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Minutes for July 21, 2020


Call to Order

  • Meeting called to order at 5:00 PM by Chair Kathy Smith.

Roll Call

Present: Kathy Smith, District 5 Peter McAweeney, District 4 Sherry Weyers, District 5 Bob Cobb, District 4 Bob Hales, District 5 Carol West, District 2 Mary Ann Swanson, District 2 Fran Adams, District 2 Becky Ennis, District 3 Michael Johnson, District 3 Betzy Chavez District 1
Guests: Shannon Barton-Wren, Candidate for District 4
: Peterson Pierre, District 1
Absent: Patricia Gray, District 1
SRJC PEERS Coalition Representative: Maria Arreguin (on summer break)
County of Sonoma DHS, Behavioral Health Division: Bill Carter (BH Director); Sid McColley (Section Manager of Acute and Forensic Services); Karin Sellite [Client Care Manager of Youth & Family Services, and Mobile Support Team (MST)]
Community Members: Erika Klohe (St. Joseph’s); Katie Swan (Buckelew); Sean Kelson (WCCS); Sean Bolan (WCCS); Kate Roberge (WCCS); Susan Keller (Community Network); Tim Miller (WCCS); Christy Davila (WCCS);
Lynea Seiberlich-Wheeler (WCHS); Michael (WCCS); Elizabeth Vermilyea (California Parenting Institute); Lupe Navarro (Latino Service Providers); Mary-Frances Walsh (NAMI); and other community members who called in.

Announcements / Public Introductions & Comments

  1. You may submit agenda items for consideration prior to the Executive Committee meeting, normally held on the first Wednesday of each month, 10:30 AM to Noon. Email or call MHB clerk Rhonda Darrow (565-4850), to verify the next meeting date.
  2. There is one (1) vacancy in District 3. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please contact
    Rhonda Darrow (707) 565-4850,
  3. Please direct all your questions to the Chair.

Approval of Minutes

There was a quorum of the MHB membership. The following DRAFT minutes were approved:

  • 5/27/20 (approved and seconded by Sherry Weyers and Bob Cobb, with no opposes or abstentions
  • 6/17/20 (approved and seconded by Peter McAweeney and Bob Hales, with no opposes but one abstention from Fran Adams)

Consumer Affairs Report

Kate Roberge, Consumer Education Coordinator of the Consumer Relations Program of West County Community Services, ( and/or Guests

Kate Roberge introduced Carol West of the Sonoma County Peer Council to give a report. (Please see her attachment of her report). The link to Sonoma County Peer Council is (

Public Comments/Concerns/Accomplishments

Discussion on Impact of Racial Disparities and Other Social Injustices

Erika Klohe acknowledged how challenging it was for the members of the County Staff Leadership Council Meeting, when discussing issues of homeless, and the Zoom meeting was hijacked with someone using racial slurs and
horrific language. The meeting was ended. It just shows how cultural appropriateness and equity in systemic racism discussions, awareness and training is so needed for the community at large. “We have a lot of work to do!”

Special Presentation/Public Comments/Concerns/Accomplishments

Local Guerneville/West County Issues

Tim Miller, Executive Director of West County Community Services (WCCS), highlighted the following:

  • West County Community Services will now be running the peer-run centers and peer trainings. Tim is happy to announce that the Goodwill staff who ran these programs have been hired by WCCS to continue managing these services.
    • Sean Kelson – Interlink Peer Self-Help Center (707) 546-4481
    • Sean Kelson and Carol West - Petaluma Peer Run Center (707) 565-1299
    • Sean Bolan – Wellness & Advocacy Center (707) 565-7800
    • Kate Roberge--Consumer Education Coordinator of the Consumer Relations Program
    • Erica Klohe shared how grateful she was for the smooth transition of the hiring of the staff).
  • Russian River Empowerment Center in Monte Rio (707) 823-1640
  • The Guerneville Veterans Building is still open as a shelter due to COVID-19.
  • Transitioning to a navigation center, at the Park and Ride, on 8/1/20 in collaboration of County of Sonoma and West County Health Services (WCHS).
  • Christy Davila, Director of Counseling and Behavioral Health, highlighted WCCS services:
    • Counseling services for Youth and Family, Adult and Seniors are being done by tele-health, Zoom meetings, phone contact and online.
    • Youth have attended outdoor activities, i.e., horseback riding.
    • There are six new peer programs which meet online, Zoom groups, social media and warmline calls.
    • There are two senior programs by tele-health and Zoom meetings (currently, only seniors already engaged with WCCS are begin checked on, but they are working on how to reach out to those seniors not engaged).

