Caminar Connections Summer 2019 Edition

Summer greetings!

We’re happy to share with you the summer 2019 edition of Caminar Connections, our quarterly newsletter of stories and insights from the transformative work you make possible for individuals and families.  

Let us introduce you to Karina, who found gainful employment, self-esteem, and confidence with the help of Caminar Jobs Plus. We also bring you photos and highlights from this spring’s 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon, which focused on “A Family’s Journey with Addiction.” And our CEO, Mark Cloutier, reflects on his almost five months at Caminar. 

Lives change at Caminar . . . thanks to you. We hope you enjoy reading how your help so positively impacts your community.


In the News: Caminar CEO Speaks on Childhood Trauma

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Our CEO, Mark Cloutier, was honored to be invited by the United States Consulate as part of the US State Department’s Speaker Program to speak last week at the Family Centre's Adverse Childhood Experiences 2019 Conference.

The Royal Gazette covered the conference and interviewed Mark about the impact of ACEs on the health and well-being of our society. 

Mark states, “A good way to frame what Aces offers us is, it’s really the unaddressed non-infectious public health emergency of our lifetime, in that we now have the evidence from an epidemiological perspective — what is a major driver of lifetime adult chronic diseases.”

Read more.

Coping and Hope Though Poetry: Natalie Shares Her Writing

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With special thanks to Caminar Case Manager Jason Kaefer who brought this special story to us and to the brave and talented Caminar Client Natalie San Juan who is sharing her gift of poetry with us.

Natalie became a member of the Caminar family through YAIL, our Young Adult Independent Living program. For the last eight years, she has been part of our New Ventures Case Management program.

As a child, Natalie always felt different. Natalie recalls that “everyone said I was too sensitive, and I cried a lot.” As she matured, her feelings progressed until a diagnosis of major depressive disorder fell upon her. Over the years, she has dealt with emotions that would be unimaginable to most people. “I was suicidal at times, in and out of hospitals. It was a dark, dark world,” she remembers. In an attempt to reduce the feelings of sadness, she turned to an old childhood hobby — writing. Through a collection of journal entries, including poetry and stream of consciousness, Natalie managed to mitigate her internal unrest and express feelings of all kinds. This coping skill has allowed her a shelter from the feelings she once thought inescapable. Now, she wishes to share her writing with the hope that it will ring true with others who experience similar situations.

Please enjoy her poem “Prejudice” that was written to encourage people to talk openly about their mental health and to not feel shame in doing so.

Prejudice

By Natalie San Juan

Take a look at me,
and what do you see?

I am not a disease,
I am a human being.

Take off that blindfold,
and reality you will see.

Your words that crush my spirits,
cause ms me non necessary insanity.

You see me walk away with an attitude,
in which you have slowly brought on.

But because you are always a “superior,”
I am always at full fault.

In your eyes I’m a small ant,
that at any moment you will stomp.

I will not judge if you choose not to change,
I just ask for a brief stop.

Take a look around you,
check your brain before you speak.

You just will never know,
who’s soul you’ll tear apart.

I hope you get my message,
hope it sticks to you like gum.

I will not give up fighting,
til this battle is won.

Walking for Behavioral Health on Memorial Day

Caminar was delighted to participate in the 10th Annual Hillsborough Memorial Day Parade, Carnival, and Music Festival, which was held on Monday, May 27, 2019.

The event honored and remembered those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and celebrated community and connection.

The Caminar team walked in memory of service members and in support of all who are on courageous journeys of recovery from mental illness or addiction.

We are grateful to the Town of Hillsborough for inviting our participation in this lovely day.

5 Tips to Talk About Mental Wellness

What can we do to help create a society where mental wellness is discussed and valued?

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a month in which mental health advocates and leaders work to amplify awareness of mental health issues and the stigma around mental illness.

And as you likely know, our society is experiencing an epidemic wave of adolescent behavioral health disorders. In fact, one in eight teens reported a major depressive episode in 2014–2015, up 25% in the last four years.

One of a child’s greatest protective factors is a sympathetic adult who can help the child understand their own feelings, develop emotional skills, and buffer the child’s exposure to adverse experiences that cause emotional distress. That sympathetic adult may be a parent, guardian, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, coach, teacher, close family friend, or other caring adult.

