Special Needs Trust Workshop on Oct. 27

Interim Inc. is sponsoring a free Special Needs Trust workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Hilton Garden Inn on 1000 Aguajito Road in Monterey.

Providing for people with mental illness or another disability can be challenging for family members, friends, and professionals. A Special Needs Trust is a unique tool that allows a loved one to provide resources for someone receiving public benefits without jeopardizing them. Please join us if you would benefit from this important information! Or share this event with someone you know would benefit from this important seminar!

This seminar is also useful for professionals who work with people who are disabled or their family members .

This seminar will discuss legal strategies to improve the quality of life for family members with disabilities while protecting assets intended for their benefit.

  • How to keep public benefits with a Special Needs Trust
  • ABLE Accounts – Special savings account for disability related expenses
  • Planning steps to support a disabled family member

Speakers will include Yvonne Ascher, an attorney and a certified specialist in estate planning, probate and trust law. and Vicki Lyfogt, a care manager for Elder Focus LLC.

In 2011, Ascher was appointed to the Trust and Estate Executive Committee for the California State Bar and works with attorneys from all over California to monitor state Estate Planning and Administration practices. Ms. Ascher currently teaches the “Wills & Trusts” class at Monterey College of Law. She is also a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a nonprofit organization comprising the nation’s premier trust and estate counselors.

Lyftogt an independent geriatric care management practice located in Monterey. Care managers like Ms. Lyftogt are licensed to practice in their professional fields and certified by several national organizations. As a Care Manager, Ms. Lyftogt also specializes in the areas of conservatorship of estate, conservatorship of person, estate administration (probate), estate maintenance and trust administration. In addition, Ms. Lyftogt is a Registered Guardian, Notary Public and a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, licensed by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau and the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

This seminar is organized by Interim, Inc. The event is free of charge, but space is limited. Call 831-649-4522, ext. 201, to reserve a seat or register online! We hope you can make it!

Open House Celebrates New Chapter for NAMI Monterey County

Scenes from NAMI Monterey County’s Open House! A fine time with old friends, new connections and great hope! Come visit us at 1020 Merrill Street in Salinas.

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Family-to-Family Program Starts Oct. 1


Open for Business in Salinas on July 5

After years of planning, NAMI Monterey County is now an independent agency with the opening of its new offices in Salinas.

NAMI Monterey County will open its new office on July 5.

NAMI Monterey County will open its new office on July 5.

For more than a decade, NAMI MC has operated under the administration and within the offices of Interim Inc. The NAMI board owes a debt of great gratitude to Barbara Mitchell, executive director of Interim, and the entire staff for their guidance and their generous assistance over the years. It has been a terrific partnership. Interim took NAMI under its wings with the understanding that NAMI would eventually transition to independence, and the transition was effective July 1.

For the past two years, the NAMI board has been working to establish its independence as a stand-alone affiliate. The board’s transition committee has guided the process with the assistance of representatives from Interim and the county Behavioral Health Department.

On July 5, NAMI opened for business at its new office on 1020 Merrill St., Suite 1015, in Salinas. The new mailing address will be P.O. Box 1367, Salinas, CA 93902. The Salinas telephone number is 831-422-NAMI; the Monterey telephone number will remain active.

Also on July 5, NAMI Monterey County welcomed its newest employee, Crystal Garcia of Salinas. Crystal, a recent graduate of CSU Monterey Bay, is NAMI’s programs coordinator.

NAMI is currently recruiting for an administrative supervisor. It will soon begin recruitment for a part-time outreach coordinator for South Monterey County.

NAMI Monterey County is an affiliate for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots organization for mental illness in the country.


Our family support group has moved to Salinas. It is no longer in Carmel.

When: The 1st Saturday of the month
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:30p.m.
New Location: NAMI Monterey County office,
1020 Merrill Street, Suite 1015
Salinas, CA 93901

NAMI Family Support Group is a free confidential support group for family members, friends, and partners of loved ones living with a mental illness in a compassionate environment.

Family-to-Family Leaders Trained in Salinas

NAMI Monterey County was proud to host a Family-to-Family instructional course on May 20-22 in Salinas.

Participants included 13 residents from four different counties, including Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Contra Costa counties. The intense three-day session concluded with the presentation of certificates that will allow each of the participants to teach NAMI’s signature Family-to-Family classes.

Among those certified were five residents of Monterey County. The training will allow NAMI Monterey County to expand its course offerings to people on the Monterey Peninsula and in Salinas.

NAMI Monterey County intends to continue hosting similar leader-instruction courses in the future. Many thanks to NAMI program coordinator Laura Hollien for organizing the classes.

