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

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 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,  (, 415 473 6844.

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

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 or 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