5B Documentary Film Screening at Fort Mason

Last week, a few Telecare staff (past and present) attended a screening of the documentary 5B to support a longtime leader and Redwood Place Administrator, Cliff Morrison. The documentary was screened at an event in San Francisco’s Historic Fort Mason as part of a larger Q&A session with people involved in the production.

Cliff is featured throughout 5B for his work in the early 1980’s establishing the first AIDS ward in the country at San Francisco General Hospital. Telecare’s been following along on his journey as it headed to the Cannes Film Festival, premiered at Los Angeles Pride, and spoke to NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross in an interview earlier this summer with a former colleague.

Check out images from the Fort Mason event below. We are so proud of cliff and congratulate him on all his successes. For more information on the documentary, visit the 5B film website.

Telecare's Orange County Programs Celebrate Recovery

This year’s Celebrate Recovery Picnic, sponsored by MHA of Orange County and other community partners such as Telecare OC, was again a huge success with over 200 people in attendance.

Among those enjoying a day filled with food, raffle prizes, music, dancing and games (including Telecare’s Toilet Paper Toss game booth) were Telecare staff and members. Thanks to our Telecare OC staff for contributing to the fun this year: Rebecca Brown, David Calloway, Lei Portugal Calloway, Jorge Camacho, Melissa Carrera, Patrick Conod, Cindy Llora, Diane Long, Richard Maldonado, Jude Martinez, Irioshi Melendez, Shahab Mirzaeian, Alicia Ogden, Alfonso Rey, Michael Thai and Van (Hania) Tran.

Listen to Longtime Telecare Leader, Cliff Morrison, on Fresh Air with Terry Gross!

Following the success of the recently released documentary 5B, longtime Telecare leader and Redwood Place administrator, Cliff Morrison, spoke with NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross about his experience working on the team that established the first AIDS hospital ward in the country in the early 80s.

Cliff was interviewed alongside Dr. Paul Volberding, a doctor on ward 5B who was also featured in the documentary.

You can listen to the entire segment, or read the transcript, by following the link below!

NPR’s Fresh Air With Terry Gross

More About Cliff’s Journey

Telecare Supports Peer Certification (SB 10)

Telecare Corporation proudly joins a powerful coalition of California counties, health organizations, and advocates who are calling upon the state to standardize high-quality peer and family support services.

California state senator jim beall (15th senate district)

California state senator jim beall (15th senate district)

SB-10 Mental Mealth Services: Peer Support Specialist Certification (Beall) would establish professional standards and certification for health providers known as peers. Peers are individuals with lived experience in mental illness or substance use disorders. This bill also requires the Department of Health Care Services to administer the peer certification process, allowing California to use best practices and improve mental health outcomes.

Currently, peer providers are utilized in many settings. However, there is no statewide standard of practice, consistent curriculum, training standards, supervision standards, or certification protocol.

At Telecare, peer specialists are an important and unique part of our multi-disciplinary teams, bringing their own experiences, stories, empathy, and hope to the people we serve. Paired with the skills and knowledge they bring from their formal training, the sharing of this lived experience contribution can be extremely powerful.

Additionally, research demonstrates that the use of qualified peer support specialists has measurable benefits to clients, including reduced hospitalizations, improved functioning, alleviation of depression and other symptoms, and enhanced self-advocacy. This also provides peers with a career ladder so that individuals working in mental healthcare can fully translate their experience into meaningful employment.

SB 10 (Beall) was heard by the Assembly Health Committee on July 2 in Sacramento. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.


For more information on SB-10:

Download the SB-10 Fact Sheet here.

Learn more about peers at Telecare:

Christina Roberts: From Member to Peer Specialist

Former member-turned employee Christina Roberts emotionally shares her story about why her job as a peer specialist at Telecare’s WIT Program means the world to her.

Peer Support in Crisis Settings

In the above story, you’ll hear from the administrator and clinical director at Telecare’s Crisis Assessment and Treatment Center (CATC) in Multnomah County, OR, on how peer services have helped create a program culture built around respect and dignity, and how they give clients a glimpse of what recovery can look like.

Telecare Presents and Represents at NAMI CA Conference 2019

The California National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held its annual conference in Newport Beach, CA on May 31 - June 1, 2019. This conference was a huge milestone for the NAMI CA organization, as it celebrated 40 years of providing statewide work in California.