Questions were asked how homeless and isolated community members were being reached. Staff are meeting the clients in person at the Russian River Empowerment Center in Monte Rio, going to the shelter, Whole Person Care staff meeting clients at the Navigation Center in the Park and Ride area, and the building of robust telehealth services.

Betzy Chavez when questioned how many bilingual staff at West County Health Services was told there are three behavioral staff for all ages and they use the interpreter phone line. Betzy offered them to look into collaborating with Latino Service Providers for additional bilingual services. It is important to be able to connect with people of color via language, culture and “looks like me,” especially now when doing tele-medicine.

Elizabeth Vermilyea of Child Parent Institute (CPI) shared: “CPI is offering free remote bilingual parenting classes and parent warmline. We are also offering remote therapy and are hiring a bilingual therapist. We are prepared to support West County remotely. We welcome conversations and collaborations.”

Kathy Smith shared with District 5 includes the Roseland area where most of County of Sonoma Behavioral Health Services are located. There is a large Latinx population presence there. She would like to have a MHB presentation about this area.

Lynea Sieberlich-Wheeler of West County Community Health Services shared that they offer outreach services, including a health team who goes to encampments to check on symptoms such as COVID-19 testing and care; mental health services to the school district for students, parents and families; connect wherever they can to offer more support during this heightened stressful time; and offer outreach for those seniors over 65 with depression issues. They work collaboratively with West County Community Services. Staff at both agencies offer use of their phones and computers when community members are trying to problem-solve funding, housing or other issues. The Clean River Alliance offers garbage pickup and COVID screenings on site.

Betzy Chavez asked how many of their staff are trauma-informed trained. Lynea said that they had attended trainings on a national level and would engage more on trainings through grant monies for staff.

Sid McColley, SCBH Acute and Forensic Services Section Manager, shared that during the pandemic the Community Mental Health Center in Guerneville offers full time case manager and clinician (telehealth and home visits as needed), a nurse doing home visits and a part-time psychiatrist offering telephone and telehealth services. The Whole Person Care staff member offers outreach and engagement with clients. Sid announced that Desiree Ohlstrom is the new Whole Person Care Program Manager.

Karin Sellite, SCBH Client Care Manager of Mobile Support Team (MST), shared that MST offers assistance and support to law enforcement with their knowledge, connections and resources; and makes referrals for family and peer support needs. For West County issues, MST staff is called out by the County of Sonoma Sheriff’s Office and Sebastopol Police Department. When asked how law enforcement is trained about mental health services, Karin shared that law enforcement is trained through the Community Intervention Training twice a year, and a MST member is part of the training. MST members do attend briefings with Sonoma County Sheriff or city police where education, communication and collaboration happens. Karin shared that some officers ask for feedback from MST on how they handled a situation. Karin also shared that currently law enforcement arrives first on an emergency call to make sure it is safe and minimizes the risk for the MST staff to attend to the person in crisis. Fran Adams suggested that the 911 dispatchers also receive training on how to make the correct calls on emergencies. Currently, law enforcement calls on MST to go out on an emergency call upon their request. Shannon Barton-Wren thinks an emergency should be handled on a team approach. MST staff works closely with NAMI and Whole Person Care staff to get family and peers connected to services. Kathy Smith shared that Supervisor James Gore, District 4, is very supportive and motivated in getting MST services in Cloverdale and North County.

Ericka Klohe shared that she and Wendy Wheelwright, SCBH, spearheaded the mental health crisis tool, along with NAMI and Buckelew. The link to this tool is on the County of Sonoma, Health Services’ website: Guidelines for Effective Communication with 911 Dispatch.

Carol West asked if MST would be able to respond without law enforcement with the FCC designating ‘988’ as 3-Digit Number for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules July 16 to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. During the transition to 988, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats.). Karin said they are open to this idea. They did a pilot in West County of just calling out MST without law enforcement and it was received well. There are other teams and methods happening in other states.

Sherry Weyers said that educating the community at large is needed to diffuse and how to diffuse any anxiety.

Sean Kelson shared: “The Cahoots model that Karen Sellite was speaking of is out of Eugene with White Bird Clinic, is a 24/7 available program that has documented great success and immense money savings.”

Betzy Chavez shared how the Spanish-speaking families are afraid to ask for help from law enforcement. She was directed to call one of the MST phone numbers first (Santa Rosa (707) 565-4797; Petaluma (707) 565-1717; Guerneville (707) 565-1215.

Behavioral Health Director's Report / HBH Fiscal Update/ Mental Health System

Bill Carter or Designee Sonoma County Mental Health Services Act [MHSA] page is at

The State’s MHSA page is at

MHSA newsletter

Bill Carter shared projects priorities:

  1. A quarter cent tax for behavioral health/homeless services will be read at the BOS meeting;
  2. Daniel Bleman MD, will be joining SCBH as the temporary Medical Director August 31. Dr. Bleman, who is represented by the Jackson & Coker locum tenens agency, is relocating from New York to San Francisco and has expressed interest in a long term position with the Division as well.
  3. The Department Operations Center (DOC) duties will be turned over to a new COVID-19/Public Health section to take over all of the current pandemic emergency matters by the end of August.
  4. It will be a tough budget year; the budget discussions between County departments and the Board of Supervisors have been delayed to July and August. Good news: The State budget offered back-fill monies of the realignment fund that SCBH depends on. The cuts will not be as severe as feared. All County departments will not be getting help from the General Fund.
  5. Lupe Navarro of Latino Service Providers asked if those organizations funded by MHSA, when will they be notified of the FY 2020-2021 Scope of Agreement. The link to Latino Service Providers is Bill said that he is awaiting word from the BOS on when he can start talking with the stakeholders. He will then submit his thoughts, release information and schedule public meetings to discuss the budget.b

PEERS (People Empoering Each Other to Realize Success) Coalition Intern Report

(Maria Arreguin) Link to SRJC’s webpage about current health events around the campus:;

No report – on summer break.

Other Reports
(Including: and Program Assessment Matrix (PAM) Ad-Hoc Committee Reports)

California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions website:

Kathy Smith shared that the PAM committee has made attempts to reach out to contractors for site visits but due to the pandemic, no person-to-person interviews are happening. Sherry Weyers learned that some counties’ Mental Health Boards cannot make site visits. This MHB is looked at as a model for doing site visits.

Jail Mental Health Services ad-hoc committee, Bob Hales, Carol West and Mary-Frances Walsh (NAMI), had a Zoom meeting with the new Assistant Sheriff Engram and his designees and Katee Capeto of the jail contractor, WellPath, on July 14, 2020, to discuss how to improve communication and more collaboration. A special topic about jail mental health services is being discussed for the September 15th meeting. Carol sent out a shout-out for Mary-Frances’ involvement.

NAMI has online information if loved one has been incarcerated at one-is-arrested-steps-you-can-take-to-support-your-loved-one/

Sherry Weyers reported on her attendance on CALBHB/C webinar—MHB members will be asked to answer questions about Peer Services in the Data Notebook and have it returned by end of September, but may be pushed out to October or November; Peer Certification bill will not be voted by State legislators until after summer break; there is a African Community Public Health Coalition that represent 150,000 individuals of different African cultures and languages—most have representation on the coalition; there are also indigenous people of Australia. Kathy Smith also attended CIBHS Access MHB webinar led by Susan Wilson.

MHB Chair Report

Kathy has had the 2019-2020 Annual Report sent to the MHB members for their input. The 2018-2019 Annual Report is tentatively on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda for 9/1/2020. Both reports will be ready so they both can be presented. Kathy is requesting the members to submit a short bio and a photo to submit with the annual report. There was a suggestion to reach out to Supervisor Shirlee Zane or James Gore to make sure they would be able to call on the MHB members to present the Annual Reports at the meeting.

There is one seat available on the MHB for District 3 (Supervisor Shirlee Zane). Kathy expressed the need for representation of the lived-experience peer voice.

MHB members is discussion about changing the general meetings from the third Tuesday to either the second or fourth Wednesday of the month to allow for Board of Supervisor representative attendance. A suggestion was made to first check with members’ availability and then to submit a letter to the Supervisor Susan Gorin, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, as an invitation for their attendance and to show that the board members are changing the meeting date to accommodate them.

The MHB will be on summer break in August. There will be no Mental Health Board Executive Committee or general meetings in August. The next MHB Executive Committee meeting will be Wednesday, 9/2/20, 10:30 AM; and the general meeting will be on Tuesday, 9/15/20, with the special topic, “Jail Mental Health Services.”

Board & Public Comments

  • No report.

Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m. seconded by Sherry Weyers and Bob Cobb. Respectfully submitted,

Rhonda Darrow, Mental Health Board Clerk