NAMI Homefront–New Education Program for Military/Veteran Families

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is launching a new program to provide education and support to families of Military Service Members and Veterans affected by major mental health conditions.

NAMI Homefront” is based on the evidence-based NAMI Family-to-Family education program, which has been used in recent years at U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health facilities.

NAMI Homefront adapts the NAMI Family-to-Family curriculum to the unique needs of military and veterans’ communities, such as post-deployment and post-discharge transitions.

“When one person in a family is living with a mental health problem, the entire family is challenged,” said NAMI Executive Director Michael Fitzpatrick. “Families of Service Members and Veterans are not immune, particularly in the case of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

“NAMI Homefront’s mission is to provide education for managing conditions, provide support and to help break down the stigma of seeking help.”

In early 2014, NAMI will begin to implement the new program in six states. The free course is comprised of six peer-led sessions of instruction. Trained teachers in the program have family members who themselves are Service Members or Veterans and live with mental illness.

In a second phase, NAMI will offer a free online option nationwide.

The new program will become one of ten NAMI signature education and support programs.

NAMI Homefront is being funded by grants from the Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) Foundation, Cigna Foundation, Janssen Research and Development, Inc., Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS) and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

NAMI California 2014 Conference Super Early Bird Registration

Looking for a thoughtful holiday gift, answer to a New Year’s resolution, or just like to get things over and done with? NAMI California has opened Super Early Bird registration for the conference just in time for the holidays.

The conference will be held at the Newport Beach Hotel and Spa, August 1 and 2, 2014. 

Pack your sandals! Remember: Super Early Bird registration adds up to super savings on the conference registration fees.

Ending the Silence of Mental Illness in High School

From NAMI blog

By Colleen Duewel, NAMI Director of Education

I am delighted to announce that NAMI has added NAMI Ending the Silence as a signature education program.NAMI Ending the Silence is an in-school presentation about mental health designed for high school students. Students can learn about mental illness directly from the family members and individuals living with mental illness themselves.

Although only a short, 50 minute presentation, NAMI Ending the Silence is effective at raising awareness, encouraging early identification and intervention and giving a human face to mental illness. By providing a realistic view of recovery and starting a dialog with the students, this program removes the fear and mystery that is often the result of the silence surrounding what can feel like a scary topic.

The goal of this program is to create a generation of students that are well-positioned to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness through education, support and advocacy. In NAMI Ending the Silence, presenters are trained to “share” as opposed to “teach” the material. The tone set with this attitude is critical. Presenters talk to the students, not at them. They make eye contact with the individual students, chat with them upon entering the classroom and hang around after class is over to visit briefly. As a result, students realize that NAMI Ending the Silence presenters really care about them.

In the presentation, students learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, recovery and coping strategies, how to help friends, how to reduce stigma and other important topics that can help spread awareness and knowledge of mental illness.

For the rest of this article, visit NAMI blog.

Anti-Stigma Arts Network Project

NAMI California is involved in the special CalMHSA Anti-Stigma Arts Network Project. The Arts Network Project is designed to promote anti-stigma and discrimination messages regarding mental illness through various forms of art (including: visual, performing, decorative, written, spoken, etc.). The goal of the project is to promote a better understanding of stigma and recovery, while advocating the use of creative expression as a healing tool.

The project includes three In Our Own Voice (IOOV) Presenter Trainings.  IOOV is one of NAMI’s Signature Programs, which offers insight into the recovery possible for people living with mental illness. An IOOV presentation is delivered by two trained speakers sharing their personal stories of living with a mental illness and their journey to wellness and recovery.

The first presenter training for this project is scheduled for November 23-24, 2013 in Campbell, CA. NAMI California is currently seeking, to participate in the training, individuals (18 years and older) with experience in using creative expression as a tool to maintaining wellness and recovery. The training is absolutely free. Meals will be provided and/or costs will be reimbursed for all attendees. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered for eligible participants.

The advantages of becoming an IOOV presenter include:

  • Providing encouragement and hope to individuals and/or family members experiencing the effects of mental illness
  • Helping to inspire and motivate others
  • Developing and/or enhancing leadership and public speaking skills
  • Networking opportunities
  • A paid a stipend for each presentation given

If you or someone that you know might be interested in participating in this upcoming training, please contact Veronica J. Delgado, Community Engagement Coordinator or (916) 567-0163 to request an application.

