Marimed’s Kailana Program Helps Teens to Set Sail on Their Lives

Psychiatrist Neal Mazer, MD, MPH, has helped start several organizations dedicated to bringing care to others. In the 1980s, Dr. Neal Mazer cofounded the Marimed Foundation, where he handled early grant writing and program development work as deputy director.

Marimed currently runs several initiatives. Its Kailana Program offers highly structured residential therapy and education to Hawai’i adolescents at high risk and those who are in need of comprehensive services. The program involves therapy in family, group, and individual settings as well as recreational and therapeutic activities on the ocean and on land.

Kailana’s ocean-experiential approach to helping adolescents and their families get through difficult times takes advantage of the cultural and historical importance of the sea to Pacific Island and Hawai’i people. Adolescents in the program, who are males from age 14 to age 18, live in homes that are licensed Special Treatment Facilities and undertake several five-day sailing voyages working on one of two Kailana vessels. For more information about this program and others, visit


OK2TALK Encourages Communication to Overcome Mental Health Struggles

Santa Barbara, California, psychiatrist Neal Mazer, MD, MPH, specializes in strong pro-social treatment of troubled adolescents and children. With over three decades of state, nonprofit, and private mental health service, Dr. Neal Mazer has long worked with young patients expressing frustration with communicating. Poor communication tends to lead to isolation, which only exacerbates a patient’s mental health issue(s).

On July 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) launched OK2TALK, a campaign aimed at youth who may be struggling with mental health issues, as well as the family and friends who love them. The Washington, D.C., event was attended by NAB President/CEO and former Senator Gordon Smith, officials from the White House and Congress, and representatives from multiple national mental health and suicide prevention organizations.

As a nationwide, multiplatform project, OK2TALK includes a series of radio and television public service announcements aimed at increasing mental health awareness and encouraging troubled youth to talk about their experiences. The lynchpin of the campaign is the website, a moderated tumblr-based community in which teens and young adults are encouraged to share their personal stories of struggle and recovery with others who may be experiencing the same difficulties.

Just as its name suggests, OK2TALK is ultimately about opening up lines of communication. When that happens, the road to controlling a young person’s other mental health difficulties becomes much easier.

Pact Events Help Strengthen Families

Throughout the year, Pact, a nonprofit adoption alliance, coordinates events for adoptive parents and adopted children. For the fall of 2013, the group has organized events designed to build community, honor birth parents, and offer parenting insight. One such event, titled “To Love and Let Go: Riding the Roller Coaster of Parenting Adopted Adolescents,” will address the challenges of raising an adopted teen or tween. The half-day workshop will take place on November 2 at Kaiser Oakland Medical Center in Oakland, California.

Led by Pact’s cofounder and director, Beth Hall, this event aims to help parents better understand the unique struggles their adopted adolescent is facing, including the formation of a racial identity. Furthermore, parents will come away with a better idea of how they fit into this journey and how they can maintain clarity through what can be a volatile period in their child’s life.

A member of the Board of Directors of Pact, Neal Mazer, MD, MPH, practices psychiatry in Santa Barbara, California. Using a strengths-based approach, Dr. Neal Mazer helps children and adolescents identify and build upon their interests and abilities as they work to manage emotional and behavioral conditions.

The 2013 Pact Family Camp

In addition to helping his young patients develop stronger relationships and the skills they need to succeed in life, psychiatrist Neal Mazer, MD, MPH, supports several charities related to child welfare and suicide prevention. Dr. Neal Mazer presently sits on the board of Pact.

A nonprofit multicultural organization, Pact seeks to help adopted children of color at every stage of their lives. The organization helps find homes for children and then provides ongoing education and support to them and their families. Every year, Pact runs multiple events and workshops, including the Pact Family Camp.

The 2013 Pact Family Camp will take place from July 3 through July 7 in Tahoe City, California. The event will bring together adopted children of color for time to reflect and connect as well as for traditional camp activities such as sports, art, and recreation. Also offering programming for families of adopted children, the camp provides workshops and presentations on race, parenting, and adoption. Non-adopted siblings are welcome to participate in the camp.