Here are five tips to help create homes, workplaces, schools, and communities where mental wellness is valued, discussed, and embodied. We invite you to consider which you may like to try in your life.

  1. Normalize talking about difficult emotions and feelings, such as stress, grief, or loss.

  2. Consider reducing or eliminating screen time at night to improve the quality and length of sleep.

  3. Take time at one weekly meal to encourage everyone to share something about their day. Through listening and supporting each other, show that emotional experiences are valued.

  4. Talk about mental health and how it affects your family with community leaders and elected officials.

  5. End the stigma by being forthcoming about your own struggles and success with your own mental health – you can be an example of resilience for your family, peers, and community.

We would love to hear from you, too! What practices do you find help to promote mental wellness? We will feature tips in a future blog post. Please send your tips to connections@caminar.org.

Congratulations to our Supported Education Class of 2019 Peer Counseling Program Graduates

Peer Counseling students, graduates, and instructors

Peer Counseling students, graduates, and instructors

On May 16, students in our Supported Education Program at the College of San Mateo gathered to celebrate the end of the semester. As well, they also joyously recognized the class of 2019 Peer Counseling Program graduates, those students who completed both semesters of the Peer Counseling classes.

Supported Education Director Chris Robinson welcomed each graduate to the front of the room and presented them with a certificate of achievement while the students applauded each other and their accomplishments. Students spoke of their appreciation of the program and offered a standing ovation for the instructors to express their gratitude. Mr. Robinson concluded the gathering by encouraging students to seek opportunities to use their newfound skills in peer counseling and to continue their education. He stated that Supported Education is a gateway to find connection, support, and skills for one’s next steps in life.

A collaboration between Caminar, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, the College of San Mateo, and Skyline College, the Supported Education Program's purpose is to educate, empower, and expose clients to new experiences. We offer the Peer Support classes exclusively at the College of San Mateo, and the courses - and transportation - are provided at no cost.

The fall semester at the College of San Mateo begins on August 14. For more information or to enroll, please contact Chris Robinson at ChrisR@caminar.org or 650.578.8691.

Congratulations to our most recent Peer Counseling Program graduates!

Special thanks to Jerry Hill for capturing the festivities in photos.

Expressive Arts Program Art Show at the Half Moon Bay Library

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We are delighted to partner with the Half Moon Bay Library during Mental Health Awareness Month to share our clients’ art with the community.

Over the last year, Caminar’s Expressive Arts Program has reached more than 100 San Mateo County residents in recovery from serious mental health conditions.

Through the creative process and the resulting artwork, participants express emotions that words cannot fully capture—or are too painful to utter aloud.

Five years ago, the program began in earnest with photography as the art medium. The program has evolved to include drawing, painting, adult coloring pages, and music. World-renowned photographer Michael Collopy is the Teaching Artist for the program. Along with Mr. Collopy, musician Maikel Garcia is an integral part of our Expressive Arts program. Maikel promotes emotional, mental, and social well-being through music.

Participants tell us that learning and practicing art helps them to feel less anxious and to feel calmer and more hopeful.

We invite you to enjoy these pieces of art made with great heart, which will be on display at the Half Moon Bay Library, 620 Correas Street, Half Moon Bay, from May 20 through June 3, 2019.

The Pressing Need for Behavioral Health Solutions

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The complexity of needs influencing the health and well-being of local youth and adults has been increasing over the last several years.

We find people often are overwhelmed by overlapping and interrelated challenges, whether it’s serious mental illness and maintaining safe, affordable housing, or the co-occurring symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders, or trying to balance mental health recovery and the demands of the workplace.

Complex needs impact all age groups. Here are a few statistics to remind us of the importance of behavioral health solutions and services.

