Here, you will find up-to-date CAMHPRO alerts regarding information within the advocacy of the mental health movement in California. The information could be about legislative action, community based organizations or nonprofits, and statewide progress. The purpose of this page is to give you real time news and updates. Please, visit often.

Introducing a new program: The Alameda County Accelerated Peer Specialist program (ACAPS)

ACAPS New Program Announcement

The California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) has been awarded a contract from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for a new program, the Alameda County Accelerated Peer Specialist program (ACAPS). The purpose of ACAPS is to provide training, placement, and support for peers in Alameda County’s public mental health system.

CAMHPRO is excited to collaborate with so many Alameda County community based agencies as well as Alameda County Behavioral Health Services (ACBHS) in this venture. As the lead agency, CAMHPRO will partner with the Pool of Consumer Champions (POCC), Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (ACBHCS); La Familia;   Best NOW!/Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients; the Berkeley Drop-In Center and Reaching Across, Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients; Peers Envisioning and Engaging Recovery Services (PEERS); and Bay Area Community Services (BACS).

The goal of ACAPS is engagement, training and placement in Alameda County’s public mental health system of skilled peer specialists who bring a wide array of lived experience to their work. Over the course of eighteen months the innovative ACAPS program will a) provide accelerated training that focuses on peer specialist skills, case management, motivational health coaching for self-care, and peer support for emotional distress/psychiatric crisis and suicide prevention, b) deliver placement and career support services for participants to ensure retention, career development and effective long-term integration of ACAPS peers within the public mental health system, and (c) ensure that all key activities of ACAPS are based on consumer-driven values and a recovery focus.

ACAPS will offer a three-part training program that includes 1) 60-hour Introductory Peer Specialist Intensive to be provided by Best NOW! 2) Three-day Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) training provided by PEERS, and 3) Growing Through (aka Peer Crisis Support), a 40-hour advanced skills training in peer support for people experiencing crisis, distress and suicidality provided by Dignity Recovery Action! Intl. These trainings will be offered to three (3) different cohorts.

Following the training program, ACAPS will place 40 people with lived experience in programs throughout Alameda County. These are: 15 peers at La Familia’s peer respite, Alameda County’s first peer respite that is scheduled to open soon; two (2) peers at drop in centers in southern and northern Alameda County run by Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients; 20 peers at the Pool of Consumer Champions (POOC), a consumer run program of ACBHCS; six (6) peers placed in different programs of Bay Area Community Services (BACS), one being a residential crisis facility.

Peer support services are a best practice.  Research has shown that peer support services reduce hospitalizations and hospital days, improve client functioning, increase client satisfaction, reduce family concerns, alleviate depression and other symptoms, and enhance client self-advocacy. [i] ACAPS vision is to substantially increase the number of peer providers working in Alameda County’s public mental health system, and create the impetus for ACBHCS to continue hiring and retaining peers in the workforce.

[i]  Chinman et al, Peer Services for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness: Assessing the Evidence, Psychiatric Services 65: 429-441, 2014.

CAMHPRO’s Board of Directors take positions concerning legislation and public policy based on the following principles.

PDF: Public Policy Principles

CAMHPRO endorses a Recovery perspective affirming that health and social engagement are achievable for all people through social inclusion and appropriate services, accommodations and supports as determined, and directed by, such persons.*
Public policy recommendations also are based on whether they recognize and advance:
  • The value of mental health, peer-run organizations and programs, both as an integral part of —  and an alternative to — existing mental health systems and the services they provide;
  • Understanding of and support for the unique role of peer support in achieving recovery, and support for professional recognition of peer supporters on a state level;
  • Support for the availability of voluntary, community-based, prejudice-free mental health services, offering holistic social and rehabilitative services delivered with cultural humility and sensitivity to the diverse communities served, while addressing the expressed needs and goals of a mental health client/psychiatric survivor, including access to affordable housing, meaningful employment, nutrition, primary health care, and education;
  • Support for the voluntary choices, civil and legal rights, self-determination and dignity of people living with mental health conditions and psychiatric survivors, including such persons’ decisions as to all services, medications and supports;
  • Support for meaningful and consequential involvement in all decision-making about behavioral health systems, policies and services by the people directly affected by them, as well as other community stakeholders, on every level of policy making, program planning and implementation, and program/systems evaluation.
  • Support for the elimination of coercive practices, such as forced drugging, inpatient/outpatient commitment, and use of seclusion and restraints, as well as other actions which abridge rights or curtail liberties;
  • Opposition to prejudice and discrimination targeting people with mental health conditions and to ideas and practices that devalue human dignity and cognitive diversity.
*CAMHPRO aspires to represent and serve a community that is richly diverse in background, perspective and experience. Members of this community may self identify as “peers;” “consumers (of services);” “clients (of mental health systems);” “persons with a psychiatric disability;” “persons in recovery;” “psychiatric survivors;” “cognitively divergent” persons with lived experience;” or in other ways. CAMHPRO works to be an inclusive and useful organization for all of these constituents and others who share its goals and values.

