Head Above Water: Navigating the Mental Health Care System While Struggling with Illness
Neftali Pereda, Psy.D.
Founder and President, Season 5 Community Consulting
Dr. Nefta Pereda is the Founder and President of Season 5 Community Consulting and is currently the Director of Kinship & Parenting at Olive Crest. Previously, he spent 5 years as Director of Community Support Services at Boys Town California, and prior to that spent 8 years as a case manager and therapist in LA County- 5 years of which were in a locked psychiatric facility. Dr. Pereda has been a lead instructor on Professional Assault Crisis Training, and has trained Traumainformed care to County staff, Orange County Probation officers, and OC’s Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Dr. Pereda has done numerous presentations and speakerships throughout Orange County, and has guest lectured at Ryokan College of Psychology, California School of Psychology, Loyola Marymount University, Cal State Long Beach, and USC.
Dr. Pereda received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz. He received a Master’s degree in Education and Cultural Foundations from Cal State Long Beach and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Ryokan College of Psychology. He’s a native of South East L.A. with proud Mexican roots, and currently lives in Hacienda Heights, CA with his wife Natalie and his two sons, Nathanael and Niccolas.
Sandy Avzaradel, M.S. Ed.
Program Manager, Early Childhood Mental Health and Wellness Program
Sandy is currently the Program Manager for the Early Childhood Mental Health and Wellness Program where a county-wide effort is being initiated by the Early Childhood Mental Health Collaborative to work alongside preschool professionals to support early childhood social and emotional development and effectively work with children with challenging behaviors and/or mental health concerns. Sandy is also the Project Director for Early Childhood OC, a newly formed organization to promote the Early Childhood Policy Framework. In addition, Sandy is a part-time adjunct faculty member at California State University, Fullerton in the Child and Adolescent Studies Department.
For the past twenty-five years, Sandy has dedicated her life’s work to support children and families as a teacher, mentor, coordinator, administrator, and college faculty member. Her passion for early childhood education began as a kindergarten teacher and has since launched into being an advocate for positive behavioral interventions and supports, social and emotional development, data-based decision making, and prevention and intervention of challenging behavior and mental health concerns in young children.
Sandy has provided numerous local, state and national parent and provider education presentations with a focus on social/emotional development, mental health and challenging behavior, school readiness, child development, special education, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) for early childhood. Sandy enjoys volunteering as a Board Member for Families Forward and Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children as well as spending time with her husband, two young adult boys, and her dogs!
Aisha Khan, M.P.H.
Family Mentor and Development Coordinator, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Orange County (NAMI-OC)
Aisha Khan is a Family Mentor and Development Coordinator at The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Orange County (NAMI-OC). Khan earned her Masters of Public Health degree in 2018, and is now providing resource navigation and non-clinical counseling to those affected by mental health conditions. Bringing awareness to the importance of mental health care is one of Aisha’s greatest life passions, and she hopes to empower individuals with mental illness to seek appropriate treatment. Aisha Khan is bi-cultural and is a native to Orange County, California.