  • 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition. That's over 40 million Americans; more than the populations of New York and Florida combined. Mental Health America

  • One in eight teens reported a major depressive episode in 2014–2015, up from one in 11 in 2011–2012. Two-thirds of adolescents with major depressive episodes did not get treatment. California Health Care Foundation

  • Overall, sexual minority youth were 3.5 times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual peers. Transgender adolescents were 5.87 times more likely, gay and lesbian adolescents were 3.71 times more likely and bisexual youth were 3.69 times more likely than heterosexual peers to attempt suicide. JAMA Pediatrics

  • An estimated 43.6 million (18.1%) Americans ages 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness. In the past year, 20.2 million adults (8.4%) had a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder, also known as co-occurring disorders. SAMHSA

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in homeless shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. HUD

  • Nearly half of 20,000 US adults surveyed indicate they suffer from feelings of loneliness. Cigna

We are grateful to all of our donors, funders, and friends who help Caminar’s work to empower and support individuals and families to move toward resilience, wellness, and independence.


Caminar Participates in Solano's Mental Health Month Celebration

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Solano County Behavioral Health hosted the 5th Annual Mental Health Month Celebration on Saturday, May 4 at the County Events Center. Caminar staff, including a contingent from our Wellness and Recovery Center, joined the celebration and brought awareness Caminar’s services in Solano County.

We extend our gratitude to the team for spending their Saturday in the community and providing outreach efforts to help our most vulnerable neighbors.

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Congratulations to our Healthy Partnerships division!

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CARF has issued three-year accreditations for the Adult Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Integrated Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment and Adult Outpatient Treatment for integrated Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment offered by our Healthy Partnerships division. These are Caminar’s first accreditations for these services.

The independent CARF evaluators identified a number of strengths, including:

  • “The staff members are competent, dedicated, experienced, and tenured. They are able to maintain a professional approach with the clients while developing a helpful and supportive relationship.”

  • “The programs give individuals pride and a sense of accomplishment, which greatly contribute to their ability to function in the future. This was especially evidenced by the graduation wall that can be seen as soon as one enters the building. The wall consists of handprints of all past clients who have graduated from the program along with an uplifting saying or piece of advice for those still in the programs.”

  • “The medical staff is vested in its clients’ recovery process. It works hard to ensure that clients are able to obtain necessary medications, which in turn helps to improve client well-being and stability.”

This outcome was the result of dedicated work on the part of our Solano Region’s leadership, the Healthy Partnerships team, and our Operations teams.

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Caminar has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during on-site visits its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Caminar Connections Spring 2019 Edition

We are pleased to share with you our spring edition of edition of Caminar Connections, our newsletter highlighting all that our supporters help to make possible for people in our communities in need.

This newsletter shares highlights of our 2018 Annual Report, including our fiscal year 2018 statement of financials, highlights, and impact. In addition, this edition features the story of Eddrena, who with the help of Caminar’s Supported Housing Program, has finally found a safe place to call home, heal from past trauma, and move forward in health and wellness.

Thank you to all of our supporters and donors who help to provide life-changing services to individuals and families as they move toward resilience, wellness, and independence. 

David Sheff to Speak at 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon

We’re delighted that bestselling author and advocate David Sheff will be the featured speaker for the 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon.

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David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest TragedyClean, a follow-up to Sheff’s New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Boy, is the result of the years he spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public health challenge of our time.

In 2009, Sheff was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids honored him with a Special Tribute Award “in recognition of his voice and leadership for families who are struggling with addiction.” He was also awarded the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence (CPDD) Media Award, 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Media Award, and 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Media Award “to recognize his compelling portrayal of addiction and its personal effects on families and society as a whole.”

Beautiful Boy, published in 2008, was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine. The article won a special award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.” Beautiful Boy was made into a film, released in October 2018, directed by Felix Van Groeningen and starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Sheff also contributed to HBO’s Addiction: Why Can’t They Just StopHIGH: Everything You Want To Know About Drugs, a book for young adults written with Nic Sheff, published in January 2019. He is currently working on his next book, The Buddhist on Death Row: Finding Light in the Darkest Place.

Sheff is on the advisory boards of the The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program “designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional well-being and mental health programming, reduce substance abuse and prevent suicide among their students,” and the International Bipolar Foundation.

