Hear the Story of Kevin Berthia, a Suicide Survivor and Suicide Prevention Advocate

Please join us on September 12th from 7-9 p.m. at the Marin County Office of Education to hear the powerful story of Kevin Berthia, a suicide survivor and suicide prevention advocate.

Recently, NAMI Marin participated in the Suicide Prevention planning process led by the County of Marin, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. We continue our efforts around mental health advocacy for all community members in Marin and have increased our collaboration with youth over the past two years. Suicide prevention was identified as a primary area of concern for young people and their families.

I recognize that this is a serious and difficult topic. I also know, that coming together as a community, is a powerful tool to combat stigma, to increase our connections and to find our way through difficult times.

And in the case of Kevin, there is hope, inspiration, and lessons to be learned from his lived experience.

I honor all of you that have been touched by suicide and I am humbled by the stories you share with me.

I hold you and your families in my heart, every day, as I fulfill my role as the Executive Director of NAMI Marin. Your stories are being heard, action is being taken, and we are in this together.

Thank you for all you do, Kelli

SAMHSA-Sponsored Webinar: Focus on the Family 8-26

Date: August 28, 2019

Time: 3:00 ET

Register for the Webinar here: https://adobe.ly/316maon

Join us for a SAMHSA-Sponsored Webinar, “Focus on the Family: Using Person and Family-Centered Care for Mental Health.”

To achieve and sustain mental health, individuals with serious mental illness need access to an array of treatment options and need to be actively engaged in their own treatment and recovery support plan. Person and family-centered care puts consumers at the center of the planning process. This method involves a collaborative and strengths-based approach that relies on understanding the preferences and abilities of the individual seeking treatment and their support systems in order to tailor a personal plan for success.

During this webinar, participants will learn more about person and family-centered care. Presenters will share tips for engaging individuals and their family members in the treatment planning process, and stories of success. They will also share resources for implementing and encouraging the practice of person and family centered care.

Topics and themes:

Mental health and recovery


Family and caregivers

There will also be time for Q&A.


Teri Brister, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Information & Support at NAMI. Dr. Brister is responsible for ensuring that all content created and disseminated by NAMI attains the highest possible standards of accuracy, relevance, value, and academic rigor. She is the author of NAMI Basics and co-author of the NAMI Homefront program. Prior to joining NAMI in 2005, Dr. Brister worked for twenty years in the community mental health system in Mississippi, working in both clinical and administrative roles, including Assistant Executive Director in two different centers. Dr. Brister received her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Jackson State University, and her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi.

Ken Duckworth, M.D., serves as the medical director for NAMI. Along with his work at NAMI, Ken also works to improve care at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, volunteers and consults at an early psychosis clinic at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and teaches as an assistant clinical professor at Harvard University Medical School. Ken is double-board certified in adult and child/adolescent psychiatry and has completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship.

It is highly recommended that you test your connection to Adobe Connect in advance of the webinar to ensure access. If you encounter any difficulty testing your connection or logging into the webinar, please contact Technical Support by calling 1-800-459-5680. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact kelle.masten@nasmhpd.org via email or at 703-682-5187.

Kelli Finley
We are thrilled to announce our next Marin NAMI Walk Brunch!

The brunch is on Saturday, August 17 from 10am to noon at Peg and Rik Super’s home in San Rafael.

We will talk about the Walk, organize and coach for raising money for the NAMI Marin Walk, and of course enjoy eggs, sausage, bagels, fruit and coffee!!

All you need to bring is your enthusiasm for NAMI and for the Walk.

To RSVP and for the location: Please call NAMI Marin office at 415-444-0480 or email namimarinoffice@gmail.com.

Thank you and hope to see you on August 17th!

Kelli Finley
General Meeting - Monday, June 17 - 7 p.m. Advances in TMS Therapy- Treatment-Resistant Depression and Beyond

Monday, June 17, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

TOPIC: Advances in TMS Therapy- Treatment-Resistant Depression and Beyond

TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) therapy is a non-invasive, non-systemic treatment that is FDA approved for the treatment of Major Depression and OCD and used “off label” to treat other conditions. TMS therapy is covered by most health insurances. Learn:

  • the specifics of TMS treatment and new advances to improve efficacy

  • how TMS therapy can relieve depressive symptoms and who can benefit from the treatment

  • about TMS for OCD, the most recent FDA approved indication for use, and other mental and physical health indications on the horizon  

  • about the application of Ketamine, including Spravato (esketamine) for the treatment of depression.

