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Minutes for June 17 2020


Sonoma County Mental Health Board Minutes of June 17, 2020

This Meeting: Virtually Zoom Webinar

 Minutes are posted in draft form and after approval at

Please Note: A list of commonly used abbreviations and acronyms is attached

This meeting’s Zoom webinar audio recording will also be posted on the Mental Health Board web page as an attachment to these minutes.

  1. Call to Order
    Meeting called to order at 5:02 PM by Chair Kathy Smith.
  2. Roll Call
    Present: Kathy Smith, District 5, Peter McAweeney, District 4, Sherry Weyers, District 5, Bob Cobb,
    District 4, Bob Hales, District 5, Peterson Pierre, District 1, Mary Ann Swanson, District 2 (late), Becky Ennis, District 3                    
    Excused:  Fran Adams, District 2; Carol West, District 2               
    Absent:  Patricia Gray, District 1
    SRJC PEERS Coalition Representative:  Maria Arreguin (present)
    County of Sonoma DHS, Behavioral Health Division:  Bill Carter (BH Director)
    County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors:  Supervisor James Gore, District 4
    Community Members:   Erika Klohe (St. Joseph’s); Katie Swan (Buckelew); Sean Kelson (GIRE); Michael Johnson (MHB candidate for District 3); Shannon Barton-Wren (MHB candidate for District 4); Susan Keller (Community Network); Vicki Kalish; Colleen Halbolm (Wallace House); Christy Davila (WCCS); Elizabeth Vermilyea (California Parenting Institute); Liane Fabian (resident of Cloverdale); and a few other community members who called in.
  3. Announcement /Public Introductions & Comments
    • 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.
    • There is one (1) vacancy in Districts 3. If you are interested in serving on the Board, please contact Rhonda Darrow (707) 565-4850,
    • Please direct all your questions to the Chair.
  4. Approval of Minutes

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

    • 11/19/19 (approved and seconded by Bob Hales and Kathy Smith, with two abstentions, Sherry Weyers and Becky Ennis
    • 1/21/20 (approved and seconded by Bob Hales and Sherry Weyers)
    • 2/ /20 (approved and seconded by Bob Hales and Sherry Weyers)
    • 5/16/20, MHB Retreat (approved and seconded by Bob Hales and Peterson Pierre)
  5. MHB Chair Reporting/Voting of MHB Executive Committee Officers:
    Becky Ennis, of the Nominating Committee, shared that Kathy Smith was nominated to retain duties as Chair. There were two nominees for Vice Chair, Peterson Pierre and Bob Hales. Bob Hales has rescinded his nomination.

    A vote was taken by the present membership:  Kathy Smith (yes); Sherry Weyers (yes); Peterson Pierre (yes); Becky Ennis (yes); Bob Cobb (yes); Peter McAweeney (yes); and Bob Hales (yes). Welcome to Kathy as MHB Chair and Peterson as MHB Vice Chair.

    Kathy Smith is working on the Annual Report and has suggested members to submit a short bio and picture to add to this report.
  6. Consumer Affairs Report – Kate Roberge, Consumer Education Coordinator of the Consumer Relations Program of Goodwill Industries (, and/or Guests
    Kate Roberge was not available so Sean Kelson gave a peers’ report update. Sean shared as of July 1, the Goodwill peer-run programs (Interlink Self-Help Center, Wellness and Advocacy Center, Petaluma Peer Recovery Center, Workforce Education and Training Program) will be transferred to West County Community Services, who manages the Russian River Empowerment Center. This transition process has been very smooth.
  7. Special Presentation/Public Comments/Concerns/Accomplishments:Cloverdale/North County Issues with Supervisor James Gore, District 4   
    The MHB members expressed their appreciation of having Supervisor Gore present. He expressed that he would welcome being invited, along with the other supervisors, to attend the MHB meeting two to three times a year. “Help me, help you.” Kathy Smith suggested changing the MHB meetings to the third Wednesday of the month, as BOS supervisors meets on Tuesdays. Supervisor Gore also invited the MHB members to attend the BOS meeting as a presenter. Becky Ennis volunteered to be an attendee.

    County Departments are being asked to submit their budgets with 5, 10 and 15 percent cuts over the next couple of months. Budget talks have been pushed out to October 2020. There will be cuts due to loss in local tax and State realignment monies--$2.3 million is best-case scenario. The mandated programs will have to be considered first by Barbie Robinson and Bill Carter. There are deficits all around us.

    Supervisor Gore and MHB members discussed the inequity of physical and behavioral health services in the northern part of the County. There was discussions on why the Mobile Support Team (MST) does not go north of Windsor. There is no funding of the police to do what they are not equipped to do. A member noted that the MST team currently meets in weekly briefings with the Sheriff’s Department and Santa Rosa Police Department. This is a geographical equity issue and should be made a priority in the budget. Supervisor Gore noted how some out-of-area agencies work together with their police departments to be back-up support when staff of Adult Protective Services are afraid to go into the person’s home. MHB members noted that there are times that just have MST staff present first before law enforcement could keep the situation from escalating. SCBH services are community-based services (includes outreach, Substance Use Disorder, peers, and after-care outreach staff) to support and help keep peers out of jails and hospitals but needs more funding. Supervisor Gore said that Supervisor Zane is a champion for mental health services, but he said all of the BOS representatives need to be, as silence is a problem. A community member asked, “What can we do to get MST to Cloverdale and north of Windsor?” Another community member stated, “There are State funding options through the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission….The Mental Health Wellness Act of 2013, SB82, provides $20 million in grants to hire triage personnel statewide….The County lead is Vicque Kimmel (916) 444-8744,” Bill Carter said there is a budget shortfall and there is no State or County funding for MST services. Supervisor Gore said MST’s program funding would have to come out of the General Fund, along with all of the other fundings for roads, first responders, etc. Supervisor Gore feels this is a vital issue, and he will present to the other Supervisors this service as a geographical equity issue, as it also saves money preventing jail services and hospitalizations.

    A MHB member noted the socio-economic issues of the County’s residents not being able to purchase a house, i.e., $600,000 is average cost of home and down payment of $120,000, excludes many residents. Sonoma County needs more affordable housing.

    There are Crisis Intervention Team trainings for law enforcement and upcoming trainings for probation officers.

    A community member noted we need to increase preventative services with a foundation of clinicians, housing and support staff that come together to manage issues before becoming crises.  We need to have collective community efforts, including health centers, Veteran’s Administration, law enforcement, to work together to increase access to help.

    Another community member noted how the Community Intervention Program is greatly missed and wondered if there is a way to bring these services back, as they were hands-on services for the homeless with mental health challenges.

    A community member shared her congratulations to the 17 recipients of SAMHSA Assisted Outpatient Treatment (OAT) Grants for the Treatment Advocacy Center.              

    A community member noted that more social workers need to be with police departments in a central location for quicker access to dangerous events. Supervisor Gore also confirmed that the BOS is considering combining certain County departments under one umbrella to help with redundancy and better triaging. He would like to see the hospitals’ CEOs come to the table to form partnerships in handling these issues. A community assessment needs to happen.
    The following link on the County of Sonoma website link was suggested for Guidelines for Effective Communications with 9-1-1 Dispatch:          
  8. Behavioral Health Director’s Report/Hbh Fiscal Update/Mental Health System Transformation:
    Bill Carter or Designee Sonoma County’s Mental Health Services Act [MHSA] page is
    TheState’s MHSA page is at
    MHSA newsletter is available at the link         

    Bill Carter shared that he is mostly working in the DHS’ Emergency Operations Center as Chief of Operations which manages the alternative sites for placing medically high-risk homeless community members at Sonoma State University’s dorms or other hotel rooms, testing sites and contact tracing. Bill shared that he is in conversation with DHS Administration in how to move forward in bringing SCBH staff back to their offices. The CSU and adult and youth medication services have been open to clients during the Shelter-in-Place. SCBH clients are mostly being seen virtually or by frequent phone contact from their clinical case managers. There is a Medical Director’s candidate who has expressed interest in the position, and there is another back-up candidate. Bill shared that the local Emergency Departments are the defaults for any clients positive for COVID-19. The CSU is challenged with the difficulty of placing clients in psychiatric hospitals for treatment, as many are not taking any new clients due to potential of bringing in the virus. The Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) is still in the process of being managed by Crestwood and being located on the Los Guilicos campus.

  9. PEERS (People Empowering Each Other to Realize Success) Coalition Intern Report – Maria Arreguin ;      

    The PEERS Coalition is a program within Student Health Services that utilizes the authentic and creative voices of students to increase the conversation about mental health at SRJC. By raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health, we foster an accepting environment that promotes student wellness and success. The PEERS student team plans events, educates students about mental wellness, and collaborates with other student groups on campus. Like PEERS on Facebook to keep up with all of our news & events! PEERS Coalition is funded through the Mental Health Services Act, Prevention and Early Intervention programs. For additional information, please contact Stephanie Sanchez:*******

    Maria Arreguin shared that students are being seen virtually or via social media. All African-American  students are being offered resources and support during this time of expressions of racial disparities and social issues in the community. 
  10. Other Reports (Including CALBHBC and Program Assessment Matrix (PAM) Ad-Hoc Committee Reports:
    This is the link to California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions website:        
    Sherry Weyers shared that at the next virtual CALBHB/C meeting next week that she will ask how other counties are funding their Mobile Support Teams.

    Peterson Pierre shared that the site visit with SAY will need to be postponed to after COVID-19 waves so the administration and beneficiaries of SAY’s services would be able to share their experiences in person. Kathy Smith shared that no site visits had been set up for Community Support Network (CSN) for the same reasons.

    Bob Hales, Carol West and Mary-Frances Walsh (NAMI) are communicating with the County of Sonoma Main Adult Detention (MADF) staff to start conversations on sharing of information about the MADF mental health services, how to collaborate more and inviting MADF staff to present at a MHB meeting in September 2020.

    Bob Cobb shared that the Windsor Wellness Partnership, a Sonoma County Health Action Chapter, is hosting a community open-mic event on Windsor's Town Green, Friday, June 19th, 3-6pm, “What is Your Experience with Racism in Windsor?”

    Peterson Pierre suggested having a discussion at both the MHB Executive Committee and general meetings on sharing of members’ experiences and impact from racial disparities.
  11. Board and Public Comments:
    The Guerneville Library will be contacted to find out if allowing meetings at their facility in July.
  12. Meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m.