Along with the New York Times Magazine, Sheff has also written for such publications as the New York TimesWiredRolling StoneOutside, and the  Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has conducted seminal interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Congressman Barney Frank, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Betty Friedan, Keith Haring, Jack Nicholson, Carl Sagan, Salman Rushdie, Fareed Zakaria, and others. He also wrote an award-winning documentary about John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and a radio special about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, both for National Public Radio.

Sheff graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and lives with his family in Northern California.

The Circle of Support Luncheon will be held on April 26, 2019. Find out more about the event here.

Sharing Our Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report

Caminar Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report

Caminar Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report

Because of you—our donors, community partners, government funders, volunteers, and friends—individuals and families receive the care they need to be empowered and supported as they move toward resilience, wellness, and independence. Thank you.

We are pleased to share with you our 2018 Annual Report, which details the life-changing work you make possible.

As you may know, the Caminar family has grown by welcoming Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley, Project Ninety, and Healthy Partnerships. These mergers have expanded our reach and strengthened our capacity to help our most vulnerable neighbors toward an improved quality of life.

This Annual Report reflects the combined organization and the combined impact: Last year, with your support, we reached more than 20,000 people of all ages with education, treatment, and support that prevent and promote recovery from complex conditions, including mental health, substance use, and family violence. 

Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Because of you, our most vulnerable neighbors have comprehensive support on the path to wellness.

Jobs Plus Helps Karina Reach For Her Goals

Craig Wiesner, Karina, and Derrick Kikuchi in front on Reach & Teach on 25th Avenue in San Mateo.

Craig Wiesner, Karina, and Derrick Kikuchi in front on Reach & Teach on 25th Avenue in San Mateo.

With the help of Caminar Jobs Plus, Karina has found gainful employment, self-esteem, and confidence to continue her education and fulfill her dreams.

Before Caminar, Karina—a 19-year-old student at the College of San Mateo—was shy, antisocial, and had trouble being independent. Going out by herself caused anxiety.

Referred to Jobs Plus from the Department of Rehabilitation, Karina worked with her Caminar Job Coach to determine the type of work she’d like to do. She realized that working in a small, family-owned retail environment would suit her well. With the guidance of her coach, Karina learned skills for interviewing and working in retail and began to believe in herself.

We feel very blessed to have Karina working with us. She is wonderfully dependable, thorough, thoughtful, and has become an integral part of our team. We’re also excited and proud that she has started taking classes at College of San Mateo. We’re grateful to the Caminar staff for all their support.
— Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner, Reach & Teach Co-Founders

Today, Karina works at Reach & Teach, an independent book, toy, and fair trade store on 25th Avenue in San Mateo, where she has been for almost a year. She helps with pricing, creating displays for products in the shop, customer purchases, and a variety of data entry tasks. Reach & Teach Co-Founders, Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner, feel blessed to have Karina working with them. She is wonderfully dependable, thorough, thoughtful, and has become an integral part of their team.

Karina’s time at Reach & Teach has taught her to manage her time, work with different people, and socialize better. It has given her more confidence and self-esteem, and she feels useful knowing she can help her family and help her bosses run the store. Karina states, “I am learning how to manage when I am overwhelmed and believing that I am capable of doing certain things I did not know I was able to do.”

Staying in school, continuing to work at Reach & Teach, and earning a degree in Psychology is Karina’s goal. She is grateful to her Jobs Plus team for helping her to achieve something she was previously so afraid to do. And, we are all delighted to see Karina thriving in work, school, and life.

I am learning how to manage when I am overwhelmed and believing that I am capable of doing certain things I did not know I was able to do.
— Karina

Special thanks to the corporations and foundations that support Jobs Plus through their philanthropy. Our 2018-2019 fiscal year funding partners include Genentech, the Safeway Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Foundation. Thank you for empowering people to overcome barriers to employment and thrive as employees and coworkers.

Black History Month and African American Mental Health

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Black History Month is celebrated each February to honor, recognize, and acknowledge African Americans in the United States. As a behavioral health organization, we also feel it is important to address mental health in the African American community—not just in February but all year long.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are significantly more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) indicates that while “anyone can develop a mental health problem, African Americans sometimes experience more severe forms of mental health conditions due to unmet needs and other barriers.”