ABC’s of Advocacy

The “ABC’s of Advocacy” is a series of three webinars on the basics and details of how you can participate in the California community program planning process in a meaningful and effective manner. These three webinars are interactive through polling, questions and answers, and prompt you to take the next steps. These webinars also serve as pre-requisite training for CAMHPRO’s local onsite practical workshop, “Delivering the ABC’s of Advocacy” to be held later this year.

Web A: Advocacy Basics in Public Behavioral Health

Wed, Aug 30, 2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 noon

Web B: Best Community Planning Practices

Wed, Sep 13, 2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 noon

Web C: Community Planning; How to Work It

Wed, Sep 20, 2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 noon

San Joaquin Regional Forum on Peer Support Services
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
APSARA (Park Village Apartments) Community Center
3830 N. Alvarado Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204


California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) in partnership with Consumers Self Help Center – is hosting a FREE Forum, in Sacramento, for the Central Region


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  • Keynote Speaker Sally Zinman

  • Share Your Concerns: Speak Out

  • Open Mic

  • Meet other Consumers in Your Community and around the Central Valley and Northern California

  • Afternoon at the Capital or Peer Panel Presentation


Fewer covered, weaker protections, higher costs: ACA repeal plan
by Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Exec Dir, NACBHDD and NARMH

Ron Manderscheid
Exec. Dir., NACBHDD and NARMH
Email: Ron Manderscheid
Twitter: @DrRonM

The six sorry words in the title above sum up the House bill released by Republicans last evening in their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. A quick review suggests under this bill our insured population would fall precipitously; health insurance benefits would deteriorate dangerously; and costs would escalate dramatically. The only good feature of this bill would be that the House Republicans would “own” these untoward consequences and then reap the negative effects in the 2018 and 2020 elections. …READ MORE HERE…




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Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM (PST)
Mission Valley Resort
875 Hotel Circle South
San Diego, CA 92108

California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations in partnership with RI International – San Diego is hosting a forum.

See You Soon!

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California Department of Housing and Community Development | (916) 263-7400
2020 W. El Camino Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95833

No Place Like Home Program (AB 1618)

Design Workshops & Public Comment Period
Proposed Program Framework

The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is hosting the following regional workshops to present the initial NPLH program design. As a part of the program design process, HCD has developed a draft framing paper, which outlines the proposed program infrastructure. The public comment period for the draft framing paper begins on December 21st and ends on January 31st.

Here’s a list of upcoming workshops and a webinar.
Please email Heidi or comment on the news thread to let us know if you’re attending. Thanks!

SACRAMENTO – January 3, 2017 
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
State Department of Housing and Community Development
2020 W. El Camino Ave. Rm 402
Sacramento, CA 95833
Register to attend

SAN FRANCISCO – January 6, 2017 
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Association of Bay Area Governments
375 Beale Street
Yerba Buena Room
San Francisco, CA 94105
Register to attend

REDDING – January 11, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Redding City Hall
777 Cypress Avenue
Council Chambers Room
Redding, CA 96001
Register to attend

LOS ANGELES – January 13, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Ronald Reagan Building (Auditorium)
300 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Register to attend

FRESNO – January 24, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Central Valley Community Foundation
5260 N. Palm Ave. Suite 122
The Center for Community Room
Fresno, CA 93704
Register to attend

WEBINAR, January 26, 2017
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

NYAPRS Summary of Key Mental Health Provisions
within the ‘21st Century Cures Act’

The 21st Century CURES Act passed both the House and Senate and is going to the President for signature. President Obama has publicized that he will sign the bill. This is a huge bill that covers cancer research, the opiate epidemic and more. Within the bill is a lengthy section entitled,” Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016.”

