Yana Jacobs has been working in the mental health field for 40 years. She began her career in the 1970s working at Soteria House, an alternative to locked inpatient care in San Jose California, under a National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) research grant to care for people with first episode psychosis without the use of anti-psychotic medications. She worked in many staff positions for the County of Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Services over 35 years, ending her public sector work in 2014 as the Chief of Adult Outpatient Services. She left public service to work with the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care to implement new models of care and change the current paradigm to be more humane and person-centered.
In the mid 2000’s, Yana started the first Peer Run Crisis Respite house in California, Second Story. She has always been a fierce advocate and ally in the Peer Movement with a passion for “being with” people and sitting with whatever comes up. She has worked to make a difference by setting an example of dignity and respect for all and not using labels to define who we are. An advocate for non-coercive, trauma-informed “person centered” work. She values an open dialogue with service providers, those receiving services and family members.
She has a B.A. degree in Art Therapy from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an M.A. degree in Counseling from the University of San Francisco.