NAMI Events & Outreach

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.