Kyoni Cummings's profile photo

Kyoni Cummings

Education Coordinator, NAMI Pomona Valley

Kyoni Cummings's profile photo
Location: Pomona, CA
Start Year: 2022
TRHT Pillar: Separation


Kyoni Cummings is an advocate for individuals living with mental health conditions and their families. She was thrust into the world of mental health 10 years ago when a close loved one was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. She and her family quickly learned that there was little direction and more closed doors than could ever be imagined. She often had to fight to get basic care for her loved one and quickly decided that she was going to do everything in her power to help change things for the families that came after hers.
Kyoni began working as a volunteer for the Pomona Valley affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and was hired by the organization as their education coordinator a year later. Since that time, she has dedicated herself to bringing mental health awareness to her community through the power of education. She teaches families how to understand their loved one’s illness, and helps students, parents, and educators recognize all of the ways they can identify mental illness symptoms, reach out, show compassion and understanding, and get connected to resources.

Kyoni is also a very strong advocate for the reorganization of legislation that does a disservice to individuals living with mental health conditions inside and outside of our criminal justice system. She strongly believes that prosecution and detention of individuals living with serious mental illness does more harm than good and can prolong (or, in some cases, completely eradicate) a pathway to recovery.

Future Focus

For individuals living with mental health conditions, daily life can be daunting, and the journey to recovery can feel impossible. While prescribed medications and talk therapy are great treatment options, individuals can still experience medication side effects and even have lingering mental health symptoms. How can we help? An option Kyoni has been passionate about exploring is the utilization of creative arts to aid with recovery in mental illness. For many, the arts have been a way to help with anxiety and depression and to create safe spaces and connection.

Kyoni is excited to continue exploring and promoting ways creative arts can prove useful for those living with mental health conditions. She believes the arts can cultivate sustained recovery, provide additional coping skills, and promote greater quality of life!

Post-Institute: Transformative Action Plans

Kyoni’s work expands beyond her initial focus on the TRHT Separation Pillar and now encompasses the pillars of law, racial healing, and relationship building.

Her work embraces the utilization of the creative arts to aid the recovery of those experiencing mental illness. She continues to cultivate comfortable and safe spaces for peers to gather, learn, and connect. She also leads community conversations every 1st Thursday of the month, where community members and city officials come to converse on ways to support those who are struggling with substance use, mental illness, and/or housing instability and to increase resource connections.


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