the founder's passion

overcomers of adverse experiences should not be left behind


Founder Julius Sweet with his rescue, Echo (August 2022).

Sera Background

Founder and CEO, Julius Sweet, witnessed firsthand the impact and prevalence of mental illness and substance use disorders in loved ones, peers, and the patients he has helped. Since moving to Merced and calling it home in 2017, Julius was educated and made aware of decreasing stigma and improving mental health. Additionally, in his first month working for Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Julius became aware of the impact of young individuals without homes in Merced and throughout California and its negative effect on their mental health and recovery. We were formed to serve the state and country's most vulnerable populations. SERA was founded on May 28, 2022, to meet the residential care needs of Merced County, California, and other underserved communities' at-risk youth and families with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Please help us in our mission by learning more, donating, and asking us questions! Thank you for reading.

Facts on persons without homes

People with poor mental health are more susceptible to the three main factors that can lead to homelessness: poverty, disaffiliation, and personal vulnerability. Because they often lack the capacity to sustain employment, they have low-income.

Homelessness, in turn, amplifies poor mental health. This stress may exacerbate previous mental illness and encourage anxiety, fear, depression, sleeplessness, and substance abuse. The needs of people experiencing homelessness in combination with mental illness include physical safety, education, transportation, affordable housing, and affordable medical/dental treatment.

30-35% of those experiencing homelessness, and up to 75% of women experiencing homelessness, have mental illnesses.

20-25% of people experiencing homelessness suffer from concurrent disorders (severe mental illness and addictions).

People who have severe mental illnesses overrepresent those experiencing homelessness, as they are often released from hospitals and jails without proper community supports in place. Community-based mental health services play an important role.

Homelessness could be drastically reduced if people with severe mental illness were able to access supportive housing as well as other necessary community supports.

california compared to u.s.A.

Mental Illness Prevalence

Share of Adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder (2021): 

California 32%

United States 31.6%

Individuals in California reporting a major depressive episode in the past year, by Age Group, (2018-2019):

Adolescents ages 12-17: 15.2%

Adults ages 18+: 7.2%

Substance Use and Related Deaths in CA

Drug Overdose Deaths per 100,000 population (2015-2020): 

California 24.2%

United States 28.3%

Individuals in CA reporting Alcohol Use Disorder (2018-2019):

Adolescents ages 12-17: California 1.8%

United States 1.6%

Adults ages 18+: California 6.7%

United States 5.7%

Individuals in CA reporting illicit Drug Use Disorder (2018-2019):

Adolescents ages 12-17: California 3.6%

United States 3.2%

Adults ages 18+: California 3.6%

United States 3.0%

Age-adjusted Suicide Rate per 100,000 population (2009-2019): 

California 10.6%

United States 13.9%

EIN: 88-2752593