Message from the Director

Optimizing Hope, Wellbeing and Life Trajectory

Our mission at DMH is to optimize the hope, wellbeing and life trajectory of Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable through access to care and resources that promote not only independence and personal recovery but also connectedness and community reintegration.

DMH is committed to fulfilling this mission every day of the year, and the importance of our work is even more apparent in times like these when the community faces unpredictable and unprecedented challenges. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts each person’s mental wellbeing in different ways: some may feel anxious or unmoored, others may be ambivalent or even frustrated. And still others will experience compounding effects based on mental illnesses they are already navigating in their everyday lives. For everyone in our community, DMH is here for you as a resource and a partner.

We are committed to being a source of strength, stability and service. We continue to act with responsiveness and responsibility. And we will meet this moment with a deep sense of accountability to each other. Even as “physical distancing” becomes the new normal, it is the principle of community and a feeling of connectedness that drive our work.

Our latest efforts include:

  1. New information guides in multiple languages on coping with stress during coronavirus.
  2. A partnership with Headspace to provide free meditation and mindfulness resources to all LA County residents, available in English and Spanish.
  3. WE RISE 2020: Virtual May, which is our spotlight on wellbeing and healing through art, music and creative expression. Recordings from a wide range of events are available to watch and share.

Here’s a closer look at what we do every day of the year:

We prioritize populations suffering from or at high risk for developing serious mental conditions, especially those without a stable place to live or a loving support system. Highest priority is afforded to individuals struggling for safety, security and stability in the foster care system, subsisting in the streets and shelters, languishing in the criminal justice system or frequenting ER’s and inpatient hospitals.

We pursue our mission with a wide range of deeply committed partners who help guide, complement and supplement our efforts including not only fellow County departments but other government entities at the local, state, and federal level, consumers, families, advocacy groups, as well as a vast network of providers, numerous academic institutions, the media, and the private sector including philanthropy and the entertainment industry. It is only through collective efforts across the region and beyond that we can dismantle cultural barriers, coordinate pathways of access that are easily traversed, and embed enough quality resources in communities for those in need the most.

We envision an LA County unified by shared intention and cross-sector collaboration that helps those suffering from serious mental illness heal, grow and flourish by providing easy access to the right services and the right opportunities at the right time in the right place from the right people.

We are committed to the strategic and disciplined use of available resources to achieve these goals by emboldening outreach and engagement methods, streamlining systems of access to care, expanding holistic paradigms for healing, and sustaining contact with those we serve for as long as needed. Selected current tactics for uplifting the individuals, households and communities suffering from the direct and indirect impact of mental illness in Los Angeles County include:

  1. Building access networks to bridge resource gaps in the community through a continuum of outreach, engagement, navigation & advocacy initiatives with major peer involvement;
  2. Leveraging the child welfare and foster care system as well as school districts to identify those at high risk of developing, and prevent common traumas that fuel, mental illness;
  3. Increasing the availability of effective care by expanding the distribution and current capacity of evidence-based treatments, intensive support services and enriched housing;
  4. Developing new paradigms for healing to augment those in place, including not just innovative treatment-oriented approaches but also novel, welcoming platforms for service delivery and dignified, nurturing environments for intentional, and purposeful living and;
  5. Maintaining relationships with those we serve through programs that rely upon human (including peer) connectivity to improve long-term success and accountability.

Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Los Angeles County
Department of Mental Health

Leadership Team