NAMIWalks Raises Money and Awareness for Mental Health

Saturday, October 5, 2013, people across the nation walked to raise public awareness and end the stigma associated with mental illness. NAMIWalks is an annual event attended by members and supporters of the NAMI affiliates across the country. The event drew strong attendance again this year as the message that mental illness is something families can deal with, that recovery is possible and that awareness and understanding are important steps in the process for individuals and society alike.

South Bay Participants

NAMI South Bay

NAMI South Bay

Thanks to the volunteers Michelle and Gene Velloni for helping at T-Shirt Booth, to Eve Somers and Gloria for helping at Registration, for the Team Captains, Chiaki Ueki, Takako Agustsson, Nancy and Paul Stansbury, Cathie English, Monique Guerrero-Larson, Rick and Modesta Pulido, Dana Cherry, and Mabek Yumul . And a great thanks and shout out to all those who walked and/or donated. If you still have donations that you weren’t able to send by walk day, please contact Paul Stansbury at

Around the Country


Minnesota (one week earlier this year)


Mental Illness Awareness Week 2013

It’s Time to Make a Difference

During much of the past year, Americans have engaged in a dialogue about mental illness, sparked by the tragedies in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. Most people living with mental illness are not violent, but when violence does occur, the spotlight falls on holes in the mental health care system.

This year, the spotlight has had special intensity, including proposals by the President of the United States, congressional hearings and interest among state and local elected officials. During Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is Oct. 6-12, 2013, every community should pause to consider whether a true awakening has occurred, including greater investment in mental health care.

It’s time to make a difference.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can strike anyone at any time. Fortunately recovery is possible. Treatment works, but only if a person can get it.

One in four American adults experience a mental health problem in any given year. One in five young people ages 13 to 18 also experience mental illness. In fact, one-half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14—three-quarters by age 24.

Unfortunately, there are long delays−sometimes decades−between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. Less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.

Local NAMI affiliates stand ready to help in their areas. For residents in the Los Angeles South Bay, NAMI South Bay offers resources, classes, support groups and helpful information, beginning with the information available on this site. For affiliates in other areas, the national organization keeps an updated and interactive page you can find by CLICKING HERE or clicking on NAMI’s Affiliates-by-State map:

Key issues that affect access to mental health care include expansion of state Medicaid coverage for uninsured persons, mental health insurance parity and state spending on direct services. Spending money can involve difficult choices, but when it comes to mental health care, lack of coverage or cuts too often results in simply shifting costs to hospital emergency rooms, schools, police, courts, jails and broken families

When it comes to mental health care, we need to focus on “sooner” rather than simply “later.” As part of this year’s dialogue on mental illness, the challenge has been made not to fix the mental health care system but to build it anew—with much greater emphasis on early screening, diagnosis and treatment. This includes the need for effective school-based and school-linked mental health services. It also includes family education and support who too often are overwhelmed as caregivers.

During MIAW,  these are issues to talk about. Even more fundamentally, everyone should take care to know the nature of mental illness and the symptoms of different conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Information about specific diagnoses and treatment options is available at

No one should have to confront mental illness alone. Know where to find help in case it’s ever needed. Most people start with their primary care doctor. Many start by confiding in a close family member of friend.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it.  That’s why MIAW is so important.  The more people know, the better they can help themselves or their loved ones to get the support they need.

NAMIBikes Rides Out on Saturday, November 2

Fight Stigma and Ride

(From NAMI California Newsletter) This exciting mental health, anti-stigma event will start and end in Davis and will offer a choice of 25K, 50K and 100K courses. It is a fully supported ride, including an event t-shirt, light breakfast, lunch and rest stop fuel.

Be a Virtual Rider!  Even if you can’t be in Davis, you can ride along as a Virtual Rider.  When you register, choose the option to be a virtual rider.

There is no registration fee for Virtual Riders, and if you raise $45 or more, NAMI California will send you the event t-shirt.

For all others, routes are $45 (registration is waived with $250 in fundraising, however, fundraising is not required).

“The sport allows me to clear my mind for some time, focusing only on what lies about 15 to 20 feet in front of me. Being on a bike is beyond exhilarating.”

— Eric Ward
NAMIBikes 2012 & 2013 rider and mental health advocate.

Read about Eric’s journey on his NAMI blog posts: