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Connecting Our Community: News & Updates

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2024 Take Action campaign kicks-off

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) officially kicked-off its 2024 Take Action campaign at St. Anne’s Conference and Event Center near Downtown Los Angeles on April 4. The 2024 Take Action L.A. County campaign during the month of May, which is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, features 70 local, community-based organizations that will host more than 180 grant-funded events made possible through assistance from the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA).

The kick-off featured leadership from LACDMH, including Director Dr. Lisa H. Wong; Theion Perkins, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., Sr. Deputy Director of Outpatient Care Services Division; leadership from the Department’s Service Areas; and CalMHSA. Information was shared about the Department’s nine events, including one in each Service Area and a closing Countywide Take Action L.A. County event on Saturday, June 1 at the Santa Monica Pier.

This year’s community events include free yoga and meditation, art and music, block parties, a 5K run/walk, the Healing Bus, and more. All events will focus on decreasing stigma and discrimination, increasing help-seeking behaviors, and awareness of and access to mental health services and resources. For a complete list of all Take Action L.A. County events, visit TakeActionLA.com/events.

Discussing Intergenerational Trauma Resulting from the Armenian Genocide

On Saturday, April 13, LACDMH partnered with the Armenian community to host a significant event addressing intergenerational trauma stemming from the 1915 genocide, which tragically ended the lives of 1.5 million Armenians. The gathering included notable therapists, dignitaries, and community figures who shared strategies for coping and healing for future generations affected by historical violence against Armenians and Armenia.

Mariam Nahapetyan, LACDMH Mental Health Service Coordinator II, gracefully facilitated the day’s proceedings. The event kicked off with a keynote address by Talin Khechoomian, L.C.S.W., who has experience working with soldiers in Armenia after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. Ms. Khechoomian provided insights into assisting traumatized soldiers and their families, who may find it difficult to discuss their traumatic experiences.

The event also featured speeches from California Senator Anthony Portantino and Jorge Partida Del Toro, Psy.D., from LACDMH, who contextualized the genocide amid contemporary global violence.

Participants enjoyed a traditional lunch and performances by young dancers from the Ararat Dance Studio. The musical ambiance was enriched by the talented pianist Robert Ghazaryan, who performed classical pieces.

The day concluded with a discussion on recovery and happiness lead by moderator Lucine Babayants, LMFT, Psy.D., and panelists Rehana Peiris, MFT, Psy.D.; Lilit Tadevosyan, high-school youth-group leader; and Vosgan Mekhitarian, ordained priest.

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day or Armenian Genocide Memorial Day is a public holiday in Armenia and is observed by the Armenian diaspora on April 24.

LACDMH Hosts Grand Opening for Antelope Valley Child & Adolescent Program

Nearly 50 people crowded into the Palmdale office of the Antelope Valley Child and Adolescent Program on April 1 to celebrate the grand opening of the County’s newest mental health clinic. The event, which premiered the County’s first children’s mental health program in the Antelope Valley, included a tour of the facilities and remarks from Theion Perkins, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., Sr. Deputy Director for Outpatient Care Services; Anders Corey, Health Deputy for Fifth District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; James Coomes, L.C.S.W., Chief of Service Area 1; and Dr. Makesha Jones-Chambers, Mental Health Program Manager II.

Due to the rapid growth of the region’s population, there has been an increasing need for mental health services for individuals from birth to age 21. This new program will provide them and their families with client-centered and trauma-informed mental health services. The program offers individual, group, and family therapy; crisis evaluation and intervention; case management and community linkage; medication evaluation and support; and psychological testing.

Once fully staffed, the program will include 30 trained mental health providers, including marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. The program also has medical case workers and community health workers for additional support, community outreach, and service linkage.

Clippers Host Mental Health Awareness Night with LACDMH

The Los Angeles Clippers and LACDMH celebrated Mental Health Awareness Night on April 10 at the Crypto.com Arena in Downtown Los Angeles. To recognize the importance of mental health, the Clippers passed out stress balls in the shape of a basketball and featured LACDMH branding and information throughout the arena. LACDMH branding was also featured on the Peacock Place screens in L.A. Live, overlooking departmental staff who passed out swag to patrons outside the arena.

Although the Clippers ultimately fell to a late flurry of points by the Phoenix Suns, the LACDMH team still enjoyed spreading the importance of mental health and well-being with other Clippers fans. The partnership with the Clippers has allowed LACDMH to reach new audiences in 2024, including meeting with students at the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Middle Academy Charter School in February and teenagers and young adults from the Brotherhood Crusade Youth Source Center in March.

LACDMH & Univision Partner for Mental Health

On Wednesday, February 7, the LACDMH kicked off a 12-week partnership to promote mental health. Subject matter experts Sandra Chang, Ph.D., and Rebeca Hurtado, LCSW, MPA, are being featured on Univision’s Spanish-language morning show, “Despierta Los Ángeles,” with host Sanelly Quintero.

The morning show segments with Univision 34 will run into July and cover a variety of topics, including families, community, and LGBTQ. Additionally, two-minute radio segments on KLVE (a Univision property) will air concurrently, and 30-second vignettes will be aired on Univision’s many social media platforms and website properties.

Monterey Park Tea Time Program Celebrates One Year of Service

LACDMH is celebrating the first anniversary of the Tea Time program in Monterey Park, which serves predominantly Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) older adults and provides hot green tea, snacks and mental health support. The program began as a crisis center in the Langley Senior Center for a community pained by the 2023 Lunar New Year mass shooting in Monterey Park, which killed 11 people and injured nine others.

One year beyond the shooting, the program has served as a beacon of support to a community still lamenting those who were lost in Los Angeles County’s deadliest mass shooting. Twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Trung Du, a Community Health Worker, and Ryan Nam, an Intermediate Typist-Clerk, both from the East San Gabriel Mental Health Center in Covina, visit the senior center to connect with seniors and hand out whatever freebies they can assemble.

Between the COVID pandemic, the mass shooting in Monterey Park, and often living across the world from loved ones, many seniors in the AAPI community have found healing through speaking with the Tea Time duo. The program has grown increasingly more popular among the community. From February to December, the average attendance for each session grew from 50 to 180 people. Additionally, the program has referred more than 160 people for an intake appointment with DMH services.

By being present to meet with seniors and speaking in their languages – Du and Nam combined speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese — they have made significant inroads in building community trust and spreading the importance of mental health. They look forward to continuing support for seniors and hope to see the department provide similar services for other communities and age ranges.

March is Women’s History Month

In recognition of Congress declaring March as National Women’s History Month (1987), LACDMH’s Veterans Peer Access Network (VPAN) will honor all women who have served or currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

In 1971, women made up one percent of U.S. military and were not allowed to serve in combat or hold military occupational specialties like infantry, artillery, and combat aviation. The trajectory of women in our military has changed. In 2022, women made up around 18% of the Department of Defense’s active-duty force. Now, all jobs are open to women.

In addition to the increase of the active military women population, there are also around two million women in the general veteran population. It’s important to highlight that they have unique experiences and treatment needs. Studies suggest that women veterans experience PTSD at higher rates than men in service. The Veterans Administration screens all veterans who seek care for a history of military sexual trauma and have found that one-in-three women report having experienced military sexual trauma as compared to one-in-fifty men. Compared with their male counterparts, women also have higher rates of depression, eating disorders, and other behavioral health conditions. In 2018, the suicide rate among veteran women was 14.8 per 100,000—almost twice the rate for non-veteran women.  See below for resources available to women veterans experiencing mental health challenges and needing resources/support.

 

Resources:


Sources:

    1. Schultz, Dana, Kyleanne M. Hunter, Lauren Skrabala, and Jeannette Gaudry Haynie, Improving Support for Veteran Women: Veterans’ Issues in Focus, RAND Corporation, PE-A1363-3, September 2022. As of January 25, 2024: rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1363-3.html
    2. Military Celebrates Women’s History Month > U.S. Department of Defense > Defense Department News

 

 

 

Mental Health Commission Holds Town Hall in Lancaster

On Thursday, January 25, the L.A. County Mental Health Commission held a Town Hall at the Antelope Valley Fair and Event Center in Lancaster, allowing plenty of room for local community-based organizations, residents, clients, and families to attend and voice concerns to the 16-member commission.