“NAMI is a promise we’ve kept for the last 40 years, that has carried our dreams to unimaginable heights and will carry us even higher. NAMI will be here tomorrow, and every tomorrow to come until we live in a world where we can all live the lives we deserve with all the potential within us,” Jessica Cruz, MPA/HS Chief Executive Officer NAMI California said in a letter to conference attendees.

This year, Telecare’s Sarah Nudel and Robin Weintraub were chosen to present on the Behavioral Health Court Model (BHC). BHC is a specific type of program designed to serve individuals who have mental health needs and are involved with the criminal justice system.

Telecare also had a booth staffed with friendly employees who were able to provide helpful resources to peers, families, and community members.

We are always proud to support the NAMI branches and events in our communities. Thank you for all of your hard work, and we’ll see you in 2020!

Catch Cliff Morrison in the Documentary, 5B, This Weekend!

A few weeks ago, we shared with you that Telecare leader and Redwood Place administrator, Cliff Morrison, was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival for his efforts as part of a team who established the first dedicated AIDS wing in the country at the San Francisco General Hospital during the epidemic in the 80s.

This week, we’re proud to share with you that the film, 5B, is gaining even more publicity. Plus, you can soon see it for yourself.

Telecare’s Cliff Morrison and Actress Elizabeth Chambers at LA Pride 2019.

Telecare’s Cliff Morrison and Actress Elizabeth Chambers at LA Pride 2019.

The documentary premiered at the LA Pride event on June 7. Cliff had the honor of walking the red carpet with actress Elizabeth Chambers, and gave an interview with Halle Berry for Access Hollywood.

What could be more fun than that? Cliff chose Telecare’s own VP of Operations, David Heffron and David’s husband, to attend the event.

“I still can’t believe that the message of this film has caught on everywhere it has been seen,” Cliff said.

Want to catch the flick yourself? We have good news. 5B hits select theaters nationwide on June 14th. To celebrate the premiere, Cliff will be on the Today Show that morning with actress Julianne Moore.

Additionally, 30% of net proceeds earned from the film will be donated to (RED)’s Global Fund www.Red.org.

To find 5B in a theater near you, click here.

The cast of the documentary at LA Pride 2019.

The cast of the documentary at LA Pride 2019.

5B Awards



  • Non-fiction Film: Over 30 minutes – Grand Prix (Top Prize!) 

Film Craft

  • Direction – Gold Lion

  • Editing – Silver Lion

Health & Wellness

  • Corporate Image & Communication: Film – Silver Lion

  • Corporate Image & Communication: Film Craft: Direction – Shortlisted


  • Local Brand – Shortlisted

  • Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight – Shortlisted

5B Press Coverage


Global Citizen

SHOOT Online



 The Drum

 Windy City Times

Working Nurse

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

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Every May we come together to combat stigma, provide support, and educate the public on mental health issues for Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Together, we can change the facts:

  • 62% of youth with major depressive episodes receive NO treatment

  • 1 in 25 adults experience serious mental health issues that substantially interfere with one or more major life activity

  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day in the United States

  • Only 25% of adults with mental health symptoms believe other people are sympathetic to individuals with mental illness 

    Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Each year the support grows stronger, yet we know to continue the momentum of breaking down barriers, we must help increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues in the communities we serve. To help generate awareness, Mental Health America releases a handy toolkit every year packed with fact sheets, shareable images for social media, and a call to action to end the stigma of mental illness.

Mental Health Awareness Month Resources

There are many ways you can help support Mental Health Awareness Month. Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • Participate in a local NAMI walk. You can find out where the closest one to you is by visiting here.

  • Check out other mental health awareness events happening in your area by visiting here.

  • Join NAMI’s WhyCare? campaign and download graphics, share stories, and learn about advocacy efforts.

Telecare to Open 2nd DD/MI Community Crisis Home

Telecare will open the doors of its second community crisis home, Herald House, in mid-May, 2019. Located in Sacramento County, California, Herald House will provide crisis services for people 18 years of age or older diagnosed with both mental illness and developmental disabilities that are returning to the community from locked, institutional settings.

The community crisis home is a relatively new model of care in California, which is designed to help people with both developmental disabilities and mental health needs. Residents at this level of care are in crisis and have higher-intensity needs as they are primarily stepping down from locked institutions. Services are designed for residents to receive very intensive and highly individualized support in a home-like environment. The goal is for each member to eventually move into a lower level of care, such as a group home or with family.

Herald House held an open house event on April 26. Attendees were able to see the new home, meet staff, and learn more about the program’s services and role in the community.

