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NAMI El Dorado County has been serving the needs of families and individuals living with mental health issues in El Dorado County for over 20 years!   We start our 23rd year of service in July 2019 as an official affiliate (but have been advocating for improved services and supports since the early 1980’s.  We provide educational classes for families, individuals, and community organizations, and provide support groups and advocacy for improved services and supports,  In short, we offer support, education, advocacy and awareness to anyone concerned about mental illnesses and the treatment of mental illness including co-occurring substance abuse/dependency.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE: Printable hand-out:NAMI EDC Historical Timeline SEP-2018

A brief history of our affiliate….                                                                 September 2018


Our NAMI El Dorado County affiliate is amongst the original few in the state of California.

NAMI San Mateo County was the birthplace of NAMI.  Watch this video:

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) as it is known today, is the result of the efforts of a few courageous San Mateo County parent leaders, families, friends and professionals who worked tirelessly in the 1970s and 1980s to give birth to an organization that would completely change the way the community viewed mental illness.

This site contains interesting original hand-written notes from founding members:

 “When the social history of our era is written, the plight of persons with schizophrenia will be recorded as having been a national scandal.” E.Fuller Torrey


Pre-1990’s:  We were known as PAMI (Parents Alliance for Mental Illness) – this began in El Dorado County.

1996: Changed to CAMI (California Alliance for Mental Illness) and NAMI El Dorado was formed, non-profit status was received, with two councils: Western Slope and South Lake Tahoe.

2000:May is Mental Health Month Celebration and Board of Supervisors breakfast hosted by NAMI El Dorado was started

2005:NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program launched within our affiliate.

2007:Behavioral Health Court implemented with NAMI El Dorado support and participation.    The first in the nation started in Florida in 1997 and the first in California started in 1999.

2008: NAMI El Dorado participated in the first training of El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputies in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT).   Art class at the county Wellness Center began supported weekly by NAMI El Dorado.

2009:Multi-disciplinary team led by the Sheriff’s office was formed with NAMI participation.   The purpose is to educate multi-disciplinary agencies and provide intervention for mentally ill people at risk within our community (at risk for relapse, homelessness, or arrest.). Our first grant from Marshall Hospital received for educational materials.

2010:Healthy eating / active living grant to provide nutrition education and cooking skills for mental health clients in partnership with local food bank.  [not NAMI services]

2011: NAMI El Dorado in partnership with El Dorado County Mental Health Division hosted multi-county NAMI Provider Education.

2012:In partnership with United Outreach and Community Resource Center, provided materials and speakers to educate community volunteers serving the homeless population.

  • Developed first strategic plan as an affiliate.
  • Developed and launched first website ( maintained by peer mentor.
  • Participated in the first annual Northern Caliofrnia NAMIWalk in Sacramento.

2013:Conducted a four-part education class for Marshall Hospital Certified Nursing Assistants.   Sent 2 individuals to NAMI In Our Own Voice training.

2014:Western Slope implemented a NAMI Peer-to-Peer class and began a NAMI Peer Connection support group that met until 2016 when we were intentional in referring clients to County’s free support groups available M-F 1-4 p.m. where some NAMI peer mentors facilitate some of the groups.

2015: South Lake Tahoe NAMI leadership changes and new thought leadership and strategy introduced.    A strong partnership with Barton Hospital and local providers develops.   First NAMI Family-to-Family taught in South Lake Tahoe.  NAMI El Dorado became “NAMI El Dorado County Western Slope and South Lake Tahoe.”    NAMI El Dorado County continues leadership at monthly Mental Health Commission meetings and is pro-active in advocacy (media, local government awareness.)

2016:Launched new social media including new website : http://namieldoradocounty.orgbrain science focused and actively maintained.  Established Facebook: NAMI El Dorado County.    Doubled the size of our  free newsletter subscriptions.  We participated in training over 120 law enforcement officers in CIT in 2016/17.   We are strong participant at the Barton hosted CMBHC (Community Mental and BH Cooperative – a team of community leaders in South Lake Tahoe working to improve services/supports.).    Measures are put into place.    We acquire Mental Health kiosks in South Lake Tahoe (and maintain them monthly in partnership with Barton Foundation volunteer.).  Post-hospital-transition tip sheet is developed; a recommended reading list is developed.   Two NAMI Support Groups grow in size ranging from 12-22 (Placerville and South Lake Tahoe).  NAMI Spanish outreach begins in South Lake Tahoe at Family Resource Center and Spanish warmline added.  Rack cards are developed for outreach and kiosks. Thanks to a donation by Barton Foundation, we provide a donation of over 70 new books to the county library making El Dorado County library amongst the best for mental illness education in Northern CA.

2017:Launched first NAMI On Campus pilot (brain health leadership club) reaching over 300 students at South Tahoe High School, first NAMI Peer-to-Peer held in South Lake Tahoe.   Many community grants awarded in support of our volunteerism.  We participate on the Executive Leadership team for HRSA grant to Barton and many other community forums.   5 Mental Health kiosks added to Western Slope and expand kiosks in South Lake Tahoe to 8.  We reached over 900 in the community with warmline support, education programs, and outreach and provided thousands of free NAMI educational brochures to the community.     We funded 2 peers to the national NAMI conference who in turn taught first P2P class.

2018:We now officially do business as “NAMI El Dorado County.” Beautiful new rack cards developed and distributed to our 15 community mental health kiosks. We are the 3rd  affiliate in the state to complete NAMI CA’s rigorous re-affiliation process!   A centralized warm-line is added (rather than our personal cell phones) – over 500 callers/year given free support.   Over 1,000 people in the community received our support, education, outreach and/or advocacy.   Largest fundraiser completed to expand Family-to-Family training across the community in honor of Louis Hjerpe ($32,000 donated by over 120 individuals and Johnson&Johnson).

New strategic plan for 2019 is in process   


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