Spreading the Word That Each Mind Matters in Modesto


On May 15, staff from Telecare’s TRAC/TMRS/SHOP programs set up a booth at the Amgen Tour of California. The Tour de France-style cycling road race came through Modesto, where program staff greeted community members and informed them about the services they provide within the community. During the event, staff connected with other community resources, linked up with potential members, and even participated in the parade.  

Telecare Riverside PHF & CSU Celebrate Hospital and Nurses Week

Telecare's Riverside County Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) and Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) celebrated Hospital and Nurses week May 7-13.

The support staff brought in meals for all three shifts, conducted a scavenger hunt, and had an old-fashioned ice cream social.

"Everyone had a blast and our entire facility came together to Celebrate our Team and the Telecare Mission," said Steven Oppenheimer, Administrator at Riverside PFH.

Lagos Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Open House

On May 3, Telecare and Riverside University Health System hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for a brand-new Mental Health Crisis Center in Riverside County where Telecare will operate the Telecare Lagos Crisis Residential Treatment (CRT) Facility when it opens in July 2017.

"The ribbon cutting ceremony was a wonderful celebration where we had the opportunity to connect with various partners and department heads from Riverside County," said Beatrice Serafin, Regional Director of Operations for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. "We hosted an information booth, met our neighbors at the site, and gave facility tours to individuals attending the celebration. It was a great way to introduce everyone to the Lagos Program."

The Lagos CRT will be a 16-bed, unlocked, voluntary psychiatric recovery program with the goal of stabilizing individuals experiencing a mental health crisis by providing intensive and structured psychosocial recovery services in a non-institutional, welcoming, safe, and respectful environment.

A powerful and unique component of the Lagos program will be the various Peer Support Provider positions, which will comprise 50% of the overall staffing pattern. "Peer Support Providers are uniquely qualified to inspire and engage residents to reclaim their personal power and achieve their recovery goals," said Jennifer Hinkel, Vice President of Development. "This program will include several positions from our Peer Support Provider career ladder, including Peer Support Specialists, Family Peer Support Specialists, Peer Recovery Educators, as well as a Peer Team Leader who will provide support to all the Peer Provider positions."

LAOA Participated in the Campaign to Change Direction

Telecare LA Older Adult programs participated in the global Campaign to Change Direction in which organizations around the world held training's and workshops to spread awareness on the Five Signs of emotional suffering and ways to help a person in need.  One goal is to change the cultural narrative of how people with mental health challenges are viewed. Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, and Prince Harry of England are big names lending their time and energy to this worthy campaign.    

LAOA invited building tenants and businesses to a conversation on mental wellness and recognizing the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering. Door prizes/raffles, food, and drink were provided to create a welcoming and safe environment to begin a dialogue on wellness and begin demystifying mental health. 

 The 5 signs are:

  1. Personality Change
  2. Agitation or mood swings
  3. Withdrawn/Isolated
  4. Poor Self Care
  5. Feeling hopeless

Ways to combat and help those in need:

  1. Take Care- Eat well, Sleep well and exercise
  2. Check-In- With family, friends, counselors
  3. Engage- With others, create healthy relationships
  4. Relax- Be active, meditate, garden, dance, love
  5. Know– Know the 5 Signs of emotional suffering

TRAC/TMRS/SHOP Programs Collaborate with Modesto Police Department

Telecare’s Modesto outreach programs have teamed up with the four of the Modesto Police Department's (MPD) newest officers that have been hired on to work with the homeless population in the community.

“If the officers suspect that the person might have a mental health diagnosis or substance use disorder, they will phone our outreach staff, Randy Limburg and Maria Madrigal, to assist with linking them to needed services,” said Dawn Lewis, Program Business Director at the Telecare Recovery Access Center (TRAC).

“In the five weeks that this MPD team has been in place, at least four people have been successfully linked,” she said.

Telecare has multiple outreach programs in the Stanislaus County area that provide a wide array of community outreach and linkage services

  • Westside Stanislaus Homeless Outreach Program (SHOP)
    • Outreach and Engagement 1 focuses on the area’s homeless population
    • Outreach and Engagement 3 team provides psycho-education and mental health services with the intent of reducing stigma in mental health
    • Latino Access specifically provides outreach and psycho-education on mental health to the county’s Latino population
  • TRAC provides a continuity of care and a menu of outpatient treatment options
    • Partnership TRAC serves clients who have previously been under served and/or uninsured
    • Fast TRAC serves clients who are under served, many of whom are un-benefited
    • Wellness TRAC serves clients that are low-risk and can benefit from low-intensity services, primarily medication services and group offerings
    • Josie’s TRAC serves Transitional Age Youth (TAY) 18-25
  • Telecare Modesto Recovery Services (TMRS) serves primarily clients residing in Modesto with a history psychiatric hospitalization

STEPS Orange County Spruces Up Santa Ana

Three staff members and 17 members from the STEPS Orange County participated in the Love Santa Ana Initiative Day of Community Beautification event on Saturday, April 8.

The volunteer event aimed to improve and transform the Casa Bonita and Bella Vista neighborhoods through service activities such as painting fences, murals, gardening, planting trees, removing graffiti, and picking up trash.

One STEPS member enjoyed the painting so much, he said he would like to look for a job as a house painter now that he knows how much he likes it, while another member said she felt a sense of importance from helping others. Staff member Nhi Thai was even interviewed by a local TV news channel about the day's events.

Once the volunteering was done, the group got to partake in resource fair activities, which included music, games, and other fun festivities.

Great work, team STEPS Orange County!

Nursing Skills Fair at La Casa

This year La Casa’s nursing department participated in a Nursing Skills Fair as an alternative method for meeting difficult training requirements. With a St Patrick’s Day theme, participants enjoyed fun activities with giveaways and games. The event took about two hours to complete, however, it was offered from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. so all shifts could participate.

“The wonderful part about this event is that the nursing staff could ask questions on a one-to-one basis about very important skills they use on a daily basis,” said Director of Staff Development, Nona Hall-Sandoval.

Although music and food added to the ambiance, the event was not all fun and games. “We were asked questions and asked to demonstrate our skills in order to test our level of competency in areas like Pro-Act, head to toe assessment, and vital signs. Some of it was challenging!” remembers Mali So, Nurse Supervisor.

In order to have qualified individuals as trainers, registered nurse house supervisors, the Director of Staff Development, the Director of Facilities, a ward clerk, a 17-year rehabilitation department veteran, and a Mental Health Worker II were used as content experts. Cerritos College Nursing students also helped out with each table including the registration table.

“Our favorite activity was the diversity table where we got to make beaded necklaces that represented the diversity of our lives. It was eye opening that our life is actually very diverse,” said Danette Calloway and Brandy Rerucha.

More than 100 employees successfully completed the fair. “This event could not have happened without the teamwork and cooperation of all departments, leadership, and staff. It was a true success,” said Nona. This is the second-annual Nursing Skills Fair and La Casa is excited to make this an annual tradition.

Riverside County PHF & CSU Attend Suicide Prevention Walk

On April 1, staff from Telecare’s Riverside County Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) and Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) attended the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Walk in Palm Desert, CA.

The Out of the Darkness Walk honors those who have been lost to suicide, and raises suicide awareness and prevention. The event this year included a resource fair, a remembrance tent for survivors of suicide loss, and a “messages of hope” area for survivors and supports to share kind words and create a community of caring.

The colors that the staff wore paid tribute to a personal struggle, loss, or awareness: 

  • Blue for suicide prevention support
  • Purple for loss of a loved one or relative
  • Green for personal attempt

It was a great event in which the Telecare staff was participated with pride.

Stults House Decorates their Activity Room

Telecare’s Stults House program in Portland, Oregon recently spiffed up their activity room by adding a beautiful, completely original, scenic mural painted by staff and residents. They started with an image of the Columbia Gorge as a guide, with each participant adding their personal creativity.

When asked what would be a good title for the mural, residents suggested calling it Sunrise, The River, or Coming Together to Paint.

“We all took part in something great. It increased our bond for something special,” said one resident.

Another resident said watching the paint and looking at it after was their favorite part, while another’s was painting the sunrise.

The mural is on a wall in the art and activity room of the five-bed residential program, where Recovery Specialist Dani Dierking regularly facilitates art therapy groups.

Art therapy is a powerful vehicle for communication for those with mental illness. It can allow for residents to develop greater insight into themselves, their lives, and their recovery,” said Dani. “It can be used to help residents learn to self-regulate and to organize their thoughts. It also is an excellent way to help residents learn the social skills to support one another through creating art, which was exemplified in this mural project.”

Overall, it was a fantastic effort by all and an awesome example of Telecare’s RCCS and the recovery model in action.

A big thank you to all the staff and residents that created such beautiful imagery for their program, as well as Dani for submitting the story!

Links We Love

  • Every two years, Alameda County's EveryOne Home sets out to conduct a point-in-time homeless count in the county. The group and volunteers go out into the community and provide survey questionnaires to those who are living outdoors. The data collected from the survey is used to help the county better serve the homeless.
  • From funny to brutally honest, Buzzfeed has a list of 29 young adult books about mental health that are a perfect gift idea.
  • The Senate has passed HR 34, or the 21st Century Cures Act. According to NAMI, HR 34 contains a number of provisions designed to improve access to needed care and foster recovery, which could prevent consequences from lack of mental health care such as homelessness, hospitalizations, suicides, and unnecessary incarceration. 

Using Art to Overcome Tough Times

For many members, finding inspiration in recovery can be difficult, especially when things that are supposed to help, like medication, can cause discouraging side effects. The Recovery Center at Woodburn (RCW) in Oregon understands that there are challenges in recovery, and takes the time to work with members so they can overcome these hardships.

Sarah Lahey, a Rehab Therapist at RCW, has shared with us a story about Robert, a resident at Woodburn for the past two years, who was able to find a way to balance getting better and continuing doing what he loves: art.  

This month, Robert was featured in a local art show. He shares about his recovery process and inspiration through his artist biography below.


Robert is a self-taught artist and contemporary painter from Woodburn, Oregon. His love for art started five years ago following a dark period of recovery and adjustment from a disability. An unfortunate side effect of the medications he needed for his treatment caused severe hand tremors, which he still has today. Although this was a challenging time in Robert’s life, through perseverance and a self-taught technique of bracing his hands on the surface of the canvas, he found joy in the one area he initially had very little control over: painting.

Robert is a spiritual person and sees his art as a way of giving back. Although he has done a series of delicate flowers and a songbird collection, his real joy of painting centers on the childhood delight of big machinery and earth moving vehicles.

Robert’s current work displayed in this art show evokes the iconic childhood experience of playing with Matchbox cars and Tonka Trucks. There is a hopefulness to his imagery that is tied to his future goals, yet connects back to his earliest hopes and dreams: the ones where he wished he was big enough to reach the peddles, tall enough to see over the steering wheel, and trusted enough to run the equipment. His work represents every bit of being a man, being in charge, and creating or building something that he can call his own. Both in his personal life and in his paintings, Robert strives for autonomy, independence, and freedom. 

Robert has lived all over Oregon, but favors the more rural places where he has the space to dream. His paintings are acrylic on canvas and his signature works consist of bold, bright colors, playfully capturing his perspective of trucks and construction vehicles in action. This is his first show.

Holiday Art Contest Winners

We are excited to reveal our holiday card and 2017 Recovery Calendar!

We would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the programs and artists who took the time to create such lovely works of art and poetry–we wish the year was longer so everyone's art could be displayed.

Links We Love

Recovery Happens 2016

Telecare RISE participated in the Recovery Happens 2016 mental health and substance use recovery resource fair on Saturday, September 30.

The fair, sponsored by Riverside County Mental Health Department, takes place in September each year in Riverside County as a part of National Recovery Month. Recovery Happens is intended to help unite those already in recovery and spread the message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover. The event included many activities such as a dunk tank, a recovery walk, live music, free hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, and an awards ceremony.  

Telecare RISE took part as one of the exhibitors to inform participants about our Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, and to gather information and increase collaboration with county partners and contract providers in helping members achieve their goals and dreams.

Another exhibitor was Art Works, a nonprofit company that assists clients with disabilities to create and sell works of art that individuals and companies can purchase to decorate their office space. “Their services can empower our members and allow their works of art to be celebrated in the community,” said Telecare RISE Administrator Stephen Thorpe.

Anxy Magazine Seeks to Smash the Stigma

There aren’t many print mediums outside of scientific journals seeking to open up conversations around mental health-related topics. Anxy, a peer-led print magazine currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, aims to do just that—normalize the conversation about mental illness and “smash those stigmas”.

“We intend to cut through the clutter and open up conversations about those transformative moments in powerful personal narratives.” said Anxy’s Founder and Creative Director, Indhira Rojas. “Anxy exists to demonstrate that sometimes the darkest and most paralyzing experiences can have empowering ripple effects in our lives.” 

Anxy will be a bi-annual print magazine with different themes—personal struggles, loneliness, or fears, for example—paired with stunning visuals, photo essays, and personal narratives by and for people with lived experience. 

The Kickstarter campaign for Anxy ends on October 19—and they still have some little ways to go. If you feel this project is necessary, consider supporting it in a way that works for you: make a contribution, share the news within your networks, or spread the word on Facebook or Twitter.

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September's Spotlight on Mental Health

September is a busy month for generating awareness on mental health issues. Every year, SAMHSA sponsors it as National Recovery Month as a way to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues and to celebrate those in recovery. This year, the theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” People in recovery are encouraged to share their personal journeys and connect with others on SAMHSA’s forum. 

The second week of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Week to help promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide, the third leading cause of death among young people. On September 10, 2016, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day to connect individuals affected by suicide and to raise awareness on suicidal ideation and the treatment services available.

There are a variety of events and awareness campaigns taking place around the country that you can be a part of. Below are some ideas to get you started: