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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 11, 2019

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals:

National Alliance on Mental Illness Youth Symposium

You are invited to participate in the first annual National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California Youth Symposium, Youth Leaders: Creating Life Long Advocates, on April 30, 2019, in Sacramento, California.

This conference is co-sponsored by NAMI California and the California Mental Health Services Authority in partnership with the California Department of Education. The principal focus of the symposium is to convene educators and high school students to discuss the impact of mental health awareness and stigma on youth.

Research shows that 20 percent of school-aged youth suffer from a mental health issue, and 70 percent of these students do not receive adequate and timely services. Research also demonstrates that 50 percent of lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age fourteen and 75 percent by age twenty-four. Due to stigma and other factors, the average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8 to 10 years. It is imperative that we take action on school campuses to help address these mental health issues at an early stage to prevent the illness from debilitating students’ academic and social achievement.

Together we can convey the message that we are all committed to preserving the health, safety, and well-being of our students. To achieve this, schools must take an active role in helping students and staff increase their awareness of mental health, learn to advocate for their needs, and access prevention and early intervention services and resources. We must send the message that mental health is a top priority for our students.

The NAMI California Youth Symposium will provide a space for students and educators to become informed about breaking the stigma related to mental health. Participants will be empowered by learning about prevention and early intervention, career pathways in mental health, NAMI on Campus high school clubs, and best practices for increasing mental health awareness. Attendees will also hear personal stories from youth speakers across the state that have started the conversations about mental health and wellness.

The NAMI California Youth Symposium is free of charge and space is limited. For more information, please visit the NAMI California Youth Symposium web page at To register, please contact Zuleima Flores, Program Manager, NAMI California, at 916-567-0163 or

We encourage all school administrators, staff, and students to attend the NAMI California Youth Symposium.

If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact Monica Nepomuceno, Education Programs Consultant, School Health Office, at 916-323-2212 or


Tony Thurmond


Last Reviewed: Monday, March 11, 2019

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