Fresno’s Mental Health Community Wonder Woman a Candidate for NAMI California Board | AmericanBadassActivists.org Endorsed (A Vote for Chris is a Vote for Peer Voice!)

Christina A. Valdez-Roup | Executive Director, NAMI Fresno

Core Competencies / Expertise

Sectors: Business, Non-Profit, Education, Law Enforcement
Competencies: Financial and Fundraising
Region: Central California

Member of NAMI Fresno County


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Candidate’s plan to help NAMI California move forward:

Become one of the most accomplished mental health organizations in the state

“Since joining NAMI Fresno, I have recognized the value of collaborating in our community and have worked towards building strong partnerships with key stakeholders. We have grown in our capacity to deliver support groups, classes, and many presentations, both signature and customized to help reduce stigma and educate our community as a whole. As our awareness and presence have been elevated in the Central Valley, we have become the point agency for agencies such as law enforcement,

school districts/educators, hospitals, mental health providers, criminal justice leaders, families and loved ones. Through these efforts and with the national and state recognition of our organization, I have moved from a role of presenters for our part of the Memphis model CIT training to becoming an active and true partner in this project with our first responder lead, American Ambulance.

13626622_10153633323892823_958854148564505697_n

Together, we work to identify our partners involved, ensuring that our law enforcement officers truly receive a value to participating in this training to improve our community. Not only do they walk away with new tools, but they recognize the value NAMI Fresno brings to families in need of education and support. We started with CHP over a year ago and various other LE agencies, and now have a 3 year commitment from Fresno PD to provide the 40-hr training model to all patrol officers. The education and criminal justice leaders in our community have continued to include NAMI Fresno in their efforts to provide support and education to the populations and families they serve. I am on the CIT steering committee, the County’s suicide task force being developed, on the United States court team that is developing a behavioral health court program. I also participate in the cultural diversity, justice, substance use, and children’s sub-committees for Fresno County’s Behavioral Health Board.”


18301099_1323987551016186_4340723635303179984_nIdentify and procure diverse funding sources

“I have been able to reach out to various funding partners in our community to seek diverse funding such as Central California Women’s Conference, Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health Workforce Education Training program. NAMI Fresno has also participated in financial literacy program through the Central Valley Community Foundation to assist us with our structure and ability to measure our outcomes in dollars visually. We have diversified our local board members to be able to reach their corporate foundation support. I have also strengthened our relationship with our local university to leverage their philanthropic and community service efforts as well. I believe with this knowledge, I will be able to take this same process and assist with extending this across the state.”


17103487_10210817826754830_7043339326684441865_nDefine NAMI California’s role in relation to its national and local state organizations

“The state affiliate serves as our local affiliate’s foundation. By aligning our efforts, we strengthen and elevate our ability to achieve the one common goal we all have…to make NAMI a household name for all those affected by mental health challenges. In doing so, we will restore lost hope and continuously demonstrate recovery is possible and make strides in reducing stigma not just in our local communities but within our entire state. I can assist with my knowledge and efforts in such a diverse area and commitment to law enforcement and criminal justice systems. With the guidance and support of NAMI California, our national organization will know and be confident that our diverse state’s needs are truly represented along with progress and success in supporting those we serve.”


13533240_10209227266057056_169797502141079258_nBuild capacity to attract and retain members and develop new leaders

“I feel that as we continue to stay true to our mission, remain actively engaged in our communities, then we will demonstrate the value of membership. Current and new members will see our reach, support and impact in their families. This is the value that our donors are looking to support. As we continue to sustain and increase our funding, we will have the capacity to support the time and efforts of new leaders from our community. I believe they will feel that they are supporting an organization with vision and purpose and one that is contributing to the good of those affected by mental illness. This comes from leading by example. As I model this behavior, others join me as they see the respect and success gained from it.”


Increase NAMI California’s visibility

“Due to my extensive and active involvement throughout the central valley, far beyond the city limits of Fresno, I feel that my contributions at the state level will be seen throughout this region. I would be able to share with our local areas what other areas in the state may be doing ensuring that we continue to move in directions that complement each other while respecting diversity as appropriate. ”


Increase awareness and acceptance that mental illness is a treatable condition where resilience and recovery is possible

“With my personal lived experience, and stepping forward to share my own story, I model this very statement. I have been on both ends of the spectrum of wellness. It was learning through our education programs, support from our volunteers, and finding safety in our work, that I was able to then know the direction to seek appropriate help and reach recovery. I am also aware that is requires attention to my own wellness to stay on the healthy end, but my very own success demonstrates the ability to thrive after an onset. I am trained in two of our programs, NAMI Ca MH 101 and ETS, to share this information with our community and will continue to do so to reduce stigma and restore hope for those who may have lost sight of it.”


15000689_10211502122372501_527409261058486779_oEmbrace and promote diversity and inclusion

“Raised in a traditional Mexican family in Texas, I understand the cultural differences that influenced my understanding of how mental illness/health challenges are viewed and treated. This helps me understand the extremely diverse community of the central valley region. In addition to my own cultural influence, my work with the cultural diversity sub-committee of the Behavioral Health Board and the CIT training have helped me to see the need to respect culture as we approach treatment, and acceptance and recovery. Knowing my limits and allowing strong collaboration with the various leaders within these cultures allows for opportunities to still support and educate and reduce stigma while remain respectful to culture and traditions.”


13220796_10209869627843285_7741650954713264898_oPartner with health care systems

“As I continue to work in the various committees and task forces, as well as connect with key stakeholders, I am continually receiving requests for support directly to our hospital staff to help them be better providers for our community. I approach this with a collaborative mindset that we must work together to be better. This approach has allow me to discuss sensitive issues regarding stigma in the ER, crisis centers, lack of services in some facilities and true communication to improve”


Define how NAMI California can best serve communities at the local and state levels

“Again, I believe that by having strong representation from individuals such as me that are actively involved in mutual strategic priorities, this allows for optimal opportunities to reach that various communities efficiently and effectively.”


Decriminalize Mental Illness

“I have participated in the Sequential Intercept Mapping process for our county. From that process, I was selected to serve on the CIT steering committee to develop a consistent crisis response effort and develop the team for our county. This involvement, along with the efforts of the CIT training for our Fresno PD officers, the development of a behavioral health court program at the federal level will support NAMI’s efforts to work to decriminalize mental illness by allowing our voice at all points of the process.”


Consumer/Family Member Identity

To ensure compliance with NAMI California’s bylaws, 75 percent of the NAMI Board must be “persons who have or have had lived experience with serious mental illness, or parents or other relatives, including civil partners, thereof.” Candidates are asked to make a statement to this effect.

“I joined NAMI Fresno unaware of my stigma and severity of my mental health. After second suicide attempt (first when 18 in college), through education I realized I was experiencing major depression. I received treatment, achieved recovery. My former boyfriend lives with untreated mental illness, but treated substance use disorder.”


20046489_10154669854077823_7935604060868542290_nCalifornia Statewide Expertise and Experience

Governing at the statewide level requires a perspective and background on issues affecting the state as a whole. Below please discuss your experience with statewide issues and governance.

“I have discussions and worked on efforts for Laura’s Law, AB1424, Prob 63/MHSA as well as the efforts to decriminalize mental illness. In addition to these efforts, I also continuously participate in discussions and work to support efforts to improve diversity issues regarding the LGBTQ and refugee and immigrant populations. Other efforts have been my work in advocating in our community for additional treatment facilities located in Fresno or the central valley.”


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