Seasons Greetings from NAMI

NAMI Monterey County is grateful to the community members who have donated to the programs and projects that NAMI has adopted through the years. Your donations, along with NAMI’s time and talent, have been a tremendous gift for those of us who help individuals and families living with mental illness. The NAMI Monterey County board thanks you.

As 2016 comes to a close, the NAMI Monterey County board is proud that this year we achieved our long-time goal to become a fully independent service agency. We moved to our own new office and hired NAMI staff. NAMI was able to accomplish this transition due to your continued support.

We have renewed commitment to our mission statement. Our resources of time and funds are being directed towards programs that directly further our purpose. NAMI Monterey County will continue to grow our programs in the following ways:

  • Providing compassionate and informed family assistance (English and Spanish) via email, phone and personal interaction;
  • Training additional teachers to facilitate a full schedule of free educational programs, including NAMI Family to Family, NAMI Basics, NAMI Peer to Peer and NAMI Provider Education;
  • Providing resource and teaching materials for our presentation programs, including In Our Own Voice and Ending the Silence
  • Introducing new free family support groups to the county, in addition to the existing Connections peer support group;
  • Expanding into diverse demographic communities and offering Spanish outreach;
  • Participating more fully in first-responder training;
  • Hosting free public presentations that include speakers, forums, films and opportunities for introductions to resource agencies in the community.

Your financial support has helped NAMI Monterey County achieve independence. Your continued support will allow NAMI to grow the number of successful programs we sponsor, and to add educational and supportive programs we have not yet introduced to Monterey County residents. As we move forward, we hope we can count on you to help us build a more diverse, independent and solid charitable organization that fills a gap in the community.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated by NAMI Monterey County and those who are affected by mental illness. We look forward to updating you on our progress. Can we count on your support with an end-of-the-year tax-deductible contribution?

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

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.

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