Speaker Meetings What's New

Presentation  – Allies in Recovery.

Wednesday, Oct 25, 5:00-6:30 on zoom (note time change)
Allies in Recovery is a program that trains families in CRAFT, an evidence-based approach that supports behavior change and increases connection between the family and their loved one.  Dominique Simon-Levine and Laurie MacDougall will provide a brief overview of the CRAFT model and teach us a few key principles that we can implement with our relative.  

Since our our presenters live on the East Coast, we are scheduling this meeting for 5:00pm – our time.  We invite families to join us and share their challenges.  Link is below.  The meeting will be written up by Tom Thomas and also videotaped for posting.  

Note  time change! 
Join Zoom Meeting.
5:00  –  6:30 pm PST
Meeting ID: 846 2310 8691

What's New

Planning for the Future – When Caregivers are No Longer Present:

Planning for the Future – When Caregivers are No Longer Present: 


Summary notes – Planning for when Caretaker is Gone, Sept 27 – see video recording:

    Warm up: Serenity Prayer (paraphrased)  – know what things you can change and what things you can’t change and have the wisdom to understand the difference.

    We can’t anticipate the amount and kind of grief our loved one will experience when we leave…and how this will impact coping

Legal/Financial:  Estate planning generally means attorney involvement around Living and Special Needs trusts.  Nolo Press does have a book on Special Needs Trust but you may want to have your efforts reviewed by a legal professional.  Baron Miller’s book Laws We  Need to Know – Understanding Rules and Programs for Persons with Mental Illness is recommended

Housing  – some resources are 2-1-1 (Eden Information and Referral), for home share matching, -> Housing Solutions for Health.  

We anticipate funding for more housing coming from state legislation and voter approval.  The number of Board&Care facilities is declining due to costs and lack of support for operators.

    Linder ( talked about the family-initiated Vernon Street home in Oakland’s Lake Merritt area where plans are for 7 individual units and one shared apartment.  The families will be owners through either a tenants in common or limited equity housing cooperative.

Daily functioning:  Financial – the county does provide representative payees to handle SSI monies- we don’t know how mobile this service is.  Whereas ATMs are handy to get cash,  there is a security issue of users being targeted.  Debit cards are a good alternative and since they require a passcode, they are not as vulnerable to being stolen as are credit cards.

    Personal – is your loved one able to handle laundry, cooking, shopping, personal hygiene, medication usage and refills?  IHSS (In Home Support Services) is a funded program that provides in home support, dependent on client needs. Meals on Wheels and are also resources

    Insurance – MediCal and Medicare are necessary for most county services, with exceptions being crisis situations and Wellness centers.  Private health insurance can often provide services which are not advertised.  Use of the word “parity” could a useful tool in a push for more services.

    Socialization- Isolation is a common problem and social skills do not always come naturally.  Wellness centers, run by agencies, are drop-in day centers offering social activities and groups – see list on our website under Direct Peer/Consumer Services

    There is a new  process that is giving us folks with PSS (Peer Support Specialist) certificates.  These are family members and consumers with lived experience who have gone through training and may be available for  individual socializing  relationships …something to consider once it is more established.

   Case management: The county’s Full Service Partnerships, administered by agencies, are wrap around trans-disciplinary services for those most impaired by mental illness.  Eligibility criteria are stringent.  There are private case managers and  case management can be arranged through fiduciary firms and Proxy Parent. On our website, go to Private Case Management Services

   *note – for every rant about a service or staff, there is a rave.  It all depends on the personal characteristics of the service provider, the receptivity of the client, and the connection they make. And, of course, eligibility can always be an issue to consider.

    As our loved ones become elderly, there may be more outreach services available through the county’s Older Adult services.  Another idea is to explore the issue of Assisted Living, which may be a possibility if there is cognitive decline or other such disabilities that take precedence over the underlying disorder.

Speaker Meetings

Meet and Learn about PEERS

Meet and Learn about PEERS

Wednesday, August 23, 7:30 on zoom (link below)

Recording can be found here:
Passcode: *DGcids1

Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) is a diverse local community organization for people with mental health experiences. Their mission is to promote innovative peer-based wellness strategies. They create culturally-rich, community-based mental health programs that honor diverse experiences and eliminate stigma and discrimination in Alameda County.

Kimberly Marquez-Cortes (Program Manager),  Reza Hasani (Outreach Specialist), and Sarah Marxer (Evaluation and Policy Specialist) will be our guest presenters.  Join us to learn about PEERS and their services

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meeting July 26, 2023 7:30 – 9:00 pm


Neuroscience question time with Dan Lurie, PhD.Wednesday, July 26, 7:30-9:00 on zoom

Please join us for an interactive night of learning with Dan Lurie, PhD. Dan is a cognitive and systems neuroscientist who studies how the brain works, and the relationship between the mind and the brain. He’s particularly interested in how we control our thoughts and behavior, and why doing so is difficult for some people. Dan will give a brief presentation reviewing key ideas about how the brain works, but most of the time will be dedicated to answering questions from the audience, so please bring your questions!

Join Zoom Meeting: 

See video recording at

Passcode: 6W0^!G%H

Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meeting June 28, 2023 7:30 – 9:00 pm

“Patients Rights Advocacy”
Wed, June 28, 2023
7:30-9:00 pm

Passcode: i2s6*.KN

Join us for a discussion with Francesca Tenenbaum, Director of Patients’ Rights Advocacy and Training,  and Sharnice Jones,  Director of Patients’ Rights Advocates, in Alameda County.

