the 7:30 p.m. General Meeting of NAMI South Bay. Mr. Espinosa reviews policy recommendations and serves as the 4th District’s liaison on health related matters regarding Los Angeles County. He will provide a review of the state of mental health issues and he will hear from the NAMI South Bay members of our concerns regarding mental health. This meeting is a great opportunity to become educated and to advocate on mental health issues.

Mr. Espinosa joined Supervisor Knabe’s staff after spending 17 years with the County Department of Health Services in a number of administrative capacities. He is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Southern California’s School of Public Administration. He is also the founder and one-time chairman of an interdepartmental task force responsible for creating the County’s Office of Small Business. On October 14, 1998 he was the recipient of the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Award.

First Lutheran ChurchThe general meeting will be preceded by the 6 p.m. Caring and Sharing Support Group–a support group for family members to discuss anything pertaining to the care, management or treatment of their loved ones, as well as the family members’ and caretakers’ own well being.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group and the Speaker Meeting will both be held in Faith Hall at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.

Parking is available in the parking lot off of Carson Street and on Carson Street and Flower Avenue.

A Time for Direct Advocacy

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors needs to know of all opposition to the recent motion to investigate the creation of a health agency in Los Angeles that would be comprised of the Departments. of Mental Health, Public Health and Heath Services.

NAMI LACC is part of the steering committee on a coalition to oppose the merger and instead propose an Office of Healthcare Enhancement, which would help the agencies work together on areas of overlapping missions. Over 130 agencies have signed the proposal so far. NAMI LACC has shared a coalition report with the Board of Supervisors and needs personal letters to make its case even stronger. A sample supporting letter could say, for example:

Honorable Board of Supervisors
500 West Temple Street
856 Hall of Administration
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: Support for An Alternative to a Proposed Health Agency for Los Angeles County

Dear Supervisors:

I am extremely concerned about the prospect of a proposed Health Agency for Los Angeles County, and believe that there is a better way to promote integrated care for the clients served by the County Departments of Health, Mental Health, and Public Health, while at the same time ensuring the public health of all of the residents of Los Angeles County.

The proposed Health Agency model would have the heads of the Departments of Health, Mental Health, and Public Health reporting to the head of the Health Agency, rather than directly to the Board of Supervisors. If the Director of the Department of Health were to be named the Health Agency Director, as is implied in the Draft Report, the Departments of Mental Health and Public Health would soon be the only two County Departments not run by elected officials whose heads would not be reporting directly to the Board of Supervisors. This model is unacceptable.

Instead, I strongly believe that Public Health and Mental Health should continue to have the same autonomy, voice, and presence in the County as the other County Departments in being able to report directly to the Board. At the same time, I support a model that would be consistent with the Board’s recent unanimous decision to go back to its old CAO governance structure, which retains departmental collaboration and interdepartmental communication while reducing bureaucracy.

Importantly, I believe that the key to better integrated client care is based on a collaborative, problem solving approach among the three departments, which does not require the creation of a new Health Agency. In fact, I believe that if the Board directed the three departments and the CEO’s Interim Office of Health Care Integration to come back in six months with a Strategic Plan for Integrated Care, the talented and committed leadership of the departments and the CEO’s office would certainly be able to successfully do so.

The Draft Report itself acknowledges the fact that there are currently outstanding models of integrated care that exist today. I believe that instead of focusing the County’s efforts on the creation of a new Health Agency, clients would be better served by the implementation of such a Strategic Plan, which would identify ways to best replicate these successful models while overcoming any current barriers.

With regard to public health, the County Department of Public Health has, since its independence, become a nationwide leader in the public health arena, producing outstanding outcomes in protecting the public health of the County’s more than 10 million residents. I believe that its growing scope of critically important responsibilities — with our County residents facing growing public health threats in the aftermath of 9/11, and with growing environmental threats and threats of new infectious diseases such as SARS and the pandemic flu — requires maximum visibility and attention outside the shadow of a new Health Agency.

Similarly, throughout the past several decades, the County Department of Mental Health has built an expansive model of community-based recovery oriented services that is the envy of other counties in this State, has organized a stakeholder process that is unmatched, and has found ways to maintain the key elements of its system amidst rising expectations from all age groups, all while making a big dent in reducing disparities and integrating cultural compentency into its culture and services. Like public health, mental health deserves to continue to stay outside the shadow of a new Health Agency.

Accordingly, I respectfully request that the Board of Supervisors support a collaborative, problem solving approach to better integrated client care which does not require the creation of a new Health Agency, while at the same time allowing for the continued autonomy of each of the three departments and ensuring that mental health and public health continue as equity partners which report directly to the Board.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Personalized (The letter is written for you–just add the date and your name), it could be sent by email to:, with a cc If inclined, you could modify and/or add your personal story.

Urgent Alert for Mental Health in Los Angeles County

Please raise your voice to oppose the consolidation of the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health, Health Services and Public Health.