Each Herald House resident (up to four total) will have a private bedroom and may stay for up to 18 months. The program will provide residents a comfortable environment in order to support recovery. Residents living at Herald House can explore a explore a variety of interests such as cooking, gardening, budgeting, and practice the living skills that will enable them to be as independent as possible. Herald House staff will also focus on community integration and arrange for opportunities for residents to be involved in school or work programs, participate in group outings, attend local events, and spend time with family and friends.

Click here to learn more about Herald House.

Presenting “Peers of the Roundtable” at the Western Recovery Conference

The Western Recovery Conference is by and for people in recovery, mental health consumers, clients, and survivors. Presented by SHARE! and Peers Action 4 Change, the conference took place on March 9 in Culver City, CA and included over 400 attendees with more than 70 workshops.

Presenting "Peers of the Roundtable" was Lei Portugal Calloway, Peer Team Lead at Telecare AOT in Santa Ana. Participants shared their journey, successes, and challenges as they maneuver through their lives and careers. The 75-minute discussion included what's going on with peer roles in our communities and within our organizations, giving and receiving support, and brainstorming about the future of peer support.


Shown in the group picture are Telecare employees Jude Martinez (first from left), who is a Peer Recovery Coach at TAO Central and Jorge Camacho (second from left), who is a Peer Support Specialist at TAO North. Photo taken by event attendee and Telecare employee David Calloway (Housing Specialist at STEPS).

Telecare Among 2019’s Best Places to Work


We are excited to announce that Telecare was once again recognized as a San Francisco Business Times Best Place to Work in the Bay Area.

In 2019, Telecare ranked 13th in the large companies category (with more than 1,000 employees). This is the 17th time Telecare has made the list.

We are especially proud to be recognized with this award, because inclusion on this list is based entirely on feedback received from employee surveys.

It’s Telecare’s staff members who make Telecare a great place to work! Their passion, dedication, and commitment to excellent care make all the difference, and enable us have a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.

Thank you, Team Telecare!

Pierce County E&T Re-Opens in Washington

After temporarily closing for a year in order to build a brand-new facility, Telecare celebrated the grand re-opening of the Pierce County Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) Center in Milton, WA on April 1. 

An open house event was held on March 29 to welcome the community. Attendees were able to tour the building, meet staff, and get a sneak peek at the facility’s recovery-centered design.

The reopening of Pierce E&T brings 16 beds of acute psychiatric care back to the local community, making it easier for clients and their families to get the support they need close to home.

The former Pierce E&T program was located on the grounds of Western State Hospital. The new facility is located in Milton, WA, and provides intensive mental health and psychiatric treatment services for adults experiencing a mental health crisis. A multidisciplinary team is on hand to work with clients throughout their stay, as they work in partnership to stabilize symptoms and establish linkages and referrals that will support them as they transition back to the community upon discharge.

“We’re so grateful to our facilities team. Each of them puts a tremendous amount of work into making sure the facility design fits our vision,” Anne Bakar, Telecare’s President and CEO said. “Being able to recover in a home-like environment, surrounded by nature, and enjoying plenty of natural lighting is exactly was our vision — and they delivered 100%.”

Click here to learn more about services offered at Pierce County E&T.

Morton Bakar Center Makes Learning Fun Through Skillympics!

Congraulations to Morton Bakar Center for completing their first “Skillympics” (Skill and Olympics) event!

What are the Skillympics? Great question! It is a unique and FUN way to educate staff in all aspects of Morton Bakar’s policies, procedures, and many state and federal regulations that are critical to the proper management of the facility. The goal is to make learning fun, engaging, and competitive.

Like the Olympics, there was a torch and a parade. However, in true MBC style, they were exclusive in the series of competitive academic events. The events were managed and graded by the department heads. The winners were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals based on academic and skills performance. Each employee had the opportunity to interact with all departments, gaining critical knowledge and skills throughout the process.

This event will now be held quarterly. The goal is also to prepare employees for the annual state and federal survey by having each employee be academically competent and engaged.

The Skillympics is also intended to be a staff development and team building event!

Making Snow Days Sweet in Washington

With what has been referred to as the "snowiest February" so far in many areas of the state of Washington, Telecare’s program staff in Olympia and Tumwater found creative ways to keep spirits high and services going despite having to maneuver through 16" of snow.

Staff members carpooled into work, camped out at the programs overnight, and even brought potluck food to share.

Staying positive through it all and making the best out of a tough situation, regional director Holly Borso joked to corporate staff by saying, “If you don’t hear from us by the end of the week, send pies!” And that’s just what the corporate office did!

