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Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services to Celebrate 80 Years of Hope and Healing with Mental Health Heroes Gala June 1

May 17, 2023

Event will honor U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra and
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, among other notable names

CULVER CITY, Calif. – May 17, 2023 – Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a national leader in whole person mental health, crisis care and substance use services, will shine a light on Mental Health Heroes as the theme for its 80th anniversary gala on June 1 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 will honor national and local mental health advocates who have made a positive and measurable impact in the community. Mental Health Heroes will be emceed by Melissa Rivers, an author, entertainment journalist, award-winning producer and suicide prevention advocate who joined Didi Hirsch’s Board of Directors in January 2019.

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

  • Xavier Becerra, the 25th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Public Policy
  • Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 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, who has completed more than 500 shifts on the Lifeline since 2017
  • Luna McNeff Yee and Jimena Lora Ballinas, Teen Line listeners for Mental Health Advocate of the Year, Youth Volunteers

“Our country is experiencing a mental health crisis, and Didi Hirsch continues to answer the call as a mental health care leader for the last eight decades,” said Lyn Morris, LMFT and CEO of Didi Hirsch. “We can all be a mental health hero by standing up for those who are struggling and advocating for increased access to care and support. This event is an opportunity to celebrate the heroes who are shining a light in the darkness and making a difference.”

Mental Health Heroes will elevate the incredible work of Didi Hirsch’s dedicated front-line mental health staff and volunteer heroes who have been vital to supporting individuals and communities, particulary through the last three years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generous sponsors for Mental Health Heroes include the Fletcher Family Foundation, The Richard & Suzanne Kayne Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Warren and Gail Kamer Lieberfarb, and Nancy and Miles Rubin, among many others.

While Didi Hirsch has evolved to meet additional needs in the last eight decades, its mission remains the same: to serve communities where discrimination and injustice limit access to quality and compassionate mental health care. 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.

Didi Hirsch now provides a variety of mental health services for children, adults and families. Last year, the organization provided more than 189,000 people with quality mental health care services and currently partners with 74 schools across Los Angeles and Orange Counties, meeting children and families where they are, particularly in underserved communities.

Didi Hirsch also leads the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in California in partnership with 11 crisis centers across the state. Last year, the 12 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline centers in California collectively responded to more than 265,000 contacts via calls, chats and texts; Didi Hirsch responded to approximately 37 percent of these contacts.

A national leader in crisis care, Didi Hirsch is home to the nation’s first and largest Suicide Prevention Center, which served and trained more than 175,000 individuals in 2022; is a founding member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and one of the first crisis lines in the U.S. to offer bilingual Spanish support 24/7.

In 2022, Didi Hirsch also expanded its youth mental health services in response to the rising needs from this population with the acquisition of Teen Line, the nation’s leading peer-to-peer mental health support hotline for youth. Teen Line responded to more than 6,500 calls, texts and emails from youth across the country and around the world last year.

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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