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Kaiser mental health clinicians and patients protest long wait times

On Sunday afternoon, over 100 therapists, patients, and their supporters from across Northern California gathered in downtown Oakland to stage a vigil in front of Kaiser Permanente’s corporate office—one they said they’d run indefinitely until the corporation’s leadership takes big steps to make their clinicians’ jobs more sustainable and improve access to mental health care. Protesters in bright red shirts chanted “Mental health, not corporate wealth!” into the hot, empty plaza. They unfurled a 60-foot banner onto a low barbed…

“Intelligent Lives” documentary screening highlights educational needs of students with intellectual disabilities

On Monday evening, parents, students and providers of special needs education in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) gathered at the Cole Campus to watch the premiere of Intelligent Lives, a documentary by filmmaker Dan Habib. “This movie is a tool to transform and change the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation,” he said as he spoke from New York in a recorded message to the viewing audience. Parents and educators watched attentively as the documentary…

Comedians use humor to heal at Mental Health Comedy Hour

Oakland comedian Kelly Anneken says she identifies as a “triple A”— alcoholic, anorexic and anxious.  “Stand-up comedy,” she said in a performance last week, “is everybody’s last resort before suicide or grad school.”  Suicide, of course, isn’t everybody’s idea of comedy, but Anneken’s audience, there for the Mental Health Comedy Hour, laughed. Founded earlier this year by two local comedians struggling with depression and anxiety, the monthly show is the only one of its kind in the Bay Area, and is…

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