Buried Above Ground: Film Event Resonates for Capacity Crowds

Capacity crowds, a powerful documentary and meaningful conversations about post-traumatic stress disorder marked NAMI’s two-day film extravaganza this week at CSU Monterey Bay.IMG_2482

Ben Selkow, director of “Buried Above Ground,” screened his film to more than 110 people at the Black Box Cabaret. About 160 people attended the event on May 12 at the Maya Cinema in Salinas. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion featuring Erundina Lopez, a subject in the film, as well as local experts.

The documentary follows an Iraq war veteran, a survivor of domestic abuse and an evacuee from Hurricane Katrina over a six-year period as they try to unburden themselves from the crippling lock of their past traumas. Their personal battles illuminate a global health condition that is misunderstood, under-reported and often left untreated. To learn more about Selkow and his film see the Monterey County Weekly story from May 5 or coverage from the Monterey Herald on May 11.

Ben Selkow, director of 'Buried Above Ground,' joins panelists to discusses his film.

Ben Selkow, director of ‘Buried Above Ground,’ joins panelists to discusses film.

The presentations were greatly appreciated by those who attended. “The presentation was able to provide a broader view to PTSD and it also helped educate many of the attendees that PTSD is not just a military-related disorder,” said one attendee. “It can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere.”

“It has helped me realize that I am not alone,” said another. “I met some very caring people that have reached out to me.”

NAMI Monterey County coordinated with other local agencies—the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County, the county Behavioral Health Department, Each Mind Matters, the CSUMB Health and Wellness Center, the YWCA Monterey County and the CSUMB Veterans Services Center—to present this special two-day event.

Ben & Erundina

Selkow with Erundina Lopez, a subject featured in the film, at Maya Cinemas.

The events are made possible with funding from the California Mental Health Services Authority and the Each Mind Matters initiative in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.

The presentations were free to the public. Representatives from the Veterans Transition Center of Monterey County, the YWCA Monterey County and NAMI Monterey County participated in the panel discussions.

Pacific Grove Officer Honored with Crisis Intervention Award

Sgt. Orlando Perez was named the 2016 Crisis Intervention Officer of the Year during the annual Fiesta of Hope dinner on May 6 in Seaside.

Sgt. Perez was honored for his response to a call to the Pacific Grove Police Department concerning a suicidal man holding a knife. During the three-hour standoff, the sergeant was able to use the skills he learned during Crisis Intervention Training before ultimately convincing the man to drop the weapon and to accept the assistance being offered.

“Sgt. Orlando Perez did an outstanding job in what was a very precarious, dangerous and tense situation,” according to Melanie Rhodes, Behavioral Health Forensic Services Manager, who nominated Perez for the award.

NAMI Monterey County has sponsored the Crisis Intervention Award for the past six years. The award presentation is a highlight of Fiesta of Hope, the annual dinner sponsored by the Monterey County Health Commission.

Ending the Silence Presenters Wanted in Monterey County

NAMI Monterey County is currently recruiting for qualified, passionate people to be trained as presenters for its Ending the Silence Program.

Ending the Silence instills a message of hope and recovery, and encourages teens to reduce stigma and end the silence surrounding mental illness. It is a free 50-minute mental health awareness program for high-school aged youth in which teens learn how to recognize the early warning signs of mental illness and what to do if they or someone they know is exhibiting these signs.

To be an Ending the Silence Presenter, volunteers must

  • Be or become a NAMI member.
  • Be an adult with a mental illness who is living in recovery.
  • Be comfortable sharing your story,
  • Be passionate about “giving back” and helping others with a mental illness.

NAMI Monterey County is seeking a lead presenter, an adult who is a family member of an individual living in recovery, and a young adult presenter, an adult aged 18-35 who is living in recovery and who can relate well with teens.

Volunteers will receive free online training and in-person practice. Learn more about Ending the Silence in this brief video.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Laura Hollien at 831-402-4939 or LHollien@interiminc.org

New Family-to-Family Facilitators Trained

NAMI Monterey County is proud to have hosted a three-day training of Spanish-language Family-to-Family facilitators in Salinas the weekend of September 11-13.

As a result of the intensive training, six volunteers from Monterey, Santa Clara and Napa countiesNew Certified Facilitators in Monterey County. Facilitators in Salinas were certified to lead De Familia a Familia classes in their respective counties. Three of the volunteers had attended a Spanish-language Family-to-Family classes facilitated by Rosa Gonzalez and Deanna Rivas in Salinas earlier this year. The classmates were so inspired by that experience that they immediately signed on to lead their own classes. They are now certified by NAMI.

NAMI Monterey County looks forward to offering more Family-to-Family classes to Spanish-speaking residents in the very near future.


Donate to NAMI

Please consider a donation to NAMI Monterey County. Your contribution helps NAMI continue its key missions to support and educate consumers, families and others struggling with mental illness.

You can make your contributions conveniently through PayPal. Use the button below.