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Town Hall Meeting in Los Angeles Highlights Importance of Community Mental Health Programs

Town Hall Meeting in Los Angeles Highlights Importance of Community Mental Health Programs

The passion for improving mental health services in California’s communities of color and LGBTQ population was on display today in Los Angeles at our fourth community town hall meeting to discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project’s draft Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. Over 75 mental health advocates, providers, and community members gathered at the California Community Foundation to discuss the draft plan, which will help direct the state’s efforts to improve mental health services for its diverse population.

The primary topic of conversation was that community and traditional programs are vital for providing trusted mental health services and should not be overshadowed during the statewide process. The concern was how a western approach to medicine is not always the best way to treat mental illness in diverse communities. Many of the community members in attendance wanted to make sure that these community and traditional programs, which are already working, should not be subsumed by the western philosophy of medicine and treatment. These were great points and we will be sure to include them when we work on the final plan.

Like in the previous three meetings – yesterday in San Diego and last week in Fresno and Oakland – cultural competency was a key theme. Attendees wanted to make sure that cultural competency was adequately defined in the plan and that specific strategies were included to help achieve it.

As in San Diego, the topic of trauma was a key point of discussion, especially in light of the demonstrations following police violence this past year. In addition, there was strong support for including more youth voices in the discussion. Many stressed that the youth are willing to act on this issue, they just need to feel like they are more involved.

It was a wonderful, passionate discussion today in Los Angeles and we will be sure to consider all of the great insights we received today as we revise the final strategic plan. If you would like to share comments on the plan, you can still submit them on our website until February 17th. We also have one last town hall meeting later this month (also on the 17th) in Eureka and you can register for that on our website

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