HELPLINE: 650-638-0802 / CRISIS LINE: 650-579-0350 / TEXT 988 LIFELINE

General Meetings

Join us at our next meeting November 28th, 2023.

There are no upcoming events.

Download our past General Meeting PDF Presentations for important information, links and minutes.

September 26, 2023

Latest Legal Developments in Special Needs Planning

Presented by Ellen Cookman


Attorney Ellen Cookman of Cookman Law in Palo Alto, CA covered the following topics about the latest legal developments in Special Needs Planning (among others):


  • What are the best ways to make gifts to special needs beneficiaries?
  • Should I have a stand-alone or testamentary special needs trust?
  • What is the difference between a first-party and third-party special needs trust?
  • When and how should I transfer assets into (i.e. “fund”) the trust?
  • What is an ABLE account and how can we use it?
  • How should the trust be drafted so that pre-tax retirement accounts can be “rolled over” into the trust?


More about Ellen:
Ellen Cookman is the principal of Cookman Law in Palo Alto, California. She is passionate about helping families of all shapes and sizes plan for the future and utilize available resources. Ellen is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law from the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. She received her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law and her LL.M. in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate from Golden Gate University. Ellen lives in East Palo Alto with her husband, two cute and very active boys (her older son has high-functioning autism), a puppy named Rosie, and a kitty named Skittles.
July 25, 2023

Befriending Your Inner Critic

Presented by Brinn Langdale, LMFT

Brinn Langdale is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping young adults and adults heal from sibling sexual abuse and other traumas. Over the last two decades, she has also served as a school-based mental health specialist and has operated a private online therapy practice. In 2015, Brinn hosted teen leadership conferences in Northern California focused on mental, physical and nutritional health. In 2020, she developed the Youth Rising Together curriculum which teaches wellness tools to middle and high school students. Brinn lives in Sacramento and enjoys yoga, going for runs and cold plunging in the American River.

In this General Meeting Brinn Langdale shares with us the value of the inner critic and the steps we can take to befriend it. Listen to this powerful and insightful presentation done by Brinn by clicking the link below. 

May 23, 2023

“Doctoral Students from USF working on “The Invisible Population” Project.

Presented by Kristin Moser, BSN, RN and Solutions for Supportive Homes.

Solutions for Supportive Homes is a Bay Area group of committed parents & community professionals working to increase the supply and the quality of permanent, affordable, health-supporting homes where adults living with long term special mental health needs,  They are united by two searing questions:  Where will my adult child live?  And who will help them when I am gone?

January 24, 2023

Special Guest Speaker – Ian Adamson

Ian Adamson was born in London and came to America in 1978 when he began working for Mateo Lodge. He started out as a counselor and became Executive Director around 1980. Ian has started several mental health programs such as Cassia House in 1986, Support Team in 1986, Humboldt House in 2000, FAST Team in 2018, Wally’s Place, and Case Management.
Password Required:   .1uXgnvk

View the ZOOM video of the meeting

September 8, 2021

Reimagining Crisis Response for San Mateo County

This is a joint presentation by William Elting, Board Treasurer, and representatives from San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), and StarVista.

For Additional Resources check out our Reimagined Crisis Response page.

  View the ZOOM video of the meeting

May 27, 2021

Getting to Calm, A Personal Story of Health and Healing From Depression

Our speaker: Ingrid Peterson
Ingrid Peterson is from Kailua, Hawaii. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Stanford, with a concentration in Developmental Psychology. Ingrid has dedicated much of her professional career to education, teaching from preschool through high school levels, first as an educator at Bing Nursery School, Laboratory Preschool of the Psychology Department at Stanford University. In recent years, she taught primarily at the middle and high school levels, working in both special education and general education classes.


  View the ZOOM video of the meeting


February 25, 2021

The role that family members can take to support a loved one with Mental Health Challenges

Our panel of mental health professionals included:
Rick Cicinelli: a psychiatrist in private practice in Redwood City. He serves as a staff psychiatrist with Bay Area Community Services and works with The Meadows of Arizona that recently opened an intensive outpatient program in Sunnyvale, and is the Medical Director of Embodied Recovery in Los Gatos.
Dr. Jennifer Harrison: a Board Certified Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Board Certified Art Therapist. She holds diplomate distinction at the National Center for Crisis Management and with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
Connie Swanson, MA, MFT: an associate at the Menlo Park Addictions Institute and a therapist in private practice. Connie is passionate about treatment of addiction and trauma. As a relationship builder she works with individuals, couples and families to advocate for recovery of family life.
PANEL: Rick Cicinelli, Dr. Jennifer Harrison, Connie Swanson
FACILITATED BY: Carrie Du Bois, NAMI SMC Board Member


  View the ZOOM video of the meeting