SPEAKER:  Dr. Rick Trautner is a Board-certified psychiatrist and Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association who has been in clinical practice for over 30 years. He received his MD degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and served his residency at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. He is Medical Director of Mental Health Services at Alta Bates/Summit Medical Center in Berkeley and Treasurer of the international Clinical TMS Society, of which he is a founding Board member. He is Medical Director of BayTMS, which was established in 2009 - the first TMS clinic in the East Bay and now the longest standing clinic in the entire SF Bay Area. His clinic has treated over 700 patients.

LOCATION:  San Rafael Corporate Center, 750 Lindaro St., San Rafael, CA 94901 (the building nearest Andersen Dr., between 2nd St. and Andersen Drive).  Meeting room is off the lobby.  Free parking lot (after 6pm) on west side of street.

This is a no fee event, open to the general public.

Marin NAMI Walk Kick Off Brunch - June 8

We are thrilled to announce our kickoff Marin NAMI Walk Brunch.

The brunch is on Saturday, June 8th from 10am to noon at Peg and Rik Super’s home in San Rafael.

We will talk about the Walk, organize and provide coaching on raising money for the NAMI Marin Walk, and of course enjoy eggs, sausage, bagels, fruit and coffee!!

All you need to bring is your enthusiasm for NAMI and for the Walk.

To RSVP and for the location: Please call NAMI Marin office at 415-444-0480 or email namimarinoffice@gmail.com.

Thank you and hope to see you on June 8th!

Kelli Finley
General Meeting - Monday, May 20 - 7 p.m. New Hope for Understanding and Treating the Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Monday, May 20, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

TOPIC: New Hope for Understanding and Treating the Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia.

Does your loved one seem unmotivated or uninterested in doing things? Can you tell how your loved one is feeling by the expressions on their face? In this presentation, you will learn more about the research on emotion expression and feelings in schizophrenia which are part of the so-called negative symptoms. I will present research that shows how people with schizophrenia can feel strong emotions even if they don’t express them and how they can enjoy being with other people or working on a project even if they don’t look forward to doing these things. I will also talk about new clinical assessments and treatments for negative symptoms.

SPEAKER: Ann Kring is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley where she directs the Emotion and Social Interaction Laboratory (http://esilab.berkeley.edu) and is a member of the Institute for Personality and Social Research and an affiliate of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. Her research focuses on emotion and psychopathology, specifically emotional features of schizophrenia, including negative symptoms, decision-making, and the linkage between social motivation and emotion. She has studied emotion and schizophrenia for over 25 years.

She has received numerous awards, including a Young Investigator award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Joseph Zubin Memorial Fund Award, and a Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Berkeley. She is past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and past president of the Society for Affective Science. She has served as Associate or Consulting Editor for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and Cognition and Emotion, and as a member of the editorial board for Schizophrenia Bulletin, Psychological Clinical Science, and Applied and Preventive Psychology, Emotion, and Journal of Research in Personality. She is co-author of a leading textbook on psychopathology and has published over 100 scholarly papers in the top journals in the field.

LOCATION: San Rafael Corporate Center, 750 Lindaro St., San Rafael, CA 94901 (the building nearest Andersen Dr., between 2nd St. and Andersen Drive). Meeting room is off the lobby. Free parking lot (after 6pm) on west side of street.

This is a no fee event, open to the general public.

May is Mental Health Month: WhyCare Campaign Launches

[Arlington, VA] — During the month of May NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will launch the WhyCare? awareness campaign for Mental Health Month. The campaign emphasizes how the “power of caring” can make a life-changing impact on the more than 40 million people in the U.S. who face the day-to-day reality of having a mental health condition. The campaign is focused on increasing education, resources, and access to care.


Central to the campaign is encouraging others to learn the facts about mental illness. NAMI’s goal is to bring mental health education to all corners of our communities. With education, people can identify warning signs of mental health conditions and help someone who may be struggling.


Navigating life with mental illness can be difficult, and NAMI wants to make it easier to find resources and people who care. The WhyCare? campaign features a webpage, sharable graphics and a downloadable emoji pack for smartphones— resources that can be used as a way to reach out to someone or to show your community that you care about those with mental illness.


By caring and working together, we can create positive change. We can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from getting appropriate care and treatment. We can work towards a nation where everyone affected by mental illness can find the support and care they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.


“NAMI believes that providing education and support—and advocating for better care and treatment—is critical to getting people on a path of recovery,” said Angela Kimball, Acting CEO of NAMI. “This year, during Mental Health Month in May, we’re asking you to tell us why you care using the hashtags #WhyCare and #NAMIcares to join the conversation with examples of what you are doing personally or in your community.”


Key mental health statistics include:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition.

  • 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the U.S. lives with a serious mental illness.

  • 43.8 million adults in the U.S. face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.

  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.

  • Additional facts and citations are available at Mental Health by the Numbers.


For additional information about Mental Health Month and to access WhyCare? resources, please visit nami.org/WhyCare.

Kelli Finley
General Meeting - Monday, April 15 - 7 p.m. Advances in Psychosis Risk Prediction

Advances in Psychosis Risk Prediction

Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying the Transition to Psychosis 
in At-Risk Individuals

TOPIC:  Dr. Mathalon is returning to update us in the advances made in predicting risk for psychosis.  He will explore what is currently known about changes in the brain associated with the transition to psychosis in individuals with the psychosis-risk syndrome.  Learn: 

  • What is the psychosis-risk syndrome and how is it distinguished from psychosis itself?

  • How often does the psychosis-risk syndrome progress to full-blown psychotic disorders like schizophrenia? 

SPEAKER:  Daniel Mathalon, Ph.D., M.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.  He directs the Early Psychosis Program at UCSF and the Brain Imaging and EEG Laboratory located at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, where he also serves as Chief of General Psychiatric Outpatient Services. 

Dr. Mathalon received a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University, and an M.D. from Stanford University.  He completed his psychiatric residency training and a research fellowship in Psychophysiology at Stanford University.  Following this training, he joined the Psychiatry faculty at Yale University, and after 8 years, he moved to his current position at UCSF. 

Dr. Mathalon uses EEG and MRI based measures to study brain dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia.  A major focus of his work has been to identify neurophysiological biomarkers of risk for schizophrenia among individuals exhibiting putatively prodromal symptoms. Current efforts are focused on examining abnormalities in neural plasticity as a basis for gray matter loss and neurocognitive impairments in schizophrenia.

LOCATION:  San Rafael Corporate Center, 750 Lindaro St., San Rafael, CA 94901 (the building nearest Andersen Dr., between 2nd St. and Andersen Drive).  Meeting room is off the lobby.  Free parking lot (after 6pm) on west side of street.

This is a no fee event, open to the general public.

Kelli Finley
NAMI Marin General Meeting - 2019 Update on Bipolar Disorder: Questions and Answers with Dr. Descartes Li, MD

Monday, March 18, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

TOPIC:  2019 Update on Bipolar Disorder: Questions and Answers with Dr. Descartes Li, MD 

Bipolar disorder is a common disorder affecting 1-2% of the general population. This presentation will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. Attendees are encouraged to email questions by March 11, 2019, to namimarinoffice@gmail.com

SPEAKER:  Dr. Descartes Li is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the Director of the UCSF Bipolar Program and has many years of experience in working with individuals with bipolar disorder. In addition, he directs the UCSF Electroconvulsive Therapy Service, as well as Medical Student Education for the UCSF Department of Psychiatry.
He gives numerous talks and presentations in both academic and community settings, and has a wide range of interests that include bipolar disorder, medical education, electroconvulsive therapy, cultural psychiatry, and suicide prevention.
His educational motto is "Forget teaching, remember learning."

LOCATION:  San Rafael Corporate Center, 750 Lindaro St., San Rafael, CA 94901 (the building nearest Andersen Dr., between 2nd St. and Andersen Drive).  Meeting room is off the lobby.  Free parking lot (after 6pm) on west side of street.
This is a no fee event, open to the general public.

Chris Schwartz-Edmisten
The Marin County Suicide Prevention Survey Has Been Launched!

The Health and Human Services Department, Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is pleased to inform you that the “Suicide Prevention Community Survey” is now available by clicking on the following link:

 Click here to take SURVEY

This survey is an important component of their effort to develop a Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan that will increase service coordination and strengthen supports for community members.  Their goal with this plan is to reduce suicide attempts and suicide deaths in Marin County.

To do this, they need to hear from community members like you so that they can better understand how the issue of suicide affects individuals and communities in Marin County. Just by clicking on the above link and taking 5-10 minutes to complete the survey, you will be playing an important role in supporting your community and all residents of Marin County.

If you would like to learn more about the Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan, you can visit https://www.marinhhs.org/suicide-prevention. You can also access the survey through the link above.

Community Participation

BHRS is working closely with the Marin County Department of Public Health and the Marin County Office of Education to better understand how suicide impacts our county and what can  be done to enhance suicide prevention efforts. Through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and a community meeting scheduled for this spring, BHRS is engaging community members in the planning process. If you have questions or want to learn more about the different ways to participate, please contact Chandrika Zager, Senior Program Coordinator,  (CZager@marincounty.org), 415 473 6844.

Thank you for sharing your voice and helping to better serve the residents of Marin County!