Supervisor Antonovich is proposing to consolidate the three health agencies (Dept. of Mental Health, Dept. of Public Health, and Dept. of Health Services) in LA County into one agency. This will be heard at the Supervisor’s meeting on next Tuesday, 1/13/15). NAMI Los Angeles County Council is opposed to the consolidation of the health agencies for the following reasons:

  1. It is critical that the Department of Mental Health maintain direct accountability and communication with the Board of Supervisors and not through another entity.
  2. Consolidating these various health-related departments will make it more difficult to bring attention and funding to mental health concerns. Mental health may not be priority #1 in a new health agency, whereas it is of upmost concern to the current Department of Mental Health. Mental health is the leading form of disability and that element is always lost in the shuffle due to stigma and lack of attention in society.
  3. At the state level, California has attempted to consolidate the Department of Mental Health with Health Services — and years later — they continue to work out the operations and policies. This consolidation of health agencies in Los Angeles will create unnecessary confusion and obfuscation of mental health concerns and issues. This will create operational issues that will invariably decease resources aimed at recovery and wellness for individuals living with mental illness.
  4. The new agency may hire or maintain employees who do not necessarily have expertise about mental health and illness. Or, the new agency may opt to maintain employees with less experience and background in mental health than others. These measures may decrease the ability to make informed decisions about mental health issues at the proposed agency.
  5. We are making some progress on mental health issues via the current Department of Mental Health, which may be halted by consolidation efforts.
  6. The Board of Supervisors should consider stakeholder input in this tremendous decision.

In essence: Our county needs a greater focus on mental health, not less. This is what the state has done and it has not been a smooth transition. Delivery of services requires focus and attention to detail. Burying mental health in an even larger bureaucracy  will reduce focus, not improve it.

We encourage you to contact your Supervisors’ offices to make your voice heard on this matter. Please see the Letter to board of Supervisors 1-9-2015 from Brittney Weissman the Executive Director of the NAMI Los Angeles County Council.   For more information please see the article in the Los Angeles Time. The proposed motion can be accessed on the BOS Agenda.

Please call your district supervisor and let them know how you feel before 1/13/15.  For most of NAMI South Bay Supervisor Don Knabe or Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is your supervisor.  Please connect to their links below to verify and raise your voice.

First District

Hilda L. Solis (213) 974-4111

Second District
Mark Ridley-Thomas (213) 974-2222
Third District (westside)

Sheila Kuehl (213) 974-3333

Fourth District
Don Knabe (213) 974-4444
Fifth District
Michael D. Antonovich (213)974-5555

Los Angeles Asian American & Pacific Islander Giving Circle Call for Proposals

FROM LA API Giving Circle:

We invite nonprofit organizations deeply rooted in the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AA/PI) Community to submit a proposal to this round of grantmaking for the Los Angeles Asian American and Pacific Islander Giving Circle.

Founded in 2007, the Giving Circle is made up of a group of community-minded friends who pool together our resources to support projects and organizations in Los Angeles County that are engaged in socially-innovative, grassroots ideas.

The Giving Circle’s grantmaking goal is to invest in community-based organizations engaged in progressive change work that serve AA/PI communities; we encourage organizations that may not have access to mainstream foundation funding due to their size or the nature of their program to apply.

Application Deadline: 

Friday, January 6, 2015, midnight – email to

Grant Announcements:       

February 2015

Grant Awards:

  • Unrestricted grants of up to $3000 will be awarded
  • The Giving Circle may, at its sole discretion, award smaller grants

Eligibility Requirements

  • 501(c)3 organizations (or groups with an eligible 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor)
  • Total annual operating budget of $100,000 or less
  • Organizations that are AA/PI led and/or provide direct services to the AA/PI community
  • Serve Los Angeles County

 Past recipients include:

  • Chinese Progressive Association – San Gabriel Valley
  • W. Lee Center for Leadership
  • Thai Health and Information Services, Inc.
  • Tongan Community Service Center
  • Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress for Summer Activist Training
  • California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
  • Sessions LA
  • Filipino Migrant Center
  • Konnichiwa Little Tokyo
  • YNOT Foundation
  • Kizuna
  • Center for Asian-American Wellness
  • The Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (KCF)
  • The Korean American Senior Citizens Association of San Fernando Valley
  • The Pacific Islanders Education and Retention project (PIER)
  • PFLAG – San Gabriel Valley Asian Pacific Islander
  • Korea Academy for Educators
  • Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
  • Barangay Los Angeles

We do not fund membership associations, chambers of commerce or film projects. Organizations that have received funding from the LA AA/PI Giving Circle in the past are ineligible to apply.

For questions, please email

NAMI South Bay to Participate in NAMI L.A. County 2014 Walk

Please plan on join your NAMI South Bay friends and NAMI Affiliates from across Los Angeles County for the Walk on Saturday, October 11 at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles.   Helps us fight stigma, raise awareness and raise funds for the many programs offered free to the community and have a good time with family and friends at the new location of the Walk at the Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles.

You can walk the whole route with many iconic Los Angeles’ sites such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, walk a shorter route or just enjoy Grand Park.

Please consider starting your own team or walk with one of the existing teams with more teams forming.  Existing teams at this time are:
Paul Stansbury
Modesta Pulido
Breanna Rankin
Lindsay Pinkham
Veronica Masenga
Takako Agusstson
Francesca JeanMarie
Nancy Stansbury

Form your own team at and let me know so it can be listed here. If you needs assistance starting a team, please feel free to contact Paul Stansbury at

Homeless in the Valley get Needed Help

A view of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angel...

A view of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California, from Brand Park in Glendale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 54,000 people were counted as homeless in Los Angeles County this year, an 18% increase compared with the last survey 2011, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. About 15% of the county’s homeless are from the San Fernando Valley, which also has an increase, especially among families.

To help the homeless, Zev Yaroslavsky (LA County Supervisor) championed Project 50 in 2010, an initiative to identify Skid Row’s 50 most vulnerable and chronically homeless families, and get them housing, medical care, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment so they can live off the streets. Didi Hirsh is an extension of Project 50, the President and Chief Executive Officer, Kita S. Curry, said the new wing at Project 50 will help 60 women with children for six months at a time. Curry said that “People who are homeless will likely succeed if they have a home first.”

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