Our annual winter class will be starting mid-January and run for 12 weeks.  This class,  led by experienced and trained family members for family members, is a primer on mental illness, with classes focused on psychiatric diagnoses, medications, communication, brain function, problem solving, etc.   Participants must register through our office at 510-524-1250 or namieastbay@gmail.com.




       Stephanie Lewis, LMFT, Division Director, Crisis Services, for Alameda County Behavioral Health, provides oversight, direction, planning, and development for the full spectrum of services and a multidisciplinary team within the county’s Crisis Division.

She has more than 20 years of experience working in collaboration with law enforcement and emergency medical services, providing crisis mental health services to individuals, as well as more than 15 years of experience providing various trainings to consumers, clinicians, community providers, and law enforcement on topics involving mental health

     Michael Bernath, PhD MFT, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the new Mental Health Clinical Supervisor for Berkeley Mental Health’s Crisis Assessment and Triage program, which includes both the Walk-In On-Duty Access services for BMH and their new Crisis Telephone Hotline.  Dr. Bernath has been working in this role for BMH since July of 2019, before which he was a psychotherapist and supervisor of psychotherapy for children and families for more than 25 years at a private nonprofit clinic in Los Angeles, CA.

Join us at Albany United Methodist Church, 980 Stannage Ave (corner at Marin), Albany.  Meeting, which is free and open to the public,  starts at 7:30 pm

GENERAL MEETINGS are held on the 4th Wednesdays in January, March, May, July, September, November (sometimes changed in November so as not to conflict with Thanksgiving). Everyone is welcome to come by and hear a presentation from an expert in the field, a panel, or a video.



Do you experience voices, visions, special messages, unusual beliefs or extreme states of consciousness?

 What do these experiences mean to you? 

How do we live with and decrease distress from these experiences?

Please join us for free, drop in weekly Voices, Visions and Different Realities groups for families, transition age  youth (age 18-24) and adults who hear voices.   All local groups meet on Mondays, 6:00-8:00 pm at:

South Berkeley Senior Center

2939 Ellis St., Berkeley CA

(As of Jan 7, 2019)

(Meetings subject to change, please check website for updates.  The Berkeley group is a 10-minute walk from the Ashby BART station.  The San Francisco group is a 10-minute walk from the BART, Civic Center station.)

 The support groups are co-facilitated by people who have lived experience with the mental health system. More importantly, we are counting on you to shape the direction the group takes in providing support for each other.

This is a free, drop-in group. The Hearing Voices Network is comprised of people who see, hear, feel and think things that others may not experience, and members of their families and support network. For more information about the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network, check out our website at:


Email us at: bayareahearingvoices@gmail.com

Or find us on Facebook: facebook.com/bayareahearing voices


Participate in Depression Research at Stanford

Researchers at Stanford University are looking for individuals with depression to take part in their trial investigating a new form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS is an FDA-approved non-invasive brain stimulation therapy for depression for people who are not getting relief from anti-depressant medications. TMS treatment typically take 6 weeks but researchers at Stanford are trialling a 5-day protocol which they hope will be both faster and more effective. The study currently running is a blinded trial which means there is a 50% chance of receiving placebo treatment. However, all participants will be offered the real treatment after one month of beginning the study so all participants will receive the real treatment at some point.

If you have depression and antidepressants and are not currently helping then this may be a good option for you. The study is looking for individuals over 18 with a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), who have tried antidepressant medications, who have not previously tried TMS, do not have epilepsy, no metal implants and no brain lesions.

If you are interested in seeing whether you are eligible to take part in the study, please fill out the questionnaires at the following link and the research team will get back to you: https://is.gd/stanford_atbs_study

You can find more information about the study and the research team at their website: http://med.stanford.edu/bsl.html or contact the research coordinator Romina Nejad at rnejad@stanford.edu for more information.

UCSF Young Adult and Family Center (YAFC) Intergenerational Trauma Clinic: Parent Education Sessions

Learn the latest research on how trauma can impact families and strategies for HEALING

What: UCSF YAFC is piloting a brand new parent education group about the impact of trauma on families. 