Chris Schwartz-Edmisten
Family to Family Education


A free, 12-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people living with mental illness.


Course Dates: April 2 – June 18, 2019

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.    

Sign up now for the next class.

Classes are limited to 24 people and registration is required (call 415-444-0480). No charge to attend.


  • How to manage crises, solve problems and communicate effectively

  • Taking care of yourself and managing your stress

  • Developing the confidence and stamina to provide support with compassion

  • Finding and using local supports and services

  • Mental health conditions and how they affect the brain

  • Current treatments, evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects

  • The impact of mental illness on the entire family

To learn more or request a place, call NAMI Marin at 415-444-0480.

Chris Schwartz-Edmisten
NAMI Marin would like to share with you the following well-done, articulate statement from NAMI Ventura County and NAMI California about the recent event that took place at a Thousand Oaks dance hall

We are deeply saddened by the recent event that took place at a Thousand Oaks dance hall in which 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the establishment.

NAMI Ventura County and NAMI California supports all of our communities and are available to help in any way we can with our resources. We share in the grief that all our community members are experiencing right now and we want to be part of the healing process while knowing that we can never fully recover from this tragedy.

The details are still unfolding and there are still unanswered questions, but many will be impacted by the event. As we continue the national discussion about what we can do to prevent further tragedies, we need to be willing to engage in honest conversation about mass shootings and their possible connection to mental illness.

We need to be careful that the response to these tragedies does not discourage people with mental health conditions from seeking help. Stigma far too often prevents people from getting the help they so desperately need.

During these national tragedies, we often see people make stigmatizing comments about mental illness, or we see people with mental illness being painted with a broad brush of being violent, which simply isn’t true. And this comes as a punch in the gut to those that are living with a mental health condition and need to seek help and treatment.

There are certain risk factors for violence including: a history of violence, substance abuse and untreated symptoms of psychosis, some evidence suggests. However, most people with mental illness will never become violent and mental illness does not cause most gun violence.

While the relationship between mental illness and gun violence is very low, we need reasonable options. This includes making it possible for law enforcement to act on credible community and family concerns in circumstances where people are at high-risk.

It is important after tragedies happen to remember the tremendous impact they have on our communities—our parents, our children, our school professionals, our first responders—the mental health of our communities and our whole country. It’s also vital to recognize that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent.

While we appreciate the heightened interest and conversations about the role of mental health in our society, we need to make sure that we are not painting all people with mental illness as violent. We need to have an honest and productive national conversation about all the factors that play into this type of violence and what we can do to prevent these tragedies. Only then can we find meaningful solutions to protecting our children and communities.  

Did you know?

• One in five people are affected by a mental illness in a given year. One in 17 have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression or other conditions that may cause significant impairments in daily functioning.

• Most people with mental illness will never become violent, and mental illness does not cause most gun violence. In fact, studies show that mental illness contributes to only about 4% of all violence, and the contribution to gun violence is even lower.i

• Research shows that a history of violence, including domestic violence; use of alcohol or illegal drugs; being young and male; and/or a personal history of physical or sexual abuse or trauma, increases risk. Mental illness alone is not a predictor of violence.ii

• When coupled with some of the factors listed above, mental illness may increase the risk of violence. And, untreated symptoms of psychosis such as delusions or paranoia, may somewhat increase the risk of violence as well.

Some have suggested that we re-institutionalize people with serious mental illness. Fifty years ago, people were institutionalized for long periods of time, sometimes for life, and often without legal rights. They were frequently subject to horrific conditions. We do not need to return to the days of institutionalization.

We do need more acute care and crisis beds. These options are often not available when people experience emergencies or crises and this has contributed to problems like criminalization and emergency room boarding. We also need to focus on improving quality and outcomes to ensure that people get the care and coordination they need.

While recovery should always be the goal of mental health treatment and services, we know that some people with mental illness may need intensive and ongoing supports for long periods of time. Unfortunately, our mental health system is overburdened.

Steps in the right direction would be ensuring a well-funded and strong mental health system. We can do this by fully funding the Medicaid program and requiring private health insurance to provide adequate coverage for mental health and substance use treatment.

Visit namica.org or namiventura.org for more information.

About NAMI

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

i Swanson, J.W., et. al., “Mental Illness and Reduction of Gun Violence and Suicide: Bringing Epidemiologic Research to Policy,” Annals of Epidemiology 25 (2015) 366-376.

ii D. Webster, et. al., “Five Myths About Gun Violence,” The Washington Post, October 6, 2017.

iii E. Fuller Torrey, MD “A Dearth of Psychiatric Beds”

Chris Schwartz-Edmisten