Speaker Meetings What's New

Most Common SSI Pitfalls

Most Common SSI Pitfalls
Daniel Fortuno, Benefits Education Center
Wed, Nov 15, 7:30pm on Zoom

The application process for the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is oftentimes problematic, as many families are painfully aware.  Daniel Fortuno from the Benefits Education Center in Long Beach, California, will be the guest presenter at our next educational event.  He will be discussing the Most Common SSI Pitfalls and will be dealing with questions from attendees.

Join us on Wednesday, November 15 at 7:30pm on zoom.  (This presentation has been rescheduled from the 4th to the 3rd Wednesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday).

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Meeting ID: 861 2682 0161

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! 
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5:00  –  6:30 pm PST
Meeting ID: 846 2310 8691

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!

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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.

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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

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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: