California’s protection & advocacy system
For legal assistance call 800-776-5746. For all other purposes call 916-504-5800 in Northern CA
or 213-213-8000 in Southern CA. TTY 800-719-5798.
In the Peer Self-Advocacy program (PSA), individuals with mental health disabilities share experiences and help their peers speak up, make decisions, help each other and live the lives they choose. We reach out and provide self-advocacy groups and trainings where people live and in the community. The PSA knows that change can and does happen.
We help fight the mental health stigma and discrimination we experience as peers by remembering those who came before us. Our California Memorial Project holds annual Remembrance Day ceremonies on the third Monday of September. These ceremonies honor people with mental health and developmental disabilities who lived and died in state institutions without the acknowledgement and respect they deserved. We also place memorial monuments throughout the state on hospital grounds or local cemeteries where people from these institutions were buried. Our plans include restoring these cemeteries, collecting personal stories from people who lived in institutions and creating a video about the project and the history of the peer movement. California Memorial Project website: https://californiamemorialproject.wordpress.com/
“Irene” participates in the “El Progreso” self-advocacy group at a mental health clinic. She applied for Section 8 housing a few years ago and recently moved into a third floor apartment. She was happy to have her own home, but she was in poor health due to a heart condition. It was nearly impossible to walk up three flights of stairs. After she told group members about this, the group learned about housing rights and reasonable accommodations. We reviewed and discussed several DRC publications, including “Supportive Housing under the Mental Health Services Act,” “Providing Reasonable Modifications to Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities,” and “Tenants with Mental Health Disabilities: The Right to Reasonable Modifications in Housing.” After learning her rights, Irene wrote a letter to management specifying all the accommodations she needed. Within a month, she moved from the third floor to the first floor. The group celebrated her success and saw change can and does happen when you know your rights.
Moving to the Community
A bilingual PSA group member wanted to get out of a locked facility to care for his mother. We provided information about challenging an LPS conservatorship. As a result, “Jose” learned steps to get off conservatorship and move into the community. He developed a discharge plan that included talking with his doctor about his medications and getting third party assistance to show the court he could provide for his food, clothing and shelter. He asked his pastor help by reminding him to take his medication and identify community support groups. Jose wanted to get training at the community college in auto maintenance. We gave him information about Department of Rehabilitation services and how they might help him attend school. We also gave him information about the Client Assistance Program to help him advocate for what he needed.
With knowledge and skills he gained from attending the self-advocacy group, Jose successfully developed a plan to live independently in the community.
Peer/Self Advocacy Training Manual (December 1997, #5066.01)
Definitions of Stigma and Discrimination Fact Sheet (pdf) (rtf) (html) (Pub #CM04.01, July 2012) Now also available in Spanish (pdf), Korean (pdf), Chinese (pdf), Vietnamese (pdf), Cambodian (pdf), Russian (pdf), Armenian (pdf), and Arabic (pdf)
A Stereotype that Harms People with Mental Health Challenges (pdf) (rtf) (html) (Pub #CM07.01, July 2012) Now also available in Spanish (pdf), Korean (pdf), Chinese (pdf), Vietnamese (pdf), Cambodian (pdf), Russian (pdf), Armenian (pdf), and Arabic (pdf)
People First Language in Mental Health Fact Sheet (pdf) (rtf) (html) (Pub #CM02.01, April 2012) Now also available in Spanish (pdf), Korean (pdf), Chinese (pdf), Vietnamese (pdf), Cambodian (pdf), Russian (pdf), Hmong (pdf), Armenian (pdf), and Arabic (pdf)
Anonymous no more, Ukiah Daily Journal, 9/21/11
Forgotten residents of Mendocino State Hospital are commemorated, The Press Democrat, 9/19/16
Napa State Hospital remembers deceased patients, Napa Valley Register, 9/19/16
Patton State Hospital Remembrance Ceremony, Highland News, 9/18/17
Senate Bill 1448 (2002) - California Memorial Project - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200120020SB1448
Senate Bill 258 (2006) – California Memorial Project - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200520060SB258
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 123 (2010) - California Memorial Project Remembrance Day - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200920100ACR123
Assembly Bill 1470 (2012) – Budget bill modifying CMP statute - http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB1470&search_keywords=%22california+memorial+project%22
National Empowerment Center - http://www.power2u.org
JAN - Job Accommodation Network - http://askjan.org
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=dbsa_aboutdbsa
National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse - http://www.mhselfhelp.org
PEERS - Peers Envisioning & Engaging in Recovery Services - http://www.peersnet.org
Easy Voter Guide - http://www.easyvoter.org
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law - www.bazelon.org
Disability Benefits 101 (DB101 California): Working with a Disability - https://ca.db101.org
2017 Social Security Redbook - https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/eng/ssdi-and-ssi-employments-supports.html