Henry Herrera has been promoted following the retirement of Janice Holmes

Henry Herrera has been promoted to Program Manager of the Family Services Program at Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA). He is stepping into the role following the retirement of Janice Holmes who served in the position for 14 years. He will oversee the Family Service Programs in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties.

Herrera joined the organization in 2009 and has been instrumental in the development and growth of the family services programs at TMHA. Herrera brings a wealth of knowledge and experience having served nearly twenty years in the Public Health field in aiding over 500 families each year. Herrera advocates for children and adults in English and Spanish speaking communities and has traveled extensively throughout the country promoting Children’s’ Health services.

“I have always enjoyed advocating for families because it was the environment in how I was raised,” said Herrera. “I started out young by advocating for my father and mother who did not speak English, thus I became their voice.”

Herrera, whose personal experience has led him to work as a family advocate, is committed to helping all family members better understand and cope with the realities of severe and persistent mental illness. He provides confidential assistance and support to anyone with a family member or loved one who may have a mental illness. Herrera co- facilitates a weekly family support group, and teaches a six-hour orientation class for families new to the mental health system. Herrera also teaches a six-hour Families, Mental illness and the Judicial System class designed for anyone who has a mentally ill loved one that is currently or formerly involved with the judicial system; or at risk of becoming involved.

As part of San Luis Obispo County’s Behavioral Health Court Treatment Program, Herrera assists the families of ill loved ones currently involved with the Judicial System. The primary goals of the Behavioral Health Court are to: connect criminal defendants who suffer from serious mental illness to treatment services in the community; find appropriate dispositions to criminal charges, taking into consideration the facts of each case and prior criminal history; ensure public safety and reducing recidivism and violence on re-arrest through appropriate mental health treatment and intensive supervision; and increase collaboration between the court, counsel, city agencies, and community mental health treatment services.

“I hope to mold a family services department that can make a greater impact in the courtroom with advocating for recovery and treatment and not incarceration for the mentally ill,” said Herrera. “It is paramount to offer support and hope to families who may have a loved one living with a mental illness because they may not know where to turn in a crisis, or in getting their loved one to ask for treatment and help.”

Herrera gives presentations, organizes workshops, and forums in the communities he serves. He has been a presenter and trainer for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) for law enforcement since 2009. As a vital part of the family advocacy program, Herrera started a Spanish Speaking (Monolingual) Support Group to serve the needs of the Latino population in San Luis Obispo County.

Herrera serves on several committees and programs through the San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Department; including Latino Outreach Council, Quality Support Team (QST), First Responded Group (Elder Abuse Counsel), San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Treatment Court, and Forensics Coordination Team (FCT). The Forensics Coordination Team consists of County Agency staff including Probation, County Mental Health, County Sherriff, City police Agencies, District Attorney’s Office, and Victims Witness Office.

ABOUT TMHA

Transitions-Mental Health Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating stigma and promoting recovery and wellness for people with mental illness through work, housing, community and family support services. TMHA operates 30 programs at over 35 locations that reach over 2,000 people and 1,500 families in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. The emphasis of TMHA’s many services is to teach vital independent living skills, and build a framework for community re-entry through personal empowerment and hands on experience. For over 30 years, TMHA has been dedicated to providing housing, employment, case management and life-skills support to teens and adults with mental illness; and support, resources and education for their loved ones. For more information, visit www.T-MHA.org.

ABOUT TMHA FAMILY SERVICES

Mental illness can have an enormous impact on families, friends and caregivers. That’s why our experienced staff offers direct, immediate support with the goal of providing relief and hope. TMHA Family Services provides compassionate, informed assistance for families, friends and loved ones of individuals with mental illness.