A recent opinion piece by Taraji P. Henson, actress and the founder of The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, states "Mental health isn't talked about in our community, people don't seek it out as a career option. So we don't have a lot of therapists out there, and those who are practicing are not easy to find. I want to change that." She goes on to mention it’s essential for the therapist to be culturally competent. Featured on NBC News, the piece is entitled Black communities aren't getting the mental health care they need. I'm helping to break the silence.

To help the conversation about African American mental health and wellness, here are a few useful resources

● NAMI features this African American Mental Health page with stories, statistics, and resources focused on how mental health affects the African American community and ways to find help.

● Each Mind Matters, California’s Mental Health Movement, provides mental health resources and information for diverse communities, including this page focused on the African American community.

● Mental Health America highlights a comprehensive guide to Black & African American Communities and Mental Health that includes statistics, details on prevalence and attitudes, treatment issues, as well as educational and help-related resources.

We hope the discussion of mental health in the African American community, and across all communities, continues. Together, we can increase awareness of mental health wellness, and support and empower vulnerable members of our communities.

Special thanks to Jonay Grant, Caminar Supported Education TAY Program Coordinator and a member of our Diversity & Equity Committee, for her valuable contributions to this post.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thank you for sharing your heart with vulnerable members of our community.
Your generosity and support changes lives.

Please meet our new CEO, Mark Cloutier, who has a special message of gratitude for you.

Thank you for your support.

Because of you, we empowered more than 20,000 individuals to move toward
resilience, wellness, and independence last year.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and thank you from all of us at Caminar!

Caminar Welcomes Mark Cloutier as CEO

Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH

Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH

After an extensive search, the Board of Directors is excited to announce that Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH, has joined Caminar as CEO as of January 31, 2019.

Mark brings a unique set of skills and experience to his role at Caminar. With Master’s degrees in public policy and public health, he has extensive experience in leadership roles in esteemed nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the Bay Area, including Horizons Services, San Francisco Foundation, the Center for Youth Wellness, Kaiser Family Foundation, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Mark has dedicated his career to increasing access to quality health and supportive services and improving communities’ overall health and well-being.

Mark says, “Improving the health of communities begins with understanding the role of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and social determinants of health in predisposing individuals, families and communities to poor mental health and physical health outcomes. Caminar is in a unique position to address the comprehensive needs of individuals, families and communities though our trauma informed, evidence based clinical services and our collaborations with government, nonprofit and community institutions to focus on and remedy root causes.”

Read today’s press release announcing Mark’s appointment here.

Announcing Our 2019 Circle of Support Luncheon Speaker, David Sheff

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We’re thrilled to announce that bestselling author and advocate David Sheff will be the featured speaker for the 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon.

David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest TragedyClean, a follow-up to Sheff’s New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Boy, is the result of the years he spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public health challenge of our time.

In 2009, Sheff was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids honored him with a Special Tribute Award “in recognition of his voice and leadership for families who are struggling with addiction.” He was also awarded the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence (CPDD) Media Award, 2017 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Media Award, and 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Media Award “to recognize his compelling portrayal of addiction and its personal effects on families and society as a whole.”

Beautiful Boy, published in 2008, was based on his article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine. The article won a special award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.” Beautiful Boy was made into a film, released in October 2018, directed by Felix Van Groeningen and starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Sheff also contributed to HBO’s Addiction: Why Can’t They Just StopHIGH: Everything You Want To Know About Drugs, a book for young adults written with Nic Sheff, published in January 2019. He is currently working on his next book, The Buddhist on Death Row: Finding Light in the Darkest Place.

David is on the advisory boards of the The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program “designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional well-being and mental health programming, reduce substance abuse and prevent suicide among their students,” and the International Bipolar Foundation.

Along with the New York Times Magazine, Sheff has also written for such publications as the New York TimesWiredRolling StoneOutside, and the  Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has conducted seminal interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Congressman Barney Frank, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Betty Friedan, Keith Haring, Jack Nicholson, Carl Sagan, Salman Rushdie, Fareed Zakaria, and others. He also wrote an award-winning documentary about John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and a radio special about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, both for National Public Radio.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. David lives with his family in Northern California.

The Circle of Support Luncheon will be held on April 26, 2019. Find out more about the event here.