They will be discussing how they provide hearings to patients, their focused monitoring at facilities, investigations of complaints, and facility  response to recommendations.  The family perspective and that of the legally mandated Patients’ Rights Advocates  are not always on the same page, so we want to use this opportunity to see how the two groups can help each other and work together.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 897 1776 1376
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Speaker Meetings

Speaker Meeting May 24, 2023 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Coping, Communication, Self Care

Dr. James Branson

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Video Recording of Meeting below

Dr. James Bramson will be the guest speaker at our next 4th Wednesday affiliate event on May 24.   Dr. Bramson is a licensed psychologist and social worker with over 25 years experience as a clinical director,  trainer/supervisor of psychology interns, organizational consultant, neuropsychologist, forensic  psychologist and therapist.  He is the director of the Mindful Alliance Center and co-founded the East Bay Mindfulness Center.  

He will talk with us about communication techniques, limit setting, mindfulness and self care.

Our meeting will be on zoom  Wednesday May 24, 7:30-9:00pm.  Zoom link is

Meeting ID: 829 5585 0470
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Speaker Meetings

Families Advocating for the Seriously Mentally Ill, April 26

FASMI group discussion, April 26 (4th Wednesday) – 7:30-9:00pm,

Recording can be found here: 

Passcode: &9J1P$iQ

Join us for a  lively discussion with members of FASMI (Families Advocating for the Seriously Mentally Ill).  This group is making waves  with their informed advocacy for our loved ones and families.  We will be hearing more about their organization and getting an update on current legislation measures, the challenges underlying the process of working for system change and an inside look at advocacy efforts. 


Meeting ID: 883 9843 5105
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Speaker Meetings

Effective communication and connection strategies Wednesday, March 22, online 6:00-7:30pm

Recording of the Zoom Meeting
Passcode: !=5*K%*=

1. *******TIME CHANGE*****
Because our presenter lives on the East Coast, we will be taping her talk at 6:00pm our time.. She has some guided exercises so be sure to join us for a chance for interaction. The presentation will be videotaped and hopefully available for viewing later in the evening on Wednesday, March 22 at the What’s New tab on our website

March 22, 6:00-7:30pm Zoom Presentation:  NOTE TIME CHANGE

 Families are typically the first line of recognition and care for a struggling loved one.
We are called on to be case manager, vocational counselor, therapist and housing specialist.  Yet we have little access to training and support.

Kayla Solomon, LICSW, facilitator of the Allies in Recovery ( support group, and co-host of the podcast Coming up for Air, has worked at the intersection of mental illness and SUD (Substance Use Disorder) for many years as a clinician in private practice.

People struggling with serious mental illness feel alone and unheard.  Families feel helpless and unsupported. Kayla will explain how families can take care of themselves while learning positive engagement with our struggling loved ones. She uses what is called the CRAFT approach, Community Reinforcement and Family Training.

By practicing the communication techniques she describes, we will learn how to acquire and maintain effective communication and connection.  In her presentation we will have real time experience of staying centered and strong as family members and connected as loved ones by using mindfulness and reflective listening. 

    This presentation will be offered on zoom, Wednesday, March 22, 7:30-9:00pm

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Meeting ID: 833 2957 4874
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Speaker Meetings

Privately Available Independent Services
Discussion group, Wed, Feb 22, 7:30pm on zoom

Here’s the recording of the Feb 22 discussion group ….

Passcode: E5.urhug 

And here’s contact information for the three discussants at the meeting:

  *Ian Morgan, peer specialist: 415-448-6777,
  *Ryan Gardner,  case management,:c/o Peninsula Counseling and Consulting., phone/text 650-644-4454, email –
  *Meredith Taylor, fiduciary: IMT Associates,, 510-352-6000.  -for fiduciary search by area and specialty

Many of our families’ ill  loved ones are not receiving county services, unless in crisis.  Insurance coverage is a primary reason that one is ineligible for such service accessibility.  With that in mind, along with full awareness of frantic families who need help as they plan for the future,  we’re hosting an introduction to and casual conversation with three service providers who provide crucial help for a fee.
     Join us and meet Ryan Gardner, therapist/consultant/case manager; Ian Morgan, peer specialist (pending) and Meredith Taylor, fiduciary with IMT.  They’ll be giving us an introductory overview of services and respond to questions. 
    This may be the first of our explorations into this arena and we’ll be reviewing some of the already-known resources as well.  The discussion will occur on zoom and will be videotaped for sharing afterwards.  Here is the link for Wednesday, Feb 22, 7:30pm

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 811 3199 1599
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Speaker Meetings

January Author/Speaker meeting – Jan 24/25. 2023 BEYOND MADNESS

The recording is now available here. Passcode: L%Av1mEa

Dr. Rachel Pruchno

January Author/Speaker meeting – Jan 24/25. 2023

    Beyond Madness, written by Dr. Rachel Pruchno, is a comprehensive,  very readable book which addresses all aspects of mental illness.  Ms. Pruchno, a PhD psychologist, Professor of Medicine at Rowan University and director of research at the New Jersey Institute for  Successful Aging,.covers an array of topics, from stigma, securing financial benefits, resistance, history, resilience, obstacles,  research findings, legal aspects, etc.  Throughout, she shares insights from experiencing her own daughter’s journey with the challenges of mental illness and brings in others’ stories as well.

   The book has earned the endorsement of many professionals, including E. Fuller Torrey, author of Surviving Schizophrenia, who wrote “…excellent book…strongly recommended”.

  Because  Ms.Pruchno lives on the East Coast and we do not expect her to talk with us late at night, we will be talking with her the day before  our regularly scheduled 4th Wednesday evening meeting.  If you have read the book or are interested and would like to meet the author for a group discussion of topics she covers, join us for our Tuesday, Jan 24, morning  meeting from 10-11:30 am.  The link is below, under Author Meeting.

   The recorded discussion will be posted on our website the next day so you can view it then if you aren’t able to come to it “live”.

Author meeting: