We are saddened by the recent loss of Roy Whitfield Jr (1981 - 2017). In lieu of flowers, the family invites gifts in memory of Roy be made to advance Caminar's mission.Read More
On May 18, 2017, more than 200 guests convened at Filoli for our 3rd Annual Mental Health Symposium. We would like to thank our illustrious speakers who shared new research and generous sponsors who made possible this valuable educational event.
PANELISTS (Click on the presentation title to view the slides):
- Steven Adelsheim, M.D., Stanford University - "The Youth Mental Health Imperative: Why We Must All Get Involved"
- Rebecca Bernert, Ph.D., Stanford Mood Disorders Center - Read about Dr. Bernert's research.
- Libby Craig, Crisis Text Line - "Crisis Text Line"
- Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine - "Feeding and Eating in Children and Adolescents: Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating, and Just Desserts"
- Eric Kuhn, Ph.D., VA Palo Alto / Stanford University School of Medicine - "Using Technology to Help Manage PTSD"
- Ben McGraw, McGraw Systems - "bStable"
Thank you to everyone who joined us for this special evening! Our very special thanks to photographer Michael Collopy.
At Caminar, we strive to increase awareness of mental health all year round. We believe education goes a long way toward overcoming stigma around mental illness and creating communities that support recovery.
May provides a special opportunity to celebrate recovery and provide information about mental health as Mental Health Awareness Month is observed nationwide.
Above we share a sampling of some of our Mental Health Awareness Month activities this year. From top, left to right:
- At the Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board Community Heroes Event, Coralia Valdez, MFT, clinical supervisor in our FCS division, was recognized with a Heroes Award in appreciation for her longstanding commitment to the mental health of children and adults who are Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing.
- Our Solano Region, represented by Executive Director Chris Kughn and Wellness and Recovery Center Coordinator Kenneth Langill, took part in the Vallejo Police Citizen's Workshop on mental health, which was offered for all interested community members.
- The 3rd Annual Mental Health Symposium convened close to 200 guests for an educational evening at Filoli. Caminar CEO Chip Huggins and event moderator Steve Adelsheim, M.D., are pictured.
- At the Solano Region's Cammies Awards, program participants were recognized for their progress in recovery. In addition, we had the pleasure of presenting photographer Gary Cullen with an award in recognition of his volunteer service. Gary, middle, is pictured with Kenneth Langill of Caminar and Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan.
- The Expressive Arts Program, made possible thanks to the generous investment of Aroha Philanthropies, held a pop-up art show at Philz Coffee in San Mateo.
- At FCS's Circle of Support Luncheon, journalist and author Sam Quinones, author of the bestselling book Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Addiction, shared insights on the roots of the opioid epidemic and effective community responses.
- The Solano Region displayed participants' artwork at Vallejo City Hall and in county libraries throughout the Month of May.
Special thanks to Michael Collopy for the photos from the Circle of Support Luncheon, Mental Health Symposium and Cammies, and to Gary Cullen for the photograph from the Vallejo mental health information night event.
Tonight, May 16, representatives from Caminar Solano will be taking part in a community conversation about mental health. We're delighted to be partnering with Vallejo Police Citizen's Workshop to raise awareness about mental health and our services during Mental Health Awareness Month. Join us!
Library patrons are being educated about Mental Health Month and the services that Caminar provides thanks to a donation by Tim and Susan McDonald of the Vallejo Arts Counsel. Ken Langill, Program Coordinator at the Wellness Recovery Center, secured 7 Mental Health Month posters and informational brochures that showcase the Wellness Recovery Center, FSP Program, CCM Program, Supported Housing, and our homeless outreach program called H.O.M.E. You can see the displays at the following locations:
Benicia Library, Benicia, CA
Springtown Library, Vallejo, CA
John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA
Cordelia Library, Fairfield, CA
Fairfield Library, Civic Center, Fairfield, CA
Suisun Library, Suisun, CA
Vacaville Library (Town Square) Vacaville, CA
It's May, which means it's Mental Health Month! In order to celebrate and raise awareness around mental health issues, clients from Caminar's Wellness Recovery Center have decorated Vallejo City Hall with beautifully crafted digital and hand painted art.
In total, 20 oil painted tapestries and 30 digital images are on display as a part of the 2nd Art Inspiration event held at this location. We would like to extend a big "thanks" to Gary Cullen, local retired photographer and mental health advocate, for volunteering a lot of his time and technical support to bring this project to fruition. We encourage you to check out his work at www.garycullenpictures.com. Please enjoy some photos of the decorated Vallejo City Hall:
The Wellness Recovery Center is privileged and grateful for being able to take clients to an Oakland A’s vs. Anaheim Angels Baseball game on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. This event was made possible through a collaboration with the CATS (Community Access Tickets) Program.
The WRC clients had a lot of fun eating cotton candy and tuna fish sandwiches from their lunch that day at the WRC.
They are looking forward to additional games and other entertainment events, which are provided at no cost to clients. The pictures below were taken during the game at the Oakland Coliseum.
We are pleased to share the results of client satisfaction surveys from 2015-2016. These numbers show how dedicated our staff has been in progressing Caminar's mission, which is to help people with disabilities live in the community with dignity and independence.
Clients from The Wellness Recovery Center were able to go to the Empress Theater and experience live music for free on February 22nd, 2017.
The Empress Theatre is a historical landmark located in downtown Vallejo, California built in 1911.
This visit is part of the ongoing efforts of the WRC to provide clients with experiences that they may not otherwise be able to receive due to economic circumstances.
Please enjoy the images below, which were taken at the event.
We are delighted to share our 2016 Annual Report, sharing highlights from the year and stories of people who successfully moved from crisis to independence thanks to the comprehensive services our donors make possible. Read here.
The onset of mental illness interrupted this veteran's pursuit of his life goals. With coaching from Jobs Plus and his own dedication, today he has hope again for his future.Read More
The Wellness Recovery Center was able to participate and go to the Academy of Arts Museum for FREE on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, thanks to collaborating with C.A.T.S (Consumer Access Tickets), a non-profit organization.
Ken Langill, Program Coordinator, is proud to share that he took 4 WRC clients to the Academy of Art Sciences Museum to see the Steinhardt Aquarium, Phillipines Coral Reef, African Exhibit and also the Planetarium.
This visit is part of the ongoing efforts of the WRC to provide clients with experiences that they may not otherwise be able to receive due to economic circumstances.
Former legislator Rich Gordon has joined Caminar as head of government relations.Read More
The Solano Region Christmas Party at the WRC was a blast!
"Our friend and advocate of Caminar’s Wellness Recovery Center graced us with his visit to our Xmas party. We had well over 100 plus people which comprised of WRC Staff / Clients / Case Managers and Mental Health Specialists from Solano County Mental Health as well as board and care and room and board operators." Kenneth Langill, Program Coordinator, WRC.
Here are some photos from this very fun event.
The Vallejo Executive Lions Club showed their support for mental health clients in Solano County by donating to our Wellness Recovery Center.
The WRC is a peer run drop-in center for individuals with a known or suspected mental illness, located adjacent to Caminar’s medication clinic and case management services. A wide range of educational and support groups are offered, including art groups (expressive, creative, storytelling art), employment preparedness groups by Jobs Plus, and library visits.
From the Lions Club Website:
"Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. With the funds we make through our fundraisers, we offer assistance to local non-profits and needy individuals. We focus on eye care, recreational, and educational services for the elderly and youth."
Kenneth Langill, who is the Program Coordinator for the WRC, stated:
"I’m appreciative that the Lyons Club has donated $500.00 dollars to Caminar’s Wellness Recovery Center. I remember hosting the president (Gary Truelson) whom visited our center with another board member way back in May 2016. He was impressed with the Wellness Recovery Center. He then invited myself and Chris (Kughn, Solano Executive Director) to give a presentation to the Lyon’s Club Board Members on October 4, 2016 for their monthly luncheons at Zio Fraedos restaurant in Vallejo, CA. I’m happy for their contribution and thankful for their support!!"
Visit the Lions Club Website HERE
Here is a quick overview of mental health in America. Which of these did you already know? Which of these surprise you?
The word suicide is a frightening word. But the term teen suicide is even more horrific, with the mental picture of a young person terminating his/her own life.
As a result of having an unusual rash of teen suicides (many more than the average) in the Bay Area, a Federal investigation is now underway, conducting interviews with school personnel, faculty, family members and, of course, students and peers. Their sole goal is to gain knowledge to eliminate these tragedies from reoccurring and trying to find long-term solutions.
When a young person dies by suicide, both the immediate survivors and many others are deeply affected. In fact, exposure to suicide can itself be a suicide risk to other young people. “Cluster” suicides may actually have been the main factor in these recent youth suicides. If someone is contemplating ending their life and hear of another young person taking his/her life, it can exacerbate an already despairing mood.
“Pact” suicide is another ominous, but secretive deliberation, whereas several teens (usually girls) carefully plan and execute their own suicides. Somehow, they view it as glamorous and prepare, carefully, in writing and in sharing their suicide notes. Recently, in the New York City area, four girls jumped off a building to their deaths holding hands while someone is the background was taking pictures. How tragic is this?
It is critical, therefore, to find answers and ways to reach this populace and prevent these catastrophic occurrences.
Caminar for Mental Health takes an holistic approach, recognizing the role of the environment, relationships and what peer pressure plays, as well as limited life experience, when helping a younger person grapple with the powerful emotions behind thoughts of suicide. They are totally committed to doing whatever it takes to save someone’s life. When one of their clients at Caminar cannot hold onto hope for themselves, the staff’s job is to hold on to hope for the client for as long as necessary and to never give up.
The causes of teen suicides are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors: bullying, poor self-image, individual coping skills, family and school social support, use and/or experimentation with substances, academic stress, undisclosed mental health conditions and excessive expectations from parents and self.
Teens, too, are going through puberty and are in the process of pulling away from the parental structure in learning to be independent and finding out whom they really are. Unfortunately, teens, also, are vulnerable to depression. That’s because hormones and sleep cycles, which both change dramatically during adolescence, can affect mood. The good news is that depression is treatable and most teens get better with the right help.
It’s balancing act for the clinician who works with young clients at Caminar to empathize with the person’s pain, acknowledging and normalizing this human emotion and to then start working on a safety plan with that youth in identifying their own personal strengths and their own reasons to want to live. It is crucial that this plan is created by and for that individual client.
Sexual issues, too, for teens can be a difficult time of uncertainty, confusion and fear, with their primary confidential conversations being only with their peers, who, for the most part, probably also have little knowledge. At home, their main conversation from a parent is most likely: “How was school today?” “Oh fine,” says the teen, and off they go to their room to text or e-mail.
Although technology has given us tremendous tools to learn, to connect, to inquire, it also has created obstacles in the way we socialize, especially with the younger generation. Seldom do we have face-to-face conversations anymore. Most young people are looking down at their phone or tablet – never having an eye-to-eye contact and not verbally sharing, or even laughing. Are we missing something valuable and healthy for our own well-being?
The media, especially in the daily news, seems only to cover violent, scary and murderous stories, creating a “gloom and doom” atmosphere that can greatly intensify despairing feelings for a youth, or anyone, who is feeling on the edge.
From one teenage suicide attempt survivor: “I was upper-middle-class — probably the wealthiest of my whole friends group — and went to private school and went to summer camps in the summer. I had everything tangible. We had a nice house. I had a boyfriend. Had lots of friends. And, I just didn’t care about any of it. I felt so alone. Now thanks to counseling and therapy I am doing much better. I know for a fact suicide is not the only answer left; there are other choices. IT DOES GET BETTER! Life gets better! For those out there who are thinking about suicide and that it is the only way out, I know you won’t believe me and that’s okay. Try to talk about how you’re feeling. Try someone you trust and if that person turns away, take a deep breath and tell someone else. Talk and tell until it does feel a little bit better. Help is out there. I know you can find it. You are a beautiful, unique, special creative person who deserves to be loved, cherished and respected.”
We must create opportunities to really talk, to share, to confide, to trust. This is very needed and maybe it’s the basic root of these serious problems.
Let’s continue, then, to explore, converse, and search for ways to reach our teens and prevent these senseless and devastating suicides. There are answers out there, let’s find them!
Caminar clients had a great time at the annual Labor Day Picnic at Rock Springs Park in Vallejo. The afternoon was filled with dancing, delicious food, sunshine and camaraderie, all of which are very beneficial to mental health. Both clients and staff enjoyed this event and are looking forward to another one next year.
Caminar for Mental Health and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley Announce Plans to Merge in January 2017
Strategic Partnership to Strengthen Behavioral Health Care Across Bay Area
Two deeply-rooted Bay Area mental health organizations, Caminar for Mental Health and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS), will merge on January 1, 2017. With an operating budget of $32 million, the combined organization will reach over 14,000 people annually with programs that build bridges to wellness, resiliency and self-sufficiency.
The boards of directors of both organizations unanimously approved the merger, under which FCS will operate as a division of Caminar. The merged nonprofit will provide services in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Solano and Butte counties.
“This is a merger of strength,” said Chip Huggins, CEO of Caminar, who will head the expanded organization. “Both organizations enjoy strong ties with our communities, are in strong financial positions, provide robust and vibrant programs, and have been built on complementary visions and goals."
“It is an exciting time for behavioral health organizations like ours that are dedicated to offering innovative and effective care,” said Diana Neiman, CEO of FCS, who will become executive director of programs and services of the FCS division on January 1. “FCS and Caminar will offer individuals and families a higher level of coordinated care as they cope with multiple mental and physical health challenges and daily living needs.”
The combined organization will address clients’ complex needs through a continuum of care that encompasses treatment of mental health and substance use conditions, family violence and abuse prevention, case management, medication clinics, short-term residential treatment, and supported employment, housing, and educational programs.
No staff or program changes are planned in connection with the merger. The organization will have nearly 500 employees.
“At FCS, we feel privileged to have served generations of neighbors and families, and we look forward to strengthening our legacy of compassion by expanding our continuum of care in partnership with Caminar,” said Neiman.
About Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley
Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley has been strengthening families and changing lives in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties since 1948 through mental health and substance use disorders treatment, case management, and family violence and abuse prevention services. The organization’s portfolio of counseling programs for children, teens and adults includes specialized services for LGBTQ youth and adults, foster youth, at-risk teens, and domestic violence survivors. In order to increase access to care, FCS, based in Palo Alto and San Jose, brings services to dozens of community-based locations, such as schools, community centers, criminal justice facilities and client homes.
More information at www.fcservices.org
A merger FAQ is posted online at www.fcservices.org/merger-faq/
On Saturday, October 15th at the SFJAZZ Center, mental health supporters, advocates, and jazz lovers came together to raise money and celebrate the strides that Caminar has made in providing treatment for those who experience mental health difficulties. Music, food, heartwarming stories, and the generosity of our guests truly made this night unforgettable. Here are a few photos from that special evening.
In the Press
Thank you to The Reporter for publishing an article promoting our event.