NAMI Events & Outreach

Check out our previous outreach events!

If you’d like to know when our next event will take place email to get on our email/mailing list or call us at 831-422-NAMI (6264).


‘Trauma and Immigration’ Event a Success 
About 100 people learned about the anxieties and fears they may be experiencing as a result of their immigration experience on June 22 in Salinas.

The event, sponsored by NAMI Monterey County, was “Latinos and Mental Health: Trauma & Immigration, as part of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

“There’s a lot of collective trauma going on and our kids have been affected too, and there’s a lot of stigma with mental illness, specifically with the Latino community,” said one of the attendees.

The free event featured presentations by Maria Nava, a psychologist with the Monterey County Behavioral Health Department, and Magnolia Zarraga, an attorney who specializes in immigration issues. Monterey County Herald reporter Claudia Melendez-Salinas led the discussion.

The outreach and education event was not a political forum, but rather an informational community presentation to better understand the mental health affects immigrant communities face as a result of immigration. It was held at Jesse G. Sanchez Elementary School in Salinas.

NAMI Monterey County’s forum attracted significant media coverage, from KION-TV, Telemundo, Univision and the Salinas Californian.


Bridges of Hope

Spiritual leaders of all denominations are invited to attend an informative presentation designed to provide education, support, resources and human connections for those dealing with mental illness in their faith communities.

The four-hour training, called Bridges of Hope, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 23 at The Grille at Calvary Chapel, 3001 Salinas Highway (Highway 68). The training is free, and lunch will be provided by The Grille for a suggested donation of $10.

“This training will give leaders and staff the knowledge and skills to feel better equipped serving those with mental illness and others touched by it in their congregations,” said Bonnie Bufkin, vice president of NAMI Monterey County, which is presenting the training.

All faith leaders and appropriate staff are welcome. For more information or to RSVP, contact Deanna Rivas at 831-402-4939 or, or Bonnie Bufkin at 831-521-5597 or


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.