Although this mental health legislation is not the same repressive legislation that was introduced 4 years ago and actively opposed by mental health advocacy organizations, including consumer advocacy organizations, there are still measures in it that threaten to turn the clock back on the recovery oriented direction of the behavioral health system of the last 20 plus years.

Following is an excellent analysis of the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016” by NYAPRS, the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

Sally Zinman



It’s with excitement and joy that we are announcing a new office location.
That’s right! CAMHPRO is moving.

The CAMHPRO office has been in San Francisco, sharing space with one of our member organizations Mental Health America – San Francisco (MHA-SF) and it has recently been determined that our move is to Oakland. We are sad to leave San Francisco and the relationship developed with MHA-SF, but we’re equally encouraged by the change.

CAMHPRO will now be nestled at The Cove, located at 2000 Embarcadero Cove, Suite 400 Box 80, 94606 We would like to thank Pool of Consumer Champions (POCC), a CAMHPRO member organization, for making this possible. This change will be effective Wednesday, November 30, 2016. In our venture to create this new office, we hope to keep a strong network with our communities who are involved in California’s mental health movement.

Please don’t hesitate to email us with any questions. Even though we are moving our office location, we’re always available via email. Our website and contact information will be updated shortly. It brings us pleasure to serve you as your liaison to others who are advocating for awareness and change. Keep doing what you’re doing, and we will all make the changes that are needed.

Thanks for your time

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force Announces New Actions and Recommendations

Today, the White House announced that the federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force released its final report. In the final report [PDF – 947 KB], the Task Force included a series of actions and recommendations to help ensure better implementation of parity; help consumers, providers, and plans understand how parity works; and ensure appropriate oversight and enforcement of parity protections. These steps are based on input the Task Force received through a series of listening sessions held between March and October, and through the more than 1,100 public comments the Task Force received from individuals with mental health and substance use disorders, families, their providers, advocates, and other stakeholders.

As part of this Task Force, SAMHSA and the Department of Labor have released a Consumer Guide to Disclosure Rights: Making the Most of Your Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits to help consumers, their representatives, and providers understand what type of information to ask for when inquiring about a plan’s compliance with parity and to explain the various federal disclosure laws that also require disclosure of information related to parity.

Khatera Aslami-Tamplen leaves CAMHPRO’s Board

As one of the founding members of CAMHPRO, Khatera Aslami-Tamplen, was instrumental in participating in the calls, meetings and planning that led its establishment. Khatera was among the first Board Members of CAMHPRO, representing Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (P.E.E.R.S), a member organization, for which she then served as Executive Director. She later served as an At-Large Member of the Board when she left her employment at P.E.E.R.S.  Khatera has served as Vice President for the last 2 years, and on the Executive Committee since she became a Board Member.

In Khatera’s tenure on the Board, she has combined a deep understanding of CAMHPRO’s principles and values with a wealth of personal wisdom, practical judgement and leadership experience in management, financial acumen, non-profit philanthropy, state and county level mental health advocacy and public policy. She has served CAMHPRO as a persuasive spokeswoman. Our Executive Director is thankful for the many hours Khatera shared her advice and counsel on a myriad of topics.

It is with admiration and gratitude we thank Khatera Aslami-Tamplen for sharing her passion, intellect and experience with us, and wish her well in her future endeavors.

Our Board Members donate their valuable time to advocate for the important role that CAMHPRO plays in creating strong leadership for the California statewide consumer movement. They provide fiscal oversight and set the direction needed to provide innovative and high-quality programs.  Khatera has excelled in fulfilling these duties.

Alternatives Conference 2017
Friday August 18 – Monday August 21

The National Empowerment Center, a National Consumer Technical Assistance Center, is pleased to announce that the Alternatives Conference 2017 will be held in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Park Plaza from Friday, August 18 through Monday, August 21, 2017.
Announcements will be sent when further information is available, which will include the Call for Presentations, an online submission link, hotel reservation information, and a direct link to online room reservations. Follow The National Empowerment Center on Facebook and Twitter.
This notice is from the Technical Assistance Center of the National Empowerment Center
Tel: 1-800-POWER2U, 1-978-685-1494    Email:     Web:
Funded in part by: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services

Where’d the Bills Go?

