One of the cornerstones of the Mental Health Services Act is to empower under-represented ethnic populations (UREP). It aims to expand services to include culturally and linguistically competent approaches to ethnic communities that have been historically marginalized by the mental health system and to give them a voice in the stakeholder process.
During the planning phase of MHSA, a UREP Work Group, consisting of 56 culturally diverse mental health professionals and community and client advocates, was created to make implementation recommendations to the Department of Mental Health. This Work Group established the UREP Guiding Principles and five subcommittees representative of the major ethnic groups within Los Angeles County.
UREP groups meet regularly to provide service and funding recommendations that are culturally and linguistically competent to each of their respective communities. They also play an integral role in the planning and implementation of MHSA plans such as Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) and Workforce Education and Training (WET). The five groups are:
- African American
- American Indian
- Asian/Pacific Islander
- Middle Eastern/Eastern European
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health is committed to working alongside ethnic and cultural communities that have been historically on the periphery of the mental health system. It seeks to draw on the collective wisdom of unserved and underserved communities and establish a process that can help to address service inequities.