Category Archives: #PEERSATTHETABLE

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. Continue reading 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!)

#PeersAtTheTable | Letters & Rumors ep. 2 | Peers Hired, Worked, De-Hired & Never Paid

#PeersAtTheTable |Letters & Rumors ep. 2 | Peers Hired, Worked, De-Hired & Never Paid

Peers speak out about changes at Blue Sky Wellness Center, managed by Kings View Behavioral Health and funded by Prop. 63.

Rumor | Kings View Hired and Then De-hired Peers

fact_check_2This rumor appears to be a fact.

Two peer volunteers at Blue Sky Wellness Center (managed by Kings View Behavioral Health and funded by Prop. 63), Valerie Stephens and Ashli Moore, were hired  and, soon after, de-hired.

Yes, de-hired without an hour officially on the clock or paycheck seen.

Recently,  American Badass Activists received a letter from Valerie about the situation.


kingsviewI was one of two  members at Blue Sky who has lived mental health experience, and was hired to do peer support at the center.

However, Kings View management went back on their agreement to hire us, even after we had received our employment packets.

Eventually they went on to hire someone without lived experience.  I am so upset about this matter that I am considering getting a lawyer.” — Valerie Stephens


Wow, talk about feeling burned. Many peers, with mental illness onset in teens and early adulthood, often don’t have hope to ever work or have a career. They’re subjected to a lifetime of poverty on SSI. (Currently, income is 600-800 dollars a month without access to food support like SNAP.)

To have a “purpose” in life, a “value” to contribute to society is more-than-can-be-dreamed for most of us living with a severe mental illness, and to be given that hope — interviewed, hired (pissed in a cup even) and given a new employee packet — and then have it yanked? WTF?


There’s got to be a good reason right?

Well, here’s where rumors come in again. Their validity hasn’t been confirmed or denied yet — proved or disproved. Perhaps some of you can help fact-check or give guidance? (americanbadassactivists@gmail.com)

  • Hiring process happened during an ousting of old management and new management was brought in. A de-hired peer was told it was due to too much “illegal activity” by old staff, and they were hired by them. So management had a change of mind and ended up hiring someone without lived experience.

  • Budget change due to raise for a person in executive management, and less funds for new hires. Rumor is also that Blue Sky Wellness Center carries the majority of this manager’s salary — rather than it be spread equally across all centers.

  • Volunteers do the work of paid employees. 

  • Hired peer is working as an onsite-manager while the paid manager oversees 5 centers and is rarely in the building. Peer has the responsibilities but not the title or the salary.

  • There’s more rumors about as well — perhaps some of those later.


Question to Kings View: Do you value peer voice and lived experience when hiring?

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Rumor | Blue Sky Wellness Center Services Were “Privileges”

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In a #PeersAtTheTable letter posted today, it was stated that Brenda Kent, Regional Mental Health Director, told peers of Blue Sky Wellness Center (managed by Kings View Behavioral Health) the hacked services were “privileges.”

With that out went the meals, coffee, laundry and showers.


Question: Are Blue Sky services “privileges” that can be revoked?


Let’s take a look . . . 

The MHSA Peer and Family Support Blue Sky Wellness Center Scope of Work, Exhibit A, identifies the target population as Fresno residents 18-years-old and older, including unserved and underserved cultural, ethnic, and linguistic communities. Continue reading Rumor | Blue Sky Wellness Center Services Were “Privileges”

Letter | Bring Back Food (Please), by Geatana Crunk

blueskymain1

lettertoeditorI would like the food back please because I am diabetic type 2 and need more nutrition for my blood sugar.

Signed,

Geatana Crunk

Continue reading Letter | Bring Back Food (Please), by Geatana Crunk

Letter | “Privilege” Services Are Needed To Get Well, By Ronnie Kassis

blueskymain1

I think Blue Sky should go back to being peer-led.

lettertoeditorInstead of hiring people who have lived experience with mental illness, management has hired people who have only read about mental health problems in books — and are straight out of college. They don’t know how to work with our population.

I am also unhappy about our services being cut. Nobody was aware that these changes would happen or had any say about the matter.

Brenda from Kings View suddenly came to speak to members and said all these services are going to be shut down.

She said that having meals, laundry, and shower services are all a “privilege” but everyone at Blue Sky knows that these things are NEEDED to get well.

Continue reading Letter | “Privilege” Services Are Needed To Get Well, By Ronnie Kassis

Letter | Hungry Between Groups, By Steven

blueskymain1
I don’t like the changes that are taking place at Blue Sky, especially not being able to get meals anymore.

lettertoeditorI get hungry between groups and don’t always have money to bring my own food. When I do it gets stolen. This wasn’t a problem when they were serving to everyone. Continue reading Letter | Hungry Between Groups, By Steven

Letter | Want To Work Again, By Patty Blankem

blueskymain1

I am upset that the food services have been cut off at Blue Sky.

 lettertoeditorI enjoyed working as a cook in the kitchen and I can no longer do that.  

 I am a very hard worker and want to help with the food services again.

Continue reading Letter | Want To Work Again, By Patty Blankem

Letter | Kings View Reneged On Peer Jobs After Hire, By Valerie Stephens

blueskymain1

The people at Blue Sky are as close as my own family, and I am extremely upset about our services being cut off.

lettertoeditorI am also angry that Blue Sky is no longer peer-led.

I was one of two  members at Blue Sky who has lived mental health experience, and was hired to do peer support at the center.

However, Kings View management went back on their agreement to hire us, even after we had received our employment packets.

Eventually they went on to hire someone without lived experience.  I am so upset about this matter that I am considering getting a lawyer. Continue reading Letter | Kings View Reneged On Peer Jobs After Hire, By Valerie Stephens