Wrapping Up CA 2016 Legislation Important to Mental Health Consumers and Looking to 2017

Wed, Oct 12
10:30 AM

California State Advocacy: Review of the life cycle of a bill. Description of California 2016 legislative outcomes–bills just signed into law and important ones that didn’t make it. Issues important to people with mental health challenges and the community at large for potentially new legislation in the 2017 session. Covered bills include:

  • Extend AOT (Involuntary Outpatient Treatment) beyond 2017 Sunset Date &-Encouraging Counties to Collaborate on AOT
  • Allow Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Funding for 5150 Psychiatric Involuntary 3-day Holds
  • Funding for Mental Health Awareness License Plates for Stigma Education
  • Require a Psychiatric Bed Registry
  • Require MHSA County-by-County Spending Reports
  • Require State Certification for Peer, Parent, Transition Age, Family Support Specialists

… and more …

Regional Forum for Los Angeles Region onlyPolicy Forum on Peer Support/Family Specialist Services & State Certification

October 18, 2016, 10 AM –3 PM REGISTER HERE

Alpert Jewish Community Center
3801 E. Willow Street
Long Beach, CA

Audience: County Behavioral Health Administration, Service Area Advisory staff and members, and Peer Leaders (consumer, consumer youth, family member of an adult and parent of a child/youth) from each Service Area in the Los Angeles Region

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Speak Up ! Take Action ! Create Change !
We invite you to attend a Meet n’ Greet Wednesday September 21, 2016 at the #AltCon Alternatives Conference. This event is from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm at the Town and Country Convention Center

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Upcoming #AltCon Alternative Conference 2016 in San Diego. Our very own Sally Zinman will be a panelist and keynote speaker Monday Night 9.19 for the History Panel and Wednesday Morning 9.21 for the Plenary

Check out the Alternative Conference Website for more information

Join us at the 2016 Alternative Conference in San Diego. Sept. 19-23. Our very own Sally Zinman will be a keynote speaker for two of those days.

CAMHPRO is tabling at the Conference, too. If you can make the conference, please stop by, say hello, and see what we have for legislative updates and more information about training and education on advocacy.


San Joaquin County
September 13, 2016
1:00 – 4:00 pm
The Stockton Wellness Center

Peer Specialist Training and Certification Programs: A National Overview

The certified peer specialist workforce is relatively new in the behavioral health field, with state recognized certification programs first emerging in 2001. Within this short timeframe, states have recognized the potential of peer specialists to improve individual outcomes by promoting recovery. A nearly universal definition of a peer specialist is: an individual with lived experience who has initiated his/her own recovery journey and assists others who are in earlier stages of the recovery process. As of July 2016, 41 states and the District of Columbia have established programs to train and certify peer specialists and 2 states are in the process of developing and/or implementing a program.


~~Don’t Be Confused~~
SB 614 is now being used for a different bill.

Senate Bill 614 was “gutted and amended” into a totally different bill. Senate Bill 614 is no longer the Peer Certification bill. The bill is now titled, “Criminal Procedure: Legal Assistance: ability to pay.”

SB 614 Memo to DHCS_81716_Final: This document will provide the detailed report on the “collective decision not to move Senate Bill 614 (Leno) forward this year.”

Senate Bill 614, Peer Certification 
Not moving forward at this time

This decision was made by the author, Senator Leno, and the sponsors of the bill, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CHBDA) of California, in collaboration with major stakeholder groups. An agreement could not be reached with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), the agency that would have been charged with implementation of the bill.

CAMHPRO specifically had issue with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) not agreeing to the bill as amended in August, 2015, and based on the recommendations as a result of a six-year stakeholder process. CAMHPRO will continue collaboration with the other stakeholder groups (CHBDA, CA State Association of Rehabilitation Agencies (CASRA), United Advocates for Children and Family (UACF), CA Youth Empowerment Network (CAYEN), Pacific Clinics, CA Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives (CAADPE), National Alliance on Mental Illness of CA (NAMI CA), CA Mental Health Planning Council) to propose and pass a bill that maintains the definitions and integrity of genuine peer support services for a State peer support specialist certification process.

Work on peer certification will continue in the fall of 2016 for the new legislative session.


The Voice Awards, hosted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Los Angeles,  honors consumer/peer leaders and television and film professionals who educate the public about behavioral health.

