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  • Client Info
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    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

      If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text:

      9-8-8
      (24/7, free & confidential)

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      Chat Now

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      (Teen Line)
      800-852-8336
      6pm-10pm PST

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An Evening of Hope and Healing: Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Honorees included U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra,

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Darrell Hammond, Dave Navarro,
Michelle Esrick and Dr. Kita Curry

CULVER CITY, Calif. – June 8, 2023 – Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a national leader in whole person mental health, crisis care and substance use services, honored the 2023 Mental Health Heroes at its 80th anniversary gala last week at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Celebrating 80 years of hope and healing through quality, compassionate and accessible mental health care, Didi Hirsch honored national and local mental health advocates who have made a measurable impact to improve access and care for mental health through their service, advocacy and awareness efforts.

Mental Health Heroes was emceed by Melissa Rivers, an author, entertainment journalist, award-winning producer and suicide prevention advocate who serves on Didi Hirsch’s Board of Directors.

Hundreds of luminaries gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center to celebrate the honors, reflect on Didi Hirsch’s 80 years of service, and raise funds to support the organization’s future plans including the expansion of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, Teen Line, and a drop-in resource center for at-risk youth.

“We remain in the throes of a mental health crisis,” said Lyn Morris, LMFT and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services during the gala. “Suicide rates have increased, especially among our youth. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among 14- to 18-year-olds. Our crisis center has been busier than ever. We must meet this moment as we always have. Did Hirsch will continue to innovate and create the future we know is possible with your support.”

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was awarded the evening’s Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Public Policy honor which he accepted during the gala.

“Across the country, and the world, so many ask day in and day out whether life is worth living, and we hope the answer they come to is yes it is, despite its difficulties,” said Sec. Becerra during his acceptance speech. “With Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ help, many individuals across this state, are saying yes as well. We recognize that struggling with mental health can be as debilitating as any physical ailment and that the health of the brain is as important as the health of the bone. We have a moral obligation, as a compassionate and empathetic society, to extend a helping hand to those who suffer silently, to restore their hope and offer them the support they desperately need.”

Didi Hirsch’s Mental Health Heroes honorees at this year’s gala were identified based on their significant dedication and contributions to advancing mental health awareness and breaking down barriers to care. Other honorees for this year’s Mental Health Heroes included:

  • Vivek H. Murthy, 21st U.S. Surgeon General for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Public Service
  • Kita S. Curry, PhD, former CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Lifetime Achievement
  • Darrell Hammond, comedian and actor for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Documentary Arts
  • Michelle Esrick, director, producer and advocate for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Documentary Arts
  • Dave Navarro, musician, author, filmmaker and artist for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Music Arts
  • Mary Hays, 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline counselor for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Adult Volunteer
  • Luna McNeff Yee and Jimena Lora Ballinas, Teen Line listeners for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Youth Volunteers

More than 80 years ago, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services was founded by a group of visionary local women who pooled their resources to start the Los Angeles Psychiatric Service. When Didi Hirsch opened its doors in 1942, it was the first freestanding, nonprofit community outpatient mental health clinic for adults in Los Angeles County. In 1974, the name was changed to honor one the founding pioneers and mental health heroes of the last century, Didi Hirsch.

Since then, Didi Hirsch Mental Services has expanded to meet the evolving mental health needs of local communities in Southern California and now provides transformative mental health care, education, outpatient services, crisis care, and substance use residential treatment for families and individuals.

Generous sponsors for Mental Health Heroes include Fletcher Family Foundation, The Richard & Suzanne Kayne Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Patterson Auto Team, Warren and Gail Kamer Lieberfarb, and Nancy and Miles Rubin, among many others.

For more information about Didi Hirsch’s Mental Health Heroes, visit https://heroes.didihirsch.org.

 

About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been a national leader in whole-person mental health, crisis care and substance use services for more than 80 years and is home to the nation’s first Suicide Prevention Center. With deep roots in community-based mental health, Didi Hirsch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing health equity, including where discrimination and injustice limit access. More than 1,000 staff and volunteers compassionately serve 189,000 children, adults and families annually in crisis, telehealth, outpatient, residential, community and school-based settings. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.

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