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.