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Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

 

Founded in 1942, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is a leader in suicide prevention, stigma reduction and whole-person mental health care. We serve almost 160,000 children and adults from 10 locations and 120 schools in Los Angeles and Orange Counties each year. Our first-in-the-nation Suicide Prevention Center has a multilingual 24/7 Crisis Line for calls, chats and texts and provides therapy, support and training throughout the community. Our three residential treatment centers include a substance use program for women and their children, allowing families to stay together while moms access care. 
Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.
 

To view our Leadership Circle, Mental Health is Health Experience Committee and  Board of Directors, click here.
 

Erasing the Stigma Movement 
   

Over 25 years ago, Didi Hirsch started a movement to erase the stigma of mental illness by launching the nation’s first
Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards to recognize those with the courage to speak about their mental health challenges.  
Past honorees include former Second Lady Tipper Gore, Patty Duke, Terry Bradshaw, Carrie Fisher, Rod Steiger, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Judy Collins, Rick Springfield, Ronda Rousey and Kid Cudi. Honoring these and other advocates helped raise awareness about mental illness. Today, people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences are more  aware than ever about mental health and openly talk and post about it — demonstrating the great strides made in erasing the 
stigma of mental illness.
 

Mental Health Is Health Movement 

 

But the fight is not over. Only 40% of Americans can access mental health care and 10% who need treatment for substances receive it. The belief that mental illness and addiction are less important diseases or the "fault" of those who live with them has resulted in an entrenched form of stigma causing discrimination within healthcare and leaving millions without needed services.

Building on Didi Hirsch's storied impact, Mental Health is Health conveys the theme of our next phase of work—ensuring that mental health and physical health are finally  treated equally. This means equal access to care and payment whether someone has asthma or ADHD, diabetes or depression, breast cancer or bipolar disorder. The
Mental Health Is Health experience  ensures everyone understands this and advocates for universal care that treats mental health and physical health  as inseparable.
 

Innovative Partnerships to Break Barriers to Treatment

To meet this moment when nearly every family in American has mental health needs, we have established several innovative partnerships to break down barriers to treatment.

The LAPD is now transferring 911 calls from people experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of suicide to Didi Hirsch's Crisis Line, ensuring they can access the care they need.

With UCLA and the LA County Department of Mental Health, we created videos to help teachers recognize and respond to warning signs of suicide in kids in virtual classrooms, strengthening our community's capacity to keep children safe.

In partnership with California's Departments of Health Care Services, Public Health and Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, we are leading the implementation in the state of a Federal initiative that will make it much easier for anyone across the country experiencing an emergency suicidal crisis to reach out for help. The easy-to-remember national emergency number, 988, will go into effect in July 2022, creating immediate access to mental health care for those in crisis.

Making historical inroads and progress with the insurance industry, we recently engaged in a partnership with CVS Health/Aetna. This national provider sought our services to reduce suicides in their members by 20% nationwide in the next four years. We are starting by offering members in California who have survived a suicide attempt our renowned support groups and specialized counseling in suicide prevention. This is the first commercial payer program specifically for suicide prevention, and it is a big one, demonstrating CVS Health/Aetna's commitment to Mental Health Is Health and erasing the stigma of mental illness. We look forward to other commercial insurers following Aetna's leadership to bring about equity and parity in our healthcare system.

These partnerships and others serve as a model for how the healthcare community can grow capacities to more effectively respond to mental illness and provide access to quality services for everyone in need.

 

Mental Health Is Health — Saving Lives

The pandemic has brought to the forefront many deep-rooted inequities that have existed for decades. However, this moment also provides the opportunity to create a culture of change, where mental and physical health are inseparable and everyone  can access and afford quality mental health care. When we as a nation acknowledge that Mental Health Is Health, more lives can be saved.