South San Francisco, CA March 9, 2023 Submitted by Karl Sonkin, Kaiser Permanente
LOCAL CONNECTION: If you or someone you know are in need of support for mental health concerns in San Mateo County, services can be found 1730 S Amphlett Blvd Ste 308 San Mateo, CA 94402-2714 and they can be reached by calling (650) 638-0800. You may also email them at email@example.com. More local detailed information can be found at on their website CLICK HERE.
KAISER PERMANENTE GRANT WILL HELP NAMI CALIFORNIA INCREASE ACCESS TO
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND PROGRAMS IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES
A $2.3 million grant helps NAMI California develop a new regional model, providing additional support, technical assistance, and programming for NAMI California’s 56 affiliates statewide
Kaiser Permanente is supporting NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) California’s efforts to build a regional model that will increase access to mental health services and programs for California communities.
The $2.3 million grant from a Kaiser Permanente fund at the East Bay Community Foundation is helping NAMI California strengthen its 56 local affiliates by providing program management, professional development, assistance for affiliate leaders, advocacy training, and human resources support. NAMI California is part of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
The goal of the regional model is to ensure all Californians can access NAMI services where and when they need them. The grant will help ensure that there is a NAMI affiliate in every California county.
“Kaiser Permanente recognizes the critical role NAMI California plays in our local communities, providing individuals and families with support groups and educational programs at no cost,” said Yvette Radford, vice president, External and Community Affairs, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “Strengthening NAMI California’s local affiliates will improve access to these valuable programs and help meet the needs of people living with mental illness.”
Increasing access to mental health support
The need for mental health support services continues to grow as more people experience mental health issues. In California alone, more than 5.5 million adults are living with a mental health condition. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue for many, with adults reporting more psychological distress and substance abuse issues since 2020, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
NAMI California has a presence throughout our state, however, the capacity of an individual affiliate to provide support and services is reliant on the individual affiliates staffing, budget and strategic goals,” NAMI California CEO Jessica Cruz said. “Thanks to the Kaiser Permanente support, we will now be able to build our affiliates the resources they need to grow and provide a spectrum of mental health services in our communities.”
Currently just over a quarter of NAMI California affiliates have an operating budget of over $100,000 and less than half have full time staff, leaving the majority of its affiliates working solely on volunteer hours.
Under NAMI California’s new regional model its 56 affiliates, 36 in Northern California and 20 in Southern California, will be divided into six regions with regional leads providing direct support and oversight.
A family member speaks about NAMI
San Jose resident Kathy Forward said the support she received from NAMI California was critical when she was navigating a difficult situation with her teenage son who was struggling with substance abuse and bipolar disorder 25 years ago.
Forward took NAMI California’s Family-to-Family course, which she described as “life-saving.” After taking the class, she became more involved in NAMI Santa Clara County, starting as a volunteer and working her way up to Executive Director.
She knows firsthand the difference a strong affiliate can make in the community.
“The education and support NAMI California provides should be available to everyone in the state, and I think this regional model is going to make that happen so that the smaller affiliates can grow and get the support they need,” she said. “Having a supportive, educated community can make all the difference in the world.”