Special guests included LACDMH Director Dr. Lisa H. Wong and Anders Corey, Health Deputy for Fifth District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Dr. Wong acknowledged progress in mental health service expansion in the Antelope Valley, such as the opening of the first mental health center for kids, and also announced the first Peer Resource Center in Antelope Valley, scheduled to open next summer.

Deputy Corey reinforced Supervisor Barger’s commitment to mental health services, reminding the audience of the new Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC), located at the existing High Desert Regional Center. The 9,900 square foot facility serves Antelope Valley residents experiencing a mental health crisis through rapid access to 24/7 stabilization services, assessment and evaluation, crisis intervention, medication support, and case management. The BHUCC includes a Crisis Walk-In Center (CWIC) where residents can be evaluated and receive medication on a short-term basis until they are connected to on-going psychiatric care, if needed. Mr. Corey also highlighted the upcoming adult residential treatment center. Residential treatment programs provide recovery-oriented, individualized plans that promote the goal of becoming self-sufficient and returning to the community.

LACDMH Partners with LAist to Host Queer LA LIVE: Joyful Music

Pictured left to right: Caitlin Hernández, Brittany Campbell, Candace Quarrels, Danielle Lande, and DJ Funky Caramelo at the LAist Queer LA LIVE: Joyful Music event at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

LACDMH was proud to partner with LAist to host Queer LA LIVE: Joyful Music at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. LAist created Queer LA LIVE to open the conversation about LGBTQIA2-S+ life in the Greater Los Angeles area. Each Queer LA LIVE event shares a common theme — joy. This event focused on joyful music.

DJ Funky Caramelo set the tone at the turntables before live performances by Danielle Lande and musical duo Brittany Campbell and Candace Quarrels of Mermaid. After their sets, they sat down to talk to Queer LA LIVE host Caitlin Hernández about their artistic beginnings, passion for music, and the challenges that come with being queer artists in L.A.

LACDMH is committed to supporting the well-being of the County’s LGBTQIA2-S+ community by sponsoring events like Queer LA LIVE as well as providing resources and mental health support to those in need. To find resources catered to the LGBTQIA2-S+ community, visit our website at dmh.lacounty.gov/resources/lgbtq-resources.

Application for Community Care Expansion Preservation Capital Projects Grant Opens on Jan. 22

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The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) and Brilliant Corners are excited to announce the launch of the Community Care Expansion Preservation Capital Projects Grant Program, which will fund physical rehabilitation improvements for licensed adult residential facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly, and residential care facilities for the chronically ill located within the County. This grant program will provide a minimum of $50,000 per facility to eligible awardees.

Funding for the program is being made available through Assembly Bill (AB) 172, which established a state-wide effort to expand the state’s housing and care continuum, improve treatment outcomes, and prevent the cycle of homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization. In Los Angeles County, $55.5 million will be utilized to fund the Community Care Expansion Preservation Capital Projects Grant Program to help preserve licensed residential care facilities in need of critical repairs that may impact their licensing status, and health/safety related repairs or required upgrades, thereby potentially preventing facility closures which could result in exits to homelessness. LACDMH committed an additional $11.2 million of Mental Health Services Act funds toward this effort for a total of $66.7 million.

LACDA will administer and implement the program on behalf of the County and will partner with Brilliant Corners, with funding received from Cedars-Sinai and administered by the California Community Foundation, to oversee the required physical needs assessments to determine grant applicants’ capital improvement needs.

The application portal will open on January 22, 2024, and will remain open for six weeks, closing on March 4, 2024. Application-related trainings will be offered on January 17, 2024, for eligibility and scoring criteria and requesting a physical needs assessment report and on January 29, 2024, for the step-by-step application process.

For more information, to register for these trainings or to apply during the application’s open period, visit https://www.ccecp.org/.

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About This Blog

Connecting Our Community” is LACDMH’s blog highlighting our department’s news, updates, and resources for Los Angeles County residents and communities. We hope you find these articles useful for learning about our services and resources to promote your and your community’s wellbeing. If you have questions, feedback, or story ideas for this blog, feel free to contact us.

 

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