​​​MHCAN of Santa Cruz

Mental Health Client Action Network

1051 Cayuga 831-469-0462

The Only Mental Health Peer-Run Organization

in Santa Cruz, CA

​​Sarah Leonard

 -Served for nearly 12 years as the Executive Director of MHCAN

-Led Intentional Peer Support Trainer & Group Facilitator

I loved my work and enjoy our team here immensely.  I have 33 years clean & sober & 27 years off of cigarettes.  I've been diagnosed with many mental health issues in my lifetime, from developmentally differently abled to having paranoid schizophrenia with psychotic tendencies, autism, bipolar disorder, depression and chronic acute PTSD, but I think of all of it except the autism as results of trauma. 

Sarah's Legacy
​*Never being a bully, never being a tyrant, never yelling a single time in
11.75 years, always coming from a place of compassion and love.
*For 3 years I managed to keep an employee working who was floridly
psychotic and had extreme beliefs but loved to work. All employees and
I worked as a team to assist her in her experiences and it was affirming of
why MHCAN exists in the first place.
* The Santa Cruz Superior Court Secretary called to tell me that the
Judges had discussed in Chambers how MHCAN was the only place in
Behavioral Health that stayed truly open and gave 1/1 services during
the pandemic- and they wanted us to know they appreciated us.
*Staying open during the worst of the pandemic and personally working
the most vulnerable position, the front desk, for a whole year along with
my other duties, so no employee would be at greater risk than myself.
*Being blessed to work with so many wonderful people, staff on teams,
members, people in the community.
*Walking a 6 foot 4 huge strange violent man out of upstairs after he had
entered and assaulted a member with a hammer to the face. I walked
him out of the building and got him to leave. He threatened me several
times, holding the bloody hammer up as if to hit me, but I calmly met his
gaze and walked him out.
*Talking  to a member who was threatening people with a huge 8 inch
bladed knife into not only handing me the knife but sincerely apologizing
to everyone.
*Showing up for every board meeting in 11.75 years,

not even missing the day my daughter and I
got in a major car accident, which was the same day emergency response
services found the body of my overdosed best friend.
*Assisting not only people with severe mental illness diagnoses but their
animal companions as well.
*Assisting many, many people to transition from homelessness to housed
and using and drinking to clean and sober.