Through her work, outreach efforts  and the sharing of her personal story of resilience, wellness and recovery, Sally Zinman, The Executive Director of CAMHPRO, has been awarded the 2016 Voice Award in the Consumer/Peers Category. She tirelessly models and demonstrates how people with mental health challenges can and do recover, lead meaningful lives, and contribute to their communities.
Sally Zinman, is a groundbreaking leader in the consumer movement. She relentlessly leads policy efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination, ensure the rights of consumers and advance self-determination.
If interested in participation (Register before Friday August, 5 2016) :

WHEN: Wednesday, August 10, 2016
WHERE: UCLA’s Royce Hall
ARRIVALS AND PRE-SHOW: 6 p.m., West Lobby and Ahmanson Terrace
AWARDS PROGRAM: 7:30 p.m., Royce Hall Theater
Use #VoiceAwards to join the behavioral health conversation

The following statement is Sally Zinman’s Voice Award speech

Thank you for this wonderful award. I want to thank my family who are here. I also want to thank my other family of mental health consumer advocates and leaders who have worked tirelessly to change the mental health system for others, for themselves, and, ultimately, for the system itself. We – all of us- have been soldiers in a march toward transformation from a system based on chronicity to one of recovery, from a system that decided everything about us without us to one in which nothing is about us without us, from a system that considered people with lived experience as not able to run their own lives to one that values consumer run programs and peer support , from a system based on force to one based on choice and self determination, and from a world that dehumanized and isolated people with lived experience to one that embraces us as neighbors, friends, family members, business colleagues, and every kind of profession.

I remember my feelings as I left my own incarceration. I wanted to do something about it so that those that followed me would not experience the same inhumane treatment as I had. This award is for and because of all of those who felt the same way and did and are doing something about it. I am not standing here alone.


The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) issued the following statement on July 4, 2016:

HR 2646, the Tim Murphy Bill, will be voted on by the House on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Though it is unlikely House members will change their minds at this time, we must contact them. HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, sponsored by Tim Murphy (R, PA), will be voted on by the House this coming Wednesday, July 6, 2016. The E&C Committee voted unanimously in support of the bill in June.  It is highly unlikely we will be able to stop the passage of the bill on the House floor. However, we still MUST register our objections and cite the specific issues that are the most dangerous to the c/s/x community. See talking points below.

The feedback we have received to date is that HR 2646 was greatly amended and much was taken out. It is now considered a bipartisan bill, with Democrats supporting it as equally as Republicans. All members of the House need to hear from us that DESPITE significant changes, HR 2646 is still dangerous for people with mental health conditions. Our voice has been silenced in the bill. The very people who receive MH services have been excluded from developing changes in mental health care that are urgently needed.

Directory of California Representatives
Senators of the 114th Congress

The Senate

S. 2680, the Senate bill introduced by Chris Murphy, needs to be protected from amendments from the floor or changes during conference with the House. Call the home offices of your senators for meetings if possible. If meetings are not possible, call and/or write them to insist that no amendments or changes be accepted from the House bill. Use the same talking points provided in this alert. Our best hope lies with the Senate and S. 2680, sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy, (D, CT). Though it does not have the solutions we need, it is far less dangerous than HR 2646. The Senate is expected to take up the bill this summer or fall. We need to contact our senators and say the following: Do not accept any amendments to S. 2680 from the House. Use the same talking points provided. People should call their senators and set up an appointment to meet with them during the recess when they will be home for July and August, as soon as possible. Organize people to go in groups to the extent possible. If meetings are not possible, please call and write anyway.

When you speak to a legislative aide over the phone, choose 2-3 of the following points:

1) Nothing about us without us. HR 2646 excludes the voice of people who have lived experience with mental health issues in decisions that dramatically affect our lives.

2)  The bill expands grant funding and the timeframes for Assisted Outpatient Treatment. There is no evidence that outpatient commitment is more effective than voluntary care.

3) HR 2646 significantly weakens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

4)  HR 2646 uses “anosognosia” as a rationale to relax confidentiality issues and promote forced treatment. There is no scientific basis for anosognosia in mental health.

5) The bill is hostile to programs and concepts of recovery.

6) Increased services in the community are needed; they cannot be replaced by hospitals.

For a detailed analysis of the above talking points.

Please let us know that you’ve called your Representative and what their response was. We need to gauge how much impact we have.  Please email us with the following information at

· Representative’s name

· Outcome of call

·  Any comments you might have