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      If you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, made a suicide attempt, or lost someone to suicide, we provide healing during and through your crisis.

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  • Client Info
  • Donate
  • Get Help Now
    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

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

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

      Or chat with a crisis counselor:
      Chat Now

      Peer-to-peer support for teens
      (Teen Line)
      800-852-8336
      6pm-10pm PST

    • Get Services

      For mental health or substance use services, call intake:

      LA County:
      888-807-7250

      Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:00pm

    • Crisis Counseling

      If you or someone you know has experienced thoughts of suicide, made a suicide attempt, or lost someone to suicide, we provide healing during and through your crisis.

      Get Help Today

Championing Mental Health: In Conversation with the Co-Chairs of Didi Hirsch’s Board

How did you first get connected to Didi Hirsch and how long have you been involved?

Melissa Rivers: I’ve been a suicide prevention advocate for many years – ever since my dad died by suicide in 1987. At the time, it was very shameful and taboo. It was very rare for families to come out and talk openly about suicide, but my family never kept quiet about anything, so this was no different.

My mom, Joan Rivers, and I became vocal advocates for suicide prevention. As difficult as it was to have the most painful moment in my life be so public, I am grateful for the impact it made. For years, my mom and I would be stopped by strangers wanting to share their story. We opened the door for a conversation, and it gave us both purpose in our grief.

Fast forward to 2016 — I met two members of the board, Nancy Hirsch Rubin and Gail Kamer Lierberfarb. They invited me to lunch to learn more about Didi Hirsch and I’ve been on the board ever since. Didi Hirsch has never shied away from difficult conversations about suicide, and I am so proud of the progress we’ve made.

Will Lippincott: I moved to Los Angeles from New York City in 2017, and was introduced to Didi Hirsch shortly thereafter. I was immediately compelled by Didi Hirsch’s mission and so impressed by the dedication, skill, and effectiveness of the leadership and staff of the organization. I joined the Board in 2019, and during COVID I trained at the Suicide Prevention Center, and later volunteered on the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for a year. Joining the hundreds of remarkable volunteers who offer life-saving support and life-sustaining connection to thousands of callers on the Lifeline was a transformative experience for me. And this glimpse into how Didi Hirsch serves our community truly informs and inspires my Board service.

What drew you to Didi Hirsch? Any personal connection to our mission?

MR: First and foremost, Didi Hirsch’s 60+ year history with suicide prevention. That is what drew me here. As I’ve gotten more involved, I’ve learned how Didi Hirsch addresses mental health so comprehensively. Outpatient mental health services, substance use treatment, case management, support groups, crisis lines – it all plays a role in suicide prevention and overall well-being. We know that suicide is a complicated issue with no one cause, and I love how we are addressing all facets of an individual’s mental health.

I also appreciate Didi Hirsch’s commitment to reducing the stigma related to talking about mental health. When we talk about something it isn’t as scary, and you feel less alone. One upshot of the pandemic was the open conversations about the mental health impacts. It was something we could all relate to – everyone was going through the same difficult time, and it helped us realize that we all struggle sometimes.

WL: I’ve struggled with my mental health most of my life, and I lost my dad to suicide, so Didi Hirsch’s mission feels very personal to me. Our organization’s commitment to providing effective care for mental health conditions, substance use and recovery, and suicide prevention across Southern California is immensely inspiring, especially in our communities where stigma or economics limit access.

Why is Didi Hirsch’s commitment to youth mental health so important? Are there any services you wish you had access to when you were younger?

MR: I am a firm believer that good habits start young. Taking care of your mental health should be a habit, just like taking care of your physical health. If we are able to remove the stigma surrounding accessing mental healthcare from a young age, accessing care and talking with friends and family can be normalized.

Didi Hirsch’s commitment to adapting services for the needs of young people is so important. We’ve seen an incredible response to the expansion of texting. 92% of those who text our suicide crisis line are 25 years old or younger, and we saw an 85% increase in texts last year. Offering a lifeline to young people that makes them feel safe allows us to reach more people in need.

When I think back on when I was younger and grieving the loss of my dad, I just wish there hadn’t been so much stigma and shame associated with seeking mental healthcare. Going to a therapist feels embarrassing – now friends swap therapist recommendations like the share their favorite dermatologist! While there is still a long way to go, I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made destigmatizing these topics.

WL: I struggled as a teen with depression and anxiety, and was hospitalized at age 17 when I became suicidal. Back then, I didn’t have the language to express how I was feeling, and what kind of help I needed. And, of course, I felt terribly alone. Today, Didi Hirsch can provide immediate access and effective support for young people—on the phone, in text and chat, and in our range of in-person services. And we’re determined to expand all of it in 2024—there’s so much need!

What excites you the most about Didi Hirsch’s future?

MR: I am excited to see Didi Hirsch have a more national presence. We have such an incredible brain trust of experts in mental health, substance use and suicide prevention that should be shared far beyond Southern California. We know that the demand for our services is increasing – we served 20% more clients in 2022 than in 2021, and we know the work is far from over. I am eager to help tell the incredible stories of our innovative services and resilient clients.

WL: I echo Melissa’s excitement, and I’d add that we’re both inspired and impressed by the remarkable teams of Didi Hirsch’s leaders, clinicians, staff, and volunteers who work tirelessly every day to transform and save lives.

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