Preparation Underway for the 2018 CMHACY Conference

After a busy summer, the CMHACY Board and Friends are taking the month of August off before beginning our planning for next year’s conference.  We wanted to take this break in action to review the highlights from the 2017 conference, and invite readers to share their ideas for the 2018 conference.

2017 Conference in Review

Since 1980, CMHACY has hosted an annual meeting at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.  Our conference continues to grow – the 2017 conference drew over 600 individuals representing parents, youth, providers, legal advocates, school representatives, County agency leaders, state department officials, and legislative staff.

Those of you who attended the 2017 conference noticed several conference highlights including:

  • Palisades Charter High School Youth Choir opened the conference
  • Plenary and Key Note speakers provided inspiration and calls for action
    • Carissa Phelps – Learning Trust and Independence After Human Trafficking
    • Frankie Guzman, Juvenile Justice Attorney
    • Paul Baker – The PersonBrain Model: Using a NeuroRelational Approach
  • Increase opportunity to provide comments and suggestions through the conference APP
  • Expansion of Friday’s policy panel to highlight the increased role of Managed Care Plans.

We continued to have our popular conference activities, including:

  • Workshops on a variety of topics of interest to all conference attendees
  • Awards recognizing those who have stood out in their partnership with youth and family members
  • Welcome dinner for those new to CMHACY
  • A dance!
  • Wine and cheese reception
  • Drawings for prizes throughout the conference
  • Election of new board members
  • Pre-conferences continued, with great focus on local advocacy and integrated care
    • Youth
    • Parents/caregivers
    • County and contracted providers

Here is a sampling of comments from attendees:

“The workshops I attended were very interesting, funny, and most inspirational.”


“The parent workshop on Engagement with Parent Advocates was engaging and offered the participants hands on skills.”

County Administrator

“The conference was inspiring, had current mental health trend information, and was fun!”

State Administrator

“I am so exhilarated and excited after the conference.”


2018 Conference Preparation

Save the date for the 2018 conference:


Pre-conferences: Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 (parent/caregiver and youth)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 (all others)

Conference Sessions: Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 through Friday, May 18th, 2018

Planning for the 2018 conference began within minutes of the last session of the conference.  Board members and Friends of the Board remained on site to debrief the conference and list ideas for improvement to implement in future conferences.

Energized by the increased collaboration with new youth, parent/caregiver representatives, and representatives from additional service sectors, CMHACY Board and Friends are already planning for enhanced integration of all stakeholders, particularly those with lived experience.  For example, Friday’s policy sessions will be expanded for an additional 90 minutes.  The traditional State Decision Maker and Local Implementer Panels will be followed by a third “respondent” panel comprised of parents/caregivers, youth, legal advocates, and providers.

As we move forward with our planning, we encourage you to get involved.  If you have any suggestions for the conference, including events, topics and speakers, please submit your suggestions to

CMHACY will continue to offer information of interest to our membership.  Contact if you are interested in writing a guest article or have information you would like us to pass on to the membership.