Founder and Therapist

Sharon S. Dunas, MA, LMFT

Sharon Dunas has dedicated herself to helping families survive the emotional Trauma of Mental Illness. As a therapist, Sharon helps Families gain knowledge and understanding and adapt to the trauma of having mental illness in a loved one because she had a lot of mental illness within her own family including her parents, one of her children, and later in life with her husband.

She became the Executive Director of NAMI Westside LA (2004 – 2013) and the Executive Director of NAMI LA County.(2008-2013)   She is a NAMI State Family-to-Family trainer and she has done 16 trainings for NAMI LA County. She is in the NAMI Family-to-Family Hall of Fame for teaching over 20 Family-to-Family 12 week Psycho-Social-Biological Education Courses for NAMI folks.

As President of NAMI Westside LA, she co-wrote a business plan for NAMI Los Angeles County in 2010. She presented this to the Los Angeles Dept. of Mental Health. They gave NAMI LA County an RFP (Request for Proposal).  NAMI LA County responded with a request for family focused strategies for reducing mental health stigma and discrimination. The LA Dept. of Mental Health decided to fund NAMI LA County for deliverables produced to the tune of $1.5 million over a year and a half.

Sharon is the beneficiary of many community and state mental health awards. NAMI California gave her the Peggy and Don Richardson Distinguished Mental Health Award. She received the Family Advocate Award from the Psychiatric Education Research Foundation of L.A. and the Humility Award from Sierra Tucson Mental Health Treatment Center. She also received the Family Advocate award from LA Dept. of Mental Health. Sharon has taught many mental health courses at universities and clinics throughout L.A. She has had Radio and TV appearances and has published several articles discussing NAMI and mental health Issues.

Sharon, as a licensed clinician LMFT, has helped countless families to cope with mental illness in their midst. Mental illness is an unwanted visitor that no family, or the person with the diagnosis, is prepared to deal with. Sharon’s clinical work gives them tools to communicate with their ill relatives when they are psychotic, gives them suggestions how to make space in the family system to deal with this unwanted visitor. 

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