Community-based mental wellness, from prevention to treatment
So many mental health crises can be avoided when people have the tools to address their challenges before they become insurmountable. The added stressors of the last several years make it imperative that residents can turn to an expert that helps them learn how to cope with these situations in a productive way, allowing them to feel and function at their best.
Every day, our staff and clinicians educate, support and inspire people to take charge of their mental well-being. With programs ranging from prevention to treatment, we’re here to make sure our community’s mental wellness flourishes.
Because when we share our expertise on how to cope with life’s ups and downs, we empower our neighbors to live the lives they want to live.
Mentis was founded in 1948 just after World War II to help families to readjust to civilian life. Napa County’s mental health needs have grown over the decades becoming more complex due to the added stressors of the last several years, especially in areas prone to wildfires. Today we are working further upstream offering services from prevention to treatment to avoid mental health challenges before they become insurmountable.
Rob Weiss, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is responsible for the management and oversight of all services, staff, and fiscal operations. Mr. Weiss has been with Mentis since 1996 and brings 30 years of experience in a variety of mental health settings to this agency. Previous to becoming the Executive Director in 2011, he was Clinical Director at the agency for 8 years. Mr. Weiss holds a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a licensed clinician in good standing with the state of California since 1999. During his mental health career he has worked as a clinician with a wide range of client populations in addition to being an administrator for a variety of programs serving people of all ages. When Rob is not working he enjoys spending time outdoors riding his bike, playing frisbee disc golf, and hiking.
Jeni Olsen is the Director of our Prevention Division, which offers wellness programs for people of all ages living in Napa County. Prior to joining the Mentis team, Jeni founded Teens Connect with a mission to equip middle and high schoolers with tools to manage their stress and learn resilience, provide safe places and people with whom to connect, and give youth a voice in our community. Jeni manages these youth programs under the Prevention umbrella, along with programs for young children, adults and older adults, with a forward-thinking, collaborative approach in order to support our community’s wellness. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, wellness, and youth empowerment. When Jeni is not working, she can be found hiking or kayaking in the mountains with her dog, Nala.
Liz Marks BA, UC Davis-Economics, has been responsible for the management and oversight of development and marketing since 2016. Liz has 30 plus years of experience in sales and marketing starting her career in the high-tech industry, beginning with Oracle and transitioning to non-profits working for Cope Family Center and consulting for Sonoma State University, Salvation Army, Community Resources for Children and others. She has led the agency to over 200% growth in unrestricted donations from individuals and businesses during her tenure. She has also overseen a brand marketing campaign to recognize Mentis as the mental health champion in Napa County. Liz enjoys a lively game of pickleball and baking cookies when she is not working.
Director of Finance & Operations
Heather is responsible for the management and oversight of all accounting and financial processes, human resources and IT for the organization. She has a BA from California Lutheran University in Business Administration. Ms. Nations’ 25-year background includes experience in the for-profit sector having worked for Hasbro and Starbucks in marketing and operations. After leaving corporate America she helped open a local small business and then found her calling working for nonprofits. In Heather’s spare time, she enjoys gardening and spending time with family.
Director of Programs
Will Nesbitt, LMFT, is responsible for oversight, management, and implementation of agency clinical programs in the areas of housing, school based, and therapy (both office and community based). Mr. Nesbitt has been with Mentis since 2019 working in the Satellite Housing Program and Permanent Housing Program and worked as a mental health therapist for students in the Boys & Girls Club in St. Helena and Calistoga. He was the area director for a faith-based non-profit for 7 years prior to working with Mentis. Mr. Nesbitt holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary. He has worked with a broad range of populations from adolescents to adults with mental health needs ranging from mild to severe. When Will is not working he is spending time with his wife and son, exercising, and training jiu-jitsu.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kim Brown Sims, MBA RN
Board President & Chief Nurse Executive Officer, Dignity Health
Board Vice President & Director of Brand Strategy, Mission Minded
Board Secretary & Chief Visionary, Wine Down Media
Principal, Valley Oak High School
Realtor, Corcoran Global Living
Vice President of Public Relations, Opus One
Bret Johnson PhD
Clinical and Forensic Psychology
Director of Marketing, Honig Vineyard & Winery
Retired Owner, Greenhaus European Day Spa
Chief Executive Officer, Somerston Estate & Priest Ranch Wines
President, St. Francis Foundation
Founder, GEM Collective
Carrie Maloney Robertshaw
Interim Chief Operating Officer, Kaiser Permanente
TEENS CONNECT COUNCIL
President: Senior, Napa High School
Secretary: Senior, Vintage High School
Communications Manager: Senior, Justin Siena High School
Volunteerism and Civic Engagement Committee Chair: Senior, Napa High School
Volunteerism and Civic Engagement Committee Chair: Senior, New Technology High School
Arts and Wellness Committee Chair: Senior, Napa High School
Arts and Wellness Committee Chair: Senior, Napa High School
Youth Voice and Advocacy Committee Chair: Junior, Vintage High School
Youth Voice and Advocacy Committee Chair: Senior, Justin Siena High School
Events Committee Chair: Senior, New Technology High School
Events Committee Chair: Senior, New Technology High School
STORIES OF IMPACT
The Right Combination
Carlos is 17 years-old, he is a kind and caring brother to his two younger siblings. Carlos dreams of being a video game designer when he grows up. Through our partnership with OLE Health, Carlos was referred to us when he witnesses significant violence between his parents. As a result, Carlos’ father was sent to jail, leaving Carlos to feel he had to take care of everyone in the household including his aging grandparents.
This change in family dynamics, coupled with the trauma he witnessed, caused his grades to drop significantly. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was removed from his high school to attend alternative school, sent away from his circle of supportive friends.
At Mentis, we know involving parents in treatment can yield better results for the entire family. We paired Carlos with a bilingual therapist, so that his Spanish-speaking mother might participate in his therapy as needed. Carlos worked hard in therapy. He came to realize he was not responsible for his parents’ difficulties. Perhaps most important, he even began to feel some empathy for himself. He used the skills he learned at Mentis to move forward, which resulted in an improved environment for his whole household, better grades for him and a chance to re-connect with his friends.
Leveraging the right combination of our considerable expertise, partner connections and empathy to give clients like Carlos exactly what they need, when they need it means supporting one resident truly impacts many!
The Knowledge to Navigate
Leila is a vivacious high school senior with big plans! Active in Mentis’ Teens Connect program, she was a model for other young people; driven, confident, energetic. All this changed when her father died suddenly in the middle of her senior year.
Like anyone would after a loss, she struggled. Her participation in our programs had taught her that she might benefit from therapy, but unfortunately that was an expense beyond her family’s budget.
Fortunately, Mentis offers free, onsite therapy at Leila’s school, which she had learned about through her participation in Teens Connect. She began her work with Rosie, a clinician trained to work with adolescents, and committed to moving through her grief so that she could be there for herself, her Mom, and her younger brothers.
Four months later, she felt strong enough to complete therapy. She knows Mentis is there for her if she needs to check in, and she in turn helps others see the value of good mental health by continuing her leadership role in our Teens Connect program. Because Mentis works to educate young people on good mental health habits before they become paralyzing, we are able to help Leila and others like her navigate the hurdles life can throw at us.
A Path Well Trod
Cherie has much to be grateful for. She’s worked hard throughout her 76 years to contribute to her family’s well-being. But age can take its toll on anyone’s mental health, and Cherie was finding her days more isolating and difficult now that her family ‘needed’ her less.
Early in 2020, she had been introduced to our Healthy Minds, Healthy Aging program. She’d previously found our therapists to be so helpful in managing through some sad periods of her life. Yet this time, as her isolation and depression magnified over the winter, her lonely thoughts turned to suicide.
Tapping into the strong work ethic she had always been known for, she knew it was time to go “back to work” with her Mentis therapist. Our therapist created a suicide assessment and co-created a detailed safety plan with Cherie, who wanted so much to truly feel better and enjoy the time she has.
Re-engaging with a program with which she was familiar, and a therapist she’d connected with made all the difference! She learned additional skills to create boundaries managing her moods and thought. She even updated her own safety plan. She knows this program and this therapist have, literally saved her life. Because Mentis looks at the whole community’s health, we create partnerships and channels to make sure no one, from young students to older adults, falls through the cracks when it comes to their mental well-being!
Thanks to collaboration with our partners Mentis provides services from prevention to treatment up and down Napa County.
Thank you to all the Foundations & Organizations that support mental wellness.
Richard Jones Family Foundation
First Dollar Foundation
Grace Family Foundation
The Jennifer Byram Fund of the Napa Valley Community Foundation
The Joseph Phelps Vineyard Fund of the Napa Valley Community Foundation
The Marion Mendelsohn Fund of the Napa Valley Community Foundation
The Napa Fund of the Napa Valley Community Foundation
JOIN OUR TEAM
Mentis is one of Napa’s oldest non-profits and provides bilingual affordable mental health services to people of every age (5+) and income level. Everyday our staff and clinicians educate, support and inspire people to take charge of their mental well-being. If you want not only a fulfilling career with growth and training opportunities, but also to make a lasting impact on the community, apply today. When you join the Mentis team you will be welcomed by our dedicated team from administrative support to licensed clinicians that will support and encourage you in our mission to impact our community’s overall mental wellness!