Telecare is so grateful for all of our team members in Washington who diligently came to work despite the severe weather conditions. Thank you all!

Pie surprise.jpg

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


On January 21, we commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an iconic civil rights leader who would’ve been 90 this year. Long after his assassination, Dr. King’s message of equality, justice, and peace continue to inform contemporary social movements fighting for the rights of marginalized communities across the country. As we honor Dr. King, we look to the values we can uphold in our work in the field of mental health.

By emphasizing inclusion, respect, participation, and collaboration within the communities we serve, we can bring to light the hopes and dreams where recovery thrives. By welcoming diversity, we gain insight and perspectives that lead to something greater—an environment where every person is treated with dignity and respect.

We want to thank all Telecare staff for their work in creating an inclusive, welcoming environment at our programs, and their support for our clients and each other to make a positive change in the communities we serve.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the third Monday of January, is marked as a National Day of Service, and the Corporation for National & Community Service has many volunteer opportunities for people to continue to promote Dr. King’s messages in their communities. Visit the links below for more information.

California Fires: How To Help

November 2018: As you may know, California is experiencing a devastating wave of wildfires that are continuing day by day. From the Camp Fire in the northern part of the state near Chico, to the Woolsey fire in Ventura and LA counties, as well as several other smaller fires, wildfires are consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of natural areas as well as homes and businesses. The scope of the losses is staggering: thousands of structures have been destroyed, lives have been lost, communities have been completely consumed by the flames.

As a mental health provider with program locations in these areas, we are acutely and sorrowfully aware of how our employees, the people we serve, and these communities are being affected by the fires. We encourage you to help in any way you can.

How You Can Help

DONATE MONEY:                            

American Red Cross

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund


California Fire Foundation


The New York Times has listed several other ways to help:


DONATE GOODS:                            

Currently, monetary donations are needed most. However, if you wish to donate goods, we suggest inquiring with your local Goodwill to find out what is needed in your area, or donate to your local food bank.

2019 Holiday Art Contest Winners!

We are excited to reveal our holiday card and 2019 Recovery Calendar!

We would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the programs, artists, and poets who took the time to create such lovely works for us to choose from. We are so inspired by your passion and talent!

A Celebratory Breakfast in Multnomah County, Oregon

Telecare's Multnomah CATC program was pleased to host a pancake breakfast event that welcomed Oregon legislators, customers, staff, peers, and other program administrators to build connections and strengthen our relationships with stakeholders. Peers provided tours of the program to guests and there were a lot of great conversations and smiling faces — and pancakes galore. We were also proud to share our progress with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services at the program and the great effort CATC undertook to strengthen its quality of service and capacity.

Thank you to our customers and friends who took time out of their busy schedule to come visit us. Check out more photos from the event below!

RCCS Tidbit of the Month: Suicide Prevention


The RCCS Tidbit of the Month is part of Telecare's Recovery-Centered Clinical System curriculum to reinforce a culture of recovery in mental health service programs. For more information, click here.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly. Currently, suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24.

What Leads to Suicide?

Click the image above for a list of suicide prevention resources and support.

Click the image above for a list of suicide prevention resources and support.

There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions go on to lie meaningful lives.

Suicide Warning Signs

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who die by suicide exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Warning signs can include health factors as well as environmental and historical factors. Warning signs can include:

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like, “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous

  • Increased alcohol and drug use

  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community

  • Talking, writing, or thinking about death

  • Access to weapons and/or other lethal means

  • Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems, or unemployment

  • Previous suicide attempts

  • Family history of suicide

  • Childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

Protective Factors

There is good news. There are factors that provide individuals protection and strength.

HOPE: In the RCCS, we know that our efforts to increase one’s hope about the future is an important protective factor. RCCS Conversations can re-awaken individuals to dream again and develop a meaningful recovery plan.

RESILIENCE: The clients an members our programs serve are strong and resilient people. Within the RCCS, we can have guided conversations that help reveal these strengths and assist our clients/members in using their strengths in the recovery. Conversations help clients/members tell their story as a “hero” and survivor rather than a sufferer.

CONNECTIONS: The important connections people have in their lives are protective. Connections can include:

  • Important people in one’s life (family and friends)

  • Connections to pets and animals

  • Connections to a community of people

  • One’s spiritual connections

Finally, we can engage with the individuals we serve to complete full and timely risk assessments to identify risk and planned preventative interventions. For more insight into the value of connections, click here.

More Information:

As a team, view and discuss Kevin Hines’ story. Kevin attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Kevin survived and is using his story to help others. Watch his story from a suicide prevention series by Los Angeles Department of Mental Health and Power 106:


Read More About the RCCS

From Member to Employee: Christina’s Journey Through Telecare's WIT Program

Christina Roberts, driver at Telecare steps orange county and former WIT member

Christina Roberts, driver at Telecare steps orange county and former WIT member

September is National Recovery month. It is a time dedicated toward educating Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with symptoms of a mental health diagnosis and/or substance use to live healthy, rewarding lives.

At Telecare, we not only treat those with co-occurring disorders, but also take pride in employing former clients who have lived experienced and continue in their recovery journey. Christina Roberts, a driver at Telecare STEPS Orange County, shares her inspiring example. By harnessing life’s setbacks, Christina has shown that it’s possible to navigate to destinations the previously may have seemed impossible.

“When I come into work now, I'm giving back. I can relate. I had a drug and alcohol problem. I now have two years clean. I struggled with homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness. I hope that I can just take one member and lead them in the right direction and help change their life like it's changed my life,” said Christina.

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After getting into trouble and ending up in front of a judge for sentencing, Roberts was given two choices: serve jail time or participate in the Orange County Collaborative Court (WIT) program. WIT, which stands for “Whatever It Takes,” began in 2012 as a collaboration between Telecare and the mental health courts of Orange County. It’s a four-phase, voluntary program where members who have a demonstrated history of mental illness are put on conditional release from prison.

While in WIT, they are required to be sober, transition up to new phases, and ultimately graduate from the program. The goal is to equip those in recovery with new skills and resources—things they might not receive through incarceration.

“To be honest, I had a relapse. It was too much. It was overwhelming. I was scared. I didn't want to follow directions. I wouldn't submit to the program,” she admitted. “I got arrested. When I got arrested, I had to serve some time, but then Telecare took me back. They gave me a second chance. WIT stands for ‘Whatever It Takes,’ and they stood by what that means.”

Christina then fully embraced WIT, the support groups, and most importantly, her peers. Actively participating in the programs is also what helped her find her true calling—wanting to go from Telecare member to Telecare employee.

“When I came back from my relapse, I told my probation officer and the staff at Telecare that I was going to work for Telecare. I didn't know how it was going to happen. A few months later, I spoke at an FSP luncheon and I got three job offers,” Christina said.

She chose to accept the offer as a driver at STEPS and hasn't looked back.

Christina credits Telecare for being the driving force in her personal recovery—a force that stood with her and believed in her when no one else did.

“Telecare saved my life,” said Christina. “It provided stability, and it's shown me how to become a productive member of society. It taught me that I can make it in this world and have a mental illness.”

Leading from the Heart — and Personal Experience

Raksmey Castleman, Ph.D., is administrator of Telecare Early Intervention and Recovery Services and Jeremy House Crisis Residential Services, both in San Joaquin County. Born and raised in a refugee camp in Thailand for survivors of the Cambodian genocide, she is passionate about serving the Southeast Asian community, where trauma and PTSD are common experiences, but engagement in mental health services is low. Raksmey's experiences have inspired a life -- and career -- of passionate service, and incredible impact.

Telecare is honored to have Raksmey as part of our diverse team of dedicated, creative, compassionate, and effective staff and leaders.

Raskmey Castleman, Ph.D., Telecare Program Administrator

Raskmey Castleman, Ph.D., Telecare Program Administrator

As mental health service providers, we can get lost in the jungle trying to navigate complex systems and symptoms to deliver care to our most vulnerable populations. Sometimes it’s hard to harness motivation to keep pace while at the same time maintaining a semblance of self-care, but Raksmey Castleman, Administrator of or Telecare’s Jeremy House and TEIR in Stockton, California has some advice: "We don't stop. If we hit a roadblock we will make a detour, and we will create a path to where we find whatever we can, any resources, to make sure that individuals that we serve are able to meet their needs, if they're willing."

Moving Through the Jungle


For nine years, the jungle was Raksmey's reality. In the 1970s, Raksmey was born and raised in the Sok San Tai camp in Thailand along with 60,000 survivors of the Cambodian genocide. Raksmey’s father was the camp doctor and worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) and the International Red Cross to advocate for health care services and support for refugees. Her mother was a midwife and a teacher.

Providers and prescribers kept on telling us, ‘stress is a normal part of life, go outside, go shopping,’ but they didn’t understand the historical context or the implications of how history can impact a community. For many Southeast Asian communities and especially the Cambodian communities, there are no words to describe PTSD.

"I remember going along with my dad from one hut to the next to provide treatment or to assess the villagers. That was a part of my life. I really liked being part of the community and learning from my father at a young age of the importance of making sure that peoples' needs were taken care of," she said. "As for my mom, I saw her always giving back."

As Raksmey got older, she became captivated by the stories of her fellow Cambodian and Southeast Asian villagers. Many would tell her about the war and how they lived in a constant state of fear. Some had trouble sleeping. Others had nightmares. The more she listened, the more she wanted to better understand why the people she loved were experiencing such distress.

"For my family, at first, nobody wanted to go get help because they didn't know what to say. They were afraid…ashamed that they were feeling the way that they were feeling. Providers and prescribers kept on telling us, ‘stress is a normal part of life, go outside, go shopping,' but they didn’t understand the historical context or the implications of how history can impact a community. For many Southeast Asian communities and especially the Cambodian communities, there are no words to describe PTSD."

Continuing Education


Raksmey moved to Stockton at the age of nine after her grandparents sponsored her family's entry into the United States. Her early college career was nursing, but after one year into the nursing program she re-directed her path to cultural anthropology and public health.  After working with diverse communities for many years and witnessing the health disparities among individuals with mental illness, she strengthened her advocacy to address the stigma surrounding mental health and access to mental health services, especially among Southeast Asian Communities. She eventually went back to graduate school and earlier this year graduated with a Ph.D. in public health with a focus on community health education, and disease prevention.

"Mental health found me, and I’m so grateful. I realized that if we don't start to integrate our mental health with our overall health, the whole dimensions of health, we're not going to be healthy," said Raksmey. 

As a big advocate of Telecare’s Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS) and the Whole Person Care, Raksmey uses those approaches and her unparalleled resilience to deliver services to Transition Aged Youth at TEIR and crisis residential services at Jeremy House.

"With the knowledge in community education and disease prevention and, thank goodness, with the Whole Person Care, I'm able to understand where people are coming from. I don't look at a person for their symptoms. I usually ask people, ‘How can I support you? How are you doing medically? How are you doing physically? How are you doing mentally?' We have to be able to see a person as a whole, using a holistic approach, to fully serve them and meet them where they are."

Community Connections

The city of Stockton has the fifth-largest population of Cambodians in the nation and the second-largest in California. To create a space for healing, three years ago, Raksmey, her husband, and community leaders, started the Peace and Light Festival as a way for the community to honor their ancestors and come together for a moment of healing.

I don’t look at a person for their symptoms. I usually ask people, ‘How can I support you? How are you doing medically? How are you doing physically? How are you doing mentally?’ We have to be able to see a person as a whole, using a holistic approach, to fully serve them and meet them where they are.

Beyond Stockton, Raksmey has her sights set out on informing communities across the United States of the impact of PTSD and trauma. She recently came back from a Overseas Khmer Summit 2018 in Minnesota where she presented her dissertation and discussed the issue of PTSD in the Cambodian community. After posting the presentation on her Facebook page, a Cambodian professor contacted her and requested she does a virtual presentation for his class at the University of Phenom Phen.

“He said, ‘I don’t think people are aware, or people are afraid to talk about it.’ And he’s right. After the summit, a person came up to me and said, ‘Thank you for bringing this up, I am done hiding, I am done suffering silently alone, I want help, we all need help, and we need to come together as a community to explore this topic even more."

Using Life as Inspiration

As you can probably tell, Raksmey rarely stops moving (but regularly meditates). In addition to being an administrator at two Telecare programs, she is a mother of five, a wife, a yoga instructor, a kickboxing enthusiast, and much more.


"I don’t know what it is, I'm just so grateful for life. I always say I am literally from the jungle. Not the concrete jungle, I mean the actual jungle. I am like Tarzan’s sister, you know?" said Raksmey. 

In mental health, her life experience translates to joy in helping people connect and engage in services that inspire hope when all feelings are lost.

"We encourage, we educate and we help people explore ways to allow for them to find their own journey to health and recovery," said Raksmey. "Our own individualized recovery journey is a journey that only the person who is going through it can understand. It doesn't matter how old we are, where we're from or what color we are. Regardless of whichever mental health challenges we have, each one of us deserves to feel appreciated, accepted, respected, and cared for."