In a supportive, relaxed environment you will learn how to:

  • Recognize signs of trauma in yourself and in your child
  • Calm the body and mind
  • Communicate effectively with your child

Who: Parents with children between the ages of 12 – 26 who have experienced trauma themselves, and/or whose children have experienced trauma. Must have health insurance other than Kaiser or MediCal.

When:  Wednesdays from 4:30-6pm, 5 weeks starting June 12th – July 10th, 2019.  

Where: UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at 401 Parnassus Avenue. Meet at the 2nd floor waiting room.

Contact: Sarah Crouch, Psy.D., sarah.crouch@ucsf.edu, (415) 476-7047.

Please reach out by Friday, May 31st, 2019 to reserve your spot and with any other questions you might have about the group.

For those who have lost someone to suicide

In addition to the 10-week Suicide Bereavement Group, which resumes on Thursday, 12/6 (more information below), La Cheim — located at 3031 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609 — will host the East Bay’s International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The event, which is free of charge, will take place on Saturday, November 17, from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, sponsored in part by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is an opportunity for people affected by suicide loss to gather together for support, community, and resources (see attached flyer). For more information or to reserve your place, please call 415-515-6253.

Weekly Support/Therapy Group …
The first session of the new Survivor of Suicide Loss Group has been scheduled for Thursday, December 6, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. 

As usual, it will run for 10 sessions and meet at:

   La Cheim
   3031 Telegraph Avenue
   Oakland, CA 94609
The fee per session is on a sliding scale ranging from $25 to $125. As this is a
 nonprofit program, the fees help us to defray a portion of our expenses. At the
 same time, we do not turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay, so please let us
 know if cost is an issue.
The group size is limited, so if you haven’t already confirmed your attendance,
please do so by phone (415-515-6253), text or email. If you have not attended
before, we ask that you arrive at the first session 10-15 minutes early to register.

Recruiting for People to Offer Personal Support Services

The Proxy Parent Foundation is a non-profit organzation that offers two integrated services: PLAN andPSS. The Special Needs Trust (PLAN) is open to disabled persons in California. Started by NAMI families some years ago, this is a Master Pooled Trust vehicle, which actually has a bigger presence in Southern California. The second service is Personal Support Services (PSS) for beneficiaries of the trust. PSS individuals deal with persons with mental illness, coordinating public and private social services and medical care while providing family-like attention.The organization is now increasing its PSS offering in Northern California and is recruiting individuals who would be interested in becoming a PSS provider.

They are looking for individuals who have experience—either clinical or personal—in dealing with persons with mental illness, who have empathy, and who intend to live in the area for some time. Criminal and financial background checks are part of the hiring process, and the PSS would be making monthly and quarterly reports to the Proxy Parent Foundation.

This is a part-time commitment and the person could have a day job as well. Hourly payments are $65 to $85, and travel time is compensated at a different rate. Please contact Bruce Lewitt at 888-574- 1258.


Consumer Activities

Families frequently inquire about community services. Since many of our NAMI folks are not county case-managed, it’s up to families to find out what’s available. Accordingly, here’s a brief note about two resources:

PEERS (Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services) is a large consumer-run agency located at 333 Hegenberger Road in Oakland. They offer WRAP (Wellness Action Recovery Plan) classes, Final Fridays Free Movies, discussion and Secret Messages groups. Their website is comprehensive: www.peersnet.org.

BACS (Bay Area Community Services) offers free Wellness Centers across the county. These are drop-in social centers with planned activities. Website is www.bayareacs.org.


Mission Statement: Voices of Mothers is an advocacy effort by families on behalf of our loved ones with serious mental illness. We are fighting for changes to local, county, state, and federal laws and policies that are failing to provide adequate and timely services and protections to our vulnerable family members.


Grow the family voice in Alameda County by broadening family engagement at all levels.

Monitor legislation at all levels that impacts mental health policies, campaign in support of laws that improve care for those with serious mental illness, and monitor implementation of mandated programs

Fight to reduce stigmatizing and blaming of families. Document instances of family blaming and misinformation in media and in communications tied to or funded by public fund

CONTACT INFORMATION: voicesofthemothersandothers@gmail.com