We Need Your Help.

1 in 4 Americans are affected by mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Mental Illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings each year.

These numbers need to change.


We are calling on Congress to take action on mental health right now. Join with thousands of others today, September 4th, to bring national attention to the need for comprehensive mental health legislation.

Reach out to your member of Congress. Tell them how important mental health is to you.

Tweet. Email. Call. Get their attention. Tell them that this can’t wait.

#Act4MentalHealth with every message throughout the day so we can grow the movement and get our issue trending.

Add your voice to the conversation and join NAMI in telling Congress to #Act4MentalHealth.

Directing Change Program: PSA Submission Deadline is February 1, 2015

Last Year’s Ceremony

The Directing Change Student Video program is a statewide competition where high school and UC students take action against suicide and end the stigma of mental illness by creating 60-second public service announcements. Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students.  The submission deadline for the 2014-2015 school year is February 1st, 2015. Visit www.directingchange.org for more details.

A total of 432 films, representing 996 students from 112 high schools and 9 University of California campus locations and 31 counties, were received during the 2013-2014 school year.  DVDs of the 2013-2014 finalists are available upon request while supplies last.  For more details, contact Lauren Hee at Lauren@namica.org or 916-567-0163.  All PSAs are also available for download at www.directingchange.org.

Please watch for all NAMI California education programs trainings for fiscal year 2014-2015 to be posted soon in this Weekly News Report

See also Family Programs blog for updates, news etc.http://namifamily.blogspot.com 

Send inquiries to:

NAMI California Office:  916-567-0163 

Miles for Mental Health

Setting a goal to get in shape for the summer? Or just like to stay active and go hiking, bike riding or walking?

Do you want to do all that and raise awareness for mental health and support NAMI at the same time?

To provide individuals who want to engage in social networks in support of their fitness goals while raising awareness and funds for NAMI, NAMI has partnered with Geared for Good to launch a new fitness/fundraising campaign: Miles for Mental Health.

Just launched in recognition of May as Mental Health Month and continuing through mid-October, following Mental Illness Awareness Week, you can join this online community, get the word out, encourage your efforts and connect with your family and friends, giving them the opportunity to make an online donation to support your efforts on behalf of NAMI.

Many people affected by mental illness have told us that fundraising gives them a sense of empowerment. By fighting back to counter the ignorance and stereotypes that remain barriers for so many, you are also raising much needed awareness.
Join us in racking up fitness miles while fundraising to help us build better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Our goal: A collective 100,000 miles and $100,000. It’s a long way to go, but we can do it, with your support!

Joining only takes a few moments, and there’s no obligation and no minimum fundraising amount. Any activity you do that can be measured or estimated in miles counts toward our goal. Walk, run, bike, swim, indoor cycle, dance, you name it—it’s your choice!

Joining is easy:

  1. Go to the campaign website at GearedforGood.com/nami and Click the “Join Campaign” button.
  2. Set your distance and fundraising goals—use your sports tracker to register progress or enter your information manually.
  3. Use the tools available on the site, including email templates and pictures and badges, to invite your friends and family to donate in support of NAMI and your efforts.
Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And off you go! If you use a GPS sports tracker while your exercise (e.g., Garmin, RunKeeper), you can easily import your data with the click of a button.

Join individually, start or join a team, and invite others to participate alongside you from anywhere in the world. And, as an option, you can use your Facebook and Twitter feeds to automatically promote your progress to your social media network, gain encouragement from your friends and make fundraising easy.

We are proud to announce that a portion of all proceeds will be allocated to fund on-the-ground, innovative grassroots awareness activities through a mini-grant partnership with NAMI State Organizations.  And as an added bonus, NAMI will feature the top 5 fundraisers in the NAMI Advocate magazine and/or NAMINow, our monthly digital publication.

So what are you waiting for!?  Please join us or donate to Miles for Mental Health today! Have questions or need more information on NAMI, Geared for Good, or the Miles for Mental Health Campaign? Email us at NAMI_Miles@gearedforgood.com.

Sonoma County MST & NAMI!

By Lauren Peterson, NAMI Sonoma County

I am Lauren Petersen from NAMI Sonoma County. In our coun ty, NAMI is fortunate to partner with a group of dedicated professionals to deliver a very remarkable crisis resource that works.  It is called our Mobile Support Team, or MST.

After many requests and strong public support, the County of Sonoma’s Behavioral Health Division partnered with police departments and sheriff’s organization to form the Mobile Support Team. And NAMI is part of it! This team, made up of licensed mental health clinicians and certified substance abuse specialists, provides field-based support to law enforcement. This means that when law enforcement encounters a mental health crisis, or even a situation that might have evolved from mental health challenges, they can call MST to the scene for help in making the right assessments and coming to the best outcome for everyone involved.

There’s something else about MST that distinguishes it from all other similar programs… peer and family support! In my work as a NAMI staff member, part of my job is as the Family Support role with the Mobile Support Team. After MST meets a family out in the field, I will follow up with them and provide a direct link to NAMI’s family programs as well as any other resource they might need as they takes steps away from this crisis.

That family can know that I understand what they are going through, as I am a family member of someone with mental health issues and an individual with a couple mental health diagnoses myself. I continue MST’s goals of promoting safety and emotional stability, minimizing negative outcomes, helping community members obtain sufficient support and treatment, and prevent overly intrusive intervention.

But I can also help fill in the gaps. At NAMI, we all know that family members are often the first to recognize the signs of a disorder and the first to offer support, but also the first to feel “in the dark”.  By referring folks over, MST gives families the benefit of finding out right away that they are not alone, they can find support, and they can find answers. It’s my honor to continue working with this fantastic team and providing that direct link for families. And recently, I was so proud to present a NAMI presentation beside an individual whose family I met through MST, while she talked about her lived experience with mental health!

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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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NAMI Interview of Halle Berry about Frankie & Alice

By Katrina Gay, National Director of Communications, and Courtney Reyers, Director of Publishing, NAMI

In her latest film, Frankie & Alice, Academy Award-winner Halle Berry plays a ’70s-era go-go dancer with dissociative identity disorder (DID) [formerly known as “multiple personality disorder”] named Frankie—a black woman with two alternative identities: a scared, 7-year-old little girl named Genius and a white, bigoted Southern belle named Alice. With the care and support of a dedicated psychiatrist, Frankie is able to progress on a recovery journey that saves her and helps her reclaim her life.

The film is set to premiere in select theaters on April 4, 2014. NAMI recently talked with Ms. Berry about her role, the film and her commitment to the project.

Why was this project important to you?
Aside from the role being desirable as an actor—the opportunity to embrace a challenging, complex role—it was important to me because the film helps put light into a dark space. People who live with mental illness often struggle. Others often look down on them or have negative opinions of them. Hopefully, this film will do some good. I am happy that the film is being released in theaters and, eventually, DVD, and hope that it promotes the importance of compassion for others, that it helps to educate the public. In playing Frankie Murdoch, based on the true story of her life, as I grew to understand the condition of DID, and as I acted through Frankie’s struggle, I grew as a human being. I would like to inspire that with this film.

English: Actress Halle Berry at the 83rd Acade...

English: Actress Halle Berry at the 83rd Academy Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You play a character that lives with DID. How did you prepare for this role?
Initially, it was through meeting the real woman that the story is modeled after, Frankie. She was my greatest source of information and inspiration; I wanted to protect her and her story. I wanted to understand and portray her stories of frustration and fear. I felt responsible for making sure that these stories were addressed in the movie. I also did basic reading on DID and mental illness—but most of my understanding and inspiration came from Frankie’s life and her story; the personal story is the best source. And finally, Dr. Oz, her doctor, had transcripts as well that spoke to his feelings. I was able to secure some videotapes of health care providers who have worked with and helped people with DID in their recovery. Watching these was very beneficial to helping me ensure that we were incorporating the medical side of the condition into the film, too.

For the rest of the interview, CLICK HERE to visit the NAMI National Site.

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NAMI Looks Ahead to 35 Years in 2014

by Courtney Reyers, NAMI Director of Publishing

Next year marks NAMI’s 35th anniversary. Recent years have seen landmark changes in health care reform, something NAMI has steadfastly worked toward throughout its history.

In 2013, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion—which are still underway— were important steps forward for individuals and families affected by mental illness. But there are many more areas of growth and success that can be noted as we step into 2014.

NAMI’s signature education program, NAMI Family-to-Family, was officially declared an evidence-based practice this year, putting a seal of approval on what tens of thousands of families already knew: F2F really helps in learning to understand and cope with mental illness. NAMI also offers other education and support programs; the newest ones are NAMI Ending the Silence and NAMI Homefront, both launched since Nov. 20.

Another area of tremendous growth has been NAMI On Campus. Onset of mental illness often occurs in a person’s teens or twenties. Early intervention requires education and awareness as well as communities with resources to provide support to young people in need.

Throughout 2013, NAMI also has been engaged in the National Dialogue on Mental Health that flowed from the Sandy Hook tragedy approximately a year ago. It has included fighting for a broad agenda of initiatives. It also has included efforts to eliminate stigma and building new partnerships.

One outlet that fosters a great sense of community and inspires hope is NAMI’s story-sharing hub,You Are Not Alone. NAMI members and friends tell us regularly that the personal stories they read submitted by others who have experienced mental illness have helped them immensely. (Please feel free to share your own story if you would like!).

NAMI also offers a national, toll-free HelpLine, 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264) which fields more than 2,000 calls and sends out more than 100 packets of information and brochures each month. It is a critical service, staffed by trained volunteers, for individuals and families seeking information about mental illness and the mental health care system.

NAMI works every day to save lives. From battling stigma to addressing cultural disparities to reaching out to youth and advocating with policymakers, NAMI is there, fighting for and alongside the millions of Americans who face mental illness in their daily lives.

For all the progress made in 2013, we know the fight will continue. We also know we depend on the support of NAMI members, friends and readers to sustain our work. Thank you for your continued help. We look forward to working with you throughout the New Year, as part of a community dedicated to hope and recovery.