State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Mental Health Crisis Toolkit

Episode #27: Joining Debra Sloss this month are licensed psychotherapist and mental health crisis response expert James Russell, LMFT, and volunteer mental health advocates Jennifer Wentworth and Cathy Pereyra, both of whom have first-hand experience using mental health crisis services. James describes the current mental health response systems, when and how to use them, and how to have a smooth experience when doing so.  Jennifer shares her courageous story of more than 150 psychiatric hospitalizations and offers wisdom she gained as she found her way from repeated cycles of crisis to mental health recovery. She discusses how she’s reduced her need for crisis services and greatly improved her experiences when she does use them. Cathy explores what she has learned from supporting her adult son who suffers from schizophrenia and has required several emergency hospitalizations. She discusses the shock and shame her family members initially experienced and how they have moved through the crisis phase and into recovery. They have found support, learned about mental illness and become more skillful at using crisis services. Jennifer and Cathy demonstrate that mental health recovery is possible and give specific suggestions to help others get started in that direction! Essential locally oriented resources are posted with this show.

Broadcast: 2/7/21

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, and to Jennifer Young, who assists with research and outreach. And finally, thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

SUBSCRIBE NOW to get past or new episodes delivered to your listening device here:
Apple Podcasts (for Apple products)
Google Podcasts (for Android products)

Facebook  @stateofmindksqd

Want to know our interesting topic each month? Simply  SIGN UP for our email list!

If you or someone you know has topic ideas for future shows or a story of mental health recovery to share, please email

If you like what you’re hearing here on KSQD, also affectionately called K-Squid, you can become a “Philanthropod on the Squid Squad” by becoming a supporting member  and help keep KSQD surfing the air waves! Consider underwriting your business or agency and showing our listeners your support for State of Mind.

”In Your Voice” are short segments on the show where a listener gets to add their voice to the topic.  You can call us at 831-824-4324 and leave a 1-3 minute message about: a mental health experience you’ve had, something that has contributed to your mental health recovery journey, or share a resource that has helped you. Alternatively, you can make a 1-3 minute audio recording right on your phone and email that file to Your voice may just become part of one of our future shows!



Local Support
ACCESS Team:  Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health team that provides non-emergency evaluation for services and referrals.  800-952- 2335

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Santa Cruz: local chapter that provides support and education for families and individuals experiencing mental health issues. All services are free to access.

Direct Links to:

Local Crisis Information (Santa Cruz County)

Guidelines for Calling 911 Brochure

Family Information Form

Offering Online Support Groups:  

– Peer Connections

– Family Members of Adults (18+) in English

– Family Members – Grupo de Apoyo para Familiares in Spanish

– Parents and Caregivers of Youth (11-17)

– HOPE Biopolar/Depression Support Group

MHCAN (Mental Health Community Action Network): peer run agency provided resources and support for those experiencing mental health issues to anyone in community.

Community Connections – empowering adults with psychiatric disabilities and their families with the tools and resources they desire to build stronger community bonds and improve their lives. They provide resources and tools for individuals managing mental health issues and help with new educational opportunities, building job skills or connecting with positive influences. Primarily for those with Medical Insurance, or served by Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health.


Crisis Prevention and Preparedness
Suicide Prevention Service: Crisis line for individuals experiencing stressors or having active thoughts of suicide.

24-Hour Toll Free Suicide Crisis Line: 1-877-663-5433 (ONE LIFE)
Serving Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties

Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor.
Free 24/7 support at your fingertips. US and Canada: text 741741

NAMI- SCC Warmline – Help Line: (831) 427-8020 x7 – A trained volunteer will get back to you within a  24 hrs. to offer support, information and resources.

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) – a self-designed prevention and wellness tool that you can use to get well and stay well. Many versions of this and templates to fill out can also be found by searching online for WRAP Plan templates.

Mental Health Power of Attorney  is also often called a Psychiatric Advanced Directive.  For more information go to National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advanced Directives. They offer information and sample form by state. Click here for California

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency:  (Crisis Guide) provides important, potentially life-saving information for people experiencing mental health crises and their loved ones. This guide outlines what can contribute to a crisis, warning signs that a crisis is emerging, strategies to help de-escalate a crisis, available resources and more.

Second Story Respite House a six-bed house which serves as a respite and a voluntary opportunity for individuals to learn to use relationships to move out of old roles and patterns. Staffed by “peers,” (people with lived experience of mood swings, consuming fears, voices, visions, . . .) who have learned to be with some discomfort, the household provides an opportunity to experience what change feels like, and to learn new responses through relationships with each other. Referrals to this service are made through Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health.


Education & Training
Mental Health First Aid: is a national program to teach the skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Santa Cruz: local chapter that provides support and education for families and individuals experiencing mental health issues. All services are free to access.


– Family-to-Family (in English & Spanish)

– NAMI BASICS  (for parents/caregivers of youth) – New Class starting 3/9/20!

– Peer to Peer Recovery Support (for adults with mental health conditions)

– Provider Education (for mental health professionals)


I Am Not Sick I Do Not Need Help: How to Help Someone Accept Treatment, by Xavier Amador (2007) – a guide for providers and family members whose loved ones are battling mental illness and addictions. Learn to LEAP (Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner) and help your patients and loved ones accept the treatment they need.


Jennifer’s Blog
A Day in The Life of Being Bipolar – Jennifer Wentworth’s Blog and Facebook Page:  includes helpful and encouraging information about the experience of having a serious mental illness, managing it and maintaining wellness. Facebook Page:


Cathy’s Self-Care Tools
A Life Coach​ – She see a coach twice a month or more if needed.

Journaling​ – very helpful when dealing with a lot of different emotions no matter how much gets written. She finds it helpful to sit down and write daily during a crisis.

Meditation​ – Many different types and apps available to learn how and be supported to do it. She has been meditating daily for over 24 years. She finds it easy and gives her grounding and peace most days.

Exercise​ – She belong to Aptos Curves and do it online via Facebook, Zoom, YouTube . Needs  very little room at home and a resistant band ($15.00 also sold by them). Right now, online live and prerecorded is